It is commonly expressed, among parents, that what they want most for their children is to grow up with a positive sense of self, along with an abundance of self-confidence. Parents have a profound impact on their children’s self-confidence throughout their daily exchange of interactions. Self-confidence is the belief an individual has in his own abilities. Parents who consciously choose to send their children positive messages through uplifting language and unconditional love can help their children to form a positive sense of self, along with self-confidence. One fun activity, that easily facilitates the use of uplifting language and unconditional love, is an activity called process-oriented art.
Process-oriented art focuses on the process of discovery, not the final aesthetics of the project. It is one of those special activities that facilitates endless possibilities and can bring a lot of joy into children’s lives. No matter the outcome of the art, parents can praise their children for what their artwork is, not what it isn’t.
Now, let’s explore process-oriented art and how it can have a positive, boosting effect on your child’s self-confidence. This type of approach to art has a bounty of creative possibilities, can be created with just about any materials, any outcome is acceptable, anybody can do it, is easy to facilitate, and it is FUN.
First, include your child in choosing the mediums he will be using. Mediums are what you create your artwork with. They can be anything you can find around the house that you are ok with them using. This may include: sticks, cardboard boxes, paint, sequins, glue, wrapping paper, marshmallows, dried flowers, toothpicks, old material, etc. If you include your child in choosing the mediums and you praise him for the mediums he chooses, this results in you sending him a positive message about himself. There is a good chance he will say to himself, “Hey, I am creative and I can make good choices.” These types of interactions aid in his formation of a positive sense of self, resulting in the building of self-confidence.
Second, include your child in choosing his canvas. A canvas is what you create your artwork on. Have 3 choices in mind before you set him loose in the home to choose the canvas. Praise your child for choosing from any of the 3 choices you give him, as it sends a positive message to him. As a result, he might say to himself, “Wow, I am a good listener and I can make good choices.”
Third, allow your child to create, freely, with the mediums and canvas he chose. Anything goes! The process of discovering how the mediums can be used to create a unique masterpiece is much more important that what the final product looks like.
When he is done, be sure to pose open-ended statements. A good approach is to focus on the elements of art. The elements of art include: color, texture, space, value, shape, lines, and form. If your child creates something very colorful, be prepared to say, “Tell me about the colors you chose.” Any explanation your child comes up with should be an accepted one. By accepting your child’s explanations, you are sending your child a powerful message; therefore, aiding in the development of your child’s positive sense of self and self-confidence. As a result, your child might say to himself, “I am great at looking at my art and explaining why I chose those colors.”
Last, display your child’s artwork in a visible place. Now, every time your child sees his artwork hanging, the same messages will race through his mind as when you took him through the process-oriented art activity, “Wow, I am creative. I am a good listener and I make good choices. I am great at looking at my art and explaining why I made the choices I made.”
Process-oriented art projects have the potential of having a lasting, positive effect on your child’s self-confidence. Enjoy the process!
By Erin Hendrix