Age Matching

Making stories age appropriate is one potential pathway for enhancing the effectiveness of metaphor. In preschool years, children may identify more readily with stories of fictional characters like Santa Claus or fairytale characters. During early elementary school years, animal stories may be more likely to engage attention and identification, whereas in the latter elementary school years kids may better identify with cartoon characters, computer-game heroes, or the star of a children's TV show. Moving into secondary school, sports idols or movie heroes of the likes of Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins (from Lord of the Rings) may be a more relevant choice.

The first two stories of Chapters 4 through 12 give examples of age-matched metaphors for kids and teens based on the same therapeutic characteristics or outcome. In these stories the theme, the resources to reach the outcome, and the outcome itself may be similar, but the character, age of the character, and context of the story have been changed to make the story age appropriate for the client.

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