Google+ Authentic Parenting: Are We Crushing Creativity

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are We Crushing Creativity

How many times do we parents interfere with our children's creativity and divergent thinking? Generally, our meddling is well-intended, we think we need to point out how it should be done. Sometimes it is because of what our children do does not align with our taste or our preconception of things.

Image: See-ming Lee on Fotopedia
I have heard parents tell their children not to use a certain color because it is not a pretty color. Or, undermine their children's musical potential because the noise is getting on their nerves. But these are extreme examples.

I think all of us happen to point out 'the right way' to our child on occasion, but shouldn't we allow them the liberty to discover their likes on their own? Shouldn't we be encouraging their creative use of things instead.

So mind yourself when you're saying: "this goes here", "that's how you play it" or "why don't you use a pencil now?". Let them try, let them make a mess, allow them to do something that doesn't sit well with your taste or style. Have them explore and explain the rules only when they come to you.



  1. I know I don't consciously do it. My children playing the piano is not noise (well, except when baby is sleeping), it is them experimenting with music. They can paint the trees purple, and they can play with the salt dough as they want (yes, my toddler is eating lots of it, so what ?). When I slip, it is because I don't even recognize I am interfering... "Your crown is upside down" is such a good example ! (you'll be happy to know she did put it again upside down and I didn't make a sound).

    Another good post !

  2. This article was indeed inspired by the upside dow, crown :) was it that obvious... It is indeed something we do unconsciously

  3. Not quite the same, I know, but I used to volunteer as a classroom assistant and I often heard adults telling children how they should draw. It drove me nuts!

    If something wasnt quite right then I would ask the child how they would do it. So with the crown example, I would ask how they would wear a crown rather than tell them it was upside-down. It seemed to work well. What are your thoughts on this? Is that interfering or guiding? Im not sure.

  4. Kitty, as you are just asking their opinion, without giving input, I don't think that is interfering... Now of course everything depends on the tone, because I know quite some parents who could make that question sound in such a way that the child *knows* they're doing it wrong in their parents eyes. Like: Is THAT how you'll be wearing that crown, with raised eyebrows


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