Decode Your Child’s Coloring Pages
Children love to give color, and their work is a reflection of their interior world. Most kids don’t think about or censor their artwork. For the past 40 years, I’ve used children’s Colouring Pages as an important part of my pediatric practice. At each well-child visit starting at 4 or 5 5 years old, our nurse asks the kid to “give color a picture of your family doing something.” To simplify the procedure, each exam room is equipped with blank white newspaper on the clipboard with a african american felt pen.
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The family colouring helps me study development at a given instant, and it may hint me off to potential problems. A single coloring is a snapshot of any child’s point of view — of her role in the family, her relationship to other family, and her self-esteem. It also may show talents in the kid and the family that are essential to recognize and validate. It can indicate cultural habits that give me a much better knowledge of some actions or beliefs. I always ask the parents for his or her impression of the color webpage, because our dialog can deliver even more information that might not exactly come up often.
A huge caveat here: Most of us want to find hidden meanings in Colouring Pages, but watch out for overinterpreting. It isn’t smart to read too much into your child’s sketches. Instead, utilize them as an opportunity to talk with your child about what she or he has attracted. Then ask questions about them to enhance communication between you. Do your very best to avoid offering too many of your own impressions. I purposely keep the conversation very open-ended: “Tell me about your colouring. Who will be the people in the picture? What are they doing?” For types of what you may be looking for with your own children, check out my examination of the kids’ Coloring Web pages.
This first picture is a superb exemplory case of how artwork can be a springboard for conversation. It was attracted by a patient of mine when she was 11. She had lived only with her mom since labor and birth and she’s no siblings. On the surface, her physical health, schoolwork, and social development were just fine. But she made friends gradually and she was unusually cautious about leaving her mother to go to friends’ residences. She preferred to acquire friends come to her house and play while her mother was nearby. I got worried that their close connection got in the way of her learning how to separate from her mommy, which is a necessary part of development.
I hadn’t had the opportunity to get this point across at previous office sessions. But with this colouring, I had formed an opening. Just how they were placed so closely mutually, and the fact that a short string connected the mom and princess, stood out if you ask me. ONCE I asked Mother, “What do you consider concerning this picture?” she at first talked happily about her daughter’s coloring skills. But she admitted that she could see what I’d been hoping to say about their romantic relationship. We could actually discuss it, and she still left the office determined to help her daughter (and herself ) discover ways to separate psychologically while maintaining their adoring and close marriage.
Coloring skills often get started to tell a story in kindergarten. Although kids at this age tend to use simple stick figures, you will often decide on things up from facial expressions, where members of the family are put, and what they’re doing. This second picture, drawn with a 5-year-old girl, is an exemplory case of that. She drew her mother on the considerably left, followed by the family dog, her father, herself, and her 8-year-old sibling. The lady drew herself as larger than her parents — this typically reflects good self-esteem. It’s worthwhile noting that she positioned herself between her dad and brother: When children are between 4 and 6 years old, they develop a sense with their gender identity. As part of this normal developmental process, young girls often get actually and emotionally closer to their daddy (boys this age tend to get closer to their mom), and the emotions are temporary.