In a group with 5 adolescent boys, I introduced the idea of journaling. None of these boys had ever journaled before, according to their own recollections. I put together the attached list (with my source cited at the bottom) to discuss with them how journaling can benefit them. I then let them each choose a journal, which they were much more eager to do than I expected.
Since they reside in group care, each boy was provided a lock box to keep his journal in, as many adolescents are hesitant to journal because of privacy concerns. The boys were assured that, even though staff have key copies to the lock boxes (in case a room search was deemed necessary for safety reasons), staff were not permitted to read their journals under any circumstances. This seemed to put the boys' minds at ease.
Journaling can be a very therapeutic exercise for both children and adults. The below list outlines some of the reasons why. However, if a person is to feel comfortable putting their deepest thoughts on paper, he or she needs to be given the appropriate privacy. It can be hard for many parents to give their children this kind of privacy. My recommendation is always that a child's journal need only be read by a parent if that parent reasonably suspects that the child may be doing something harmful to him or herself (i.e., drugs, suicidal thoughts/attempts, and so forth).