Why not to help your child create


I used to help my daughter who was just learning to do things by herself, with how to do these things correctly. And it always surprised me how she didn’t want to participate in all the fun (in my understanding) things I used to set up for her. And then I discovered this approach and it explained everything. Nowadays I don’t stress when my kids never do our projects the way I see them in my head. They always do it their way, and I learned to appreciate that way. After all, those are their projects, not mine. I just put some things together and let them get carried away.

This article from Janet Lansbury is brief, simple, and very true in a painful way for some of us. Full article found here:

“One of the children’s activities was to decorate T-shirts with tubes of paint. My daughter was given a white T-shirt and we sat at the picnic table together. I was utterly amazed when all the parents began showing their children how they should design a T-shirt by painting it themselves.

There was not one parent who would trust a child to decorate his own T-shirt; the adults completely dominated. “Let’s put a sun over here. And now I’ll write your name.” Was it because it was a T-shirt and not just a piece of paper? Was a T-shirt too valuable to leave in the hands of a three-, four-, five-, six- and even seven-year-old? Would the child’s creation not be ‘good enough?’

The end result of this spontaneous experiment was illuminating. The T-shirts were hung out to dry in a tree. None of the children showed the slightest interest in the finished T-shirts. The parents retrieved them after they had dried, but the children could not have cared less. They had contributed nothing to the shirts and felt no ownership.”

Photo: Philippe Put (Flickr)


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