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Child Psychology through Drawings

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I read in a magazine in the past, years before I had a child, that we can tell a lot about what is going on in our child's life from their drawings. Now that the Twerp is drawing in preschool, I was interested in seeing what her drawings meant. A lot of her drawings were her family: Via, Mommy, Daddy, Tita and sometimes Ate Kim in that order. Ate Kim is Tita's daughter who is staying with us temporarily. Here is Via's drawing of her family which shows the same thing in all the drawings. We all look like characters in Beetlejuice.


According to what I read, the one she drew biggest or shows up prominently is the person that she looks up to most and the one that has the most influence on her. That would be Mommy :) I'm glad. I want us to have a strong bond based on mutual respect, trust and love and I hope even as she grows up, she will not have any secrets from me. The others are bunched together on the side. Her drawing of herself is clear with enough space all around her. I guess that means Mommy and Via are the central characters in her life which makes sense. It should be interesting to show her drawing to a child psychologist. Maybe when there's more variety. I wonder though what it means that she mostly draws her family.

I got these tips on when you need to worry about what your child's drawing mean from Circle of Moms. Some drawings that show violence may not be as bad as you think. It could be something your child saw on TV and is trying to understand what it meant and need to talk about it. Here are four warning signs that the child needs to talk according to this article from Circle of Moms.
1. Sudden shifts in content. Sudden changes in the nature of drawings, especially toward "Monsters, guns, weapons, ‘ghosts’, or other such violent or threatening drawings" may indicate some inner turmoil.

2. Predominant use of black and red. Therapists have identified these colors as universally meaningful, even for young children. "Black often is an indication of depression or feeling hopeless or restricted. Red may indicate anger or aggression." Keep in mind that one occasional drawing in these colors is not a cause for concern. Rather, look for a pattern or a series of drawings.

3. Unusual depictions of family. Many preschoolers like to draw their own families, but when these pictures leave out a family member, or when your child situates herself or a relative out of place or divided from the rest of the family, it can indicate that there are conflicts at home. Dr. Bhagwagar also emphasizes the important role of the family drawing over all other types of preschooler art: "...any upsetting event currently in a child’s life usually shows up in the family drawing."

4. Self representation. Asking your child to draw themselves (or really, any human figure) can provide a glimpse into how she actually sees herself: "Is the figure small or puny or too large? Is some area in the drawing heavily shaded? Does the drawing have teeth, weapons or other unusual content? All these are signs of insecurity and conflict."

I think I will make a scrapbook of all of Via's drawings. It should give me an insight on what is going on in her mind and in her daily life.


Daddy Allan January 9, 2013 at 12:05 AM  

I'll try to look on my son's drawings. But all he can do for now is just doodles. I will go back to this post when he can draw better.Perhaps, when he went to preschool already.

Maribeth January 9, 2013 at 6:53 AM  

Interesting child psychology. I don't have a child yet but I'll take note of studies such as this. However, I've read a book called "Kokology". It's about understanding yourself, pretty much like this child psychology readings. Just thought you might be interested too. :)

promding chamimay January 9, 2013 at 6:15 PM  

this is enlightening... although we're still at the doodle stage too... :-)

January January 9, 2013 at 8:54 PM  

I never thought about this. I should be aware of this too when the time comes. thanks for sharing. :)

Jellybelly,  January 9, 2013 at 9:42 PM  

I'll check out kokology. There are also meanings in adult doodles which is too complicated for me :)

Farida January 9, 2013 at 10:33 PM  

I'm a Psychology graduate and we learned this theory in school. There are various interpretations but they are not conclusive. Thus, when clinicians interpret a drawing there is always "perhaps, probably, maybe" included to the interpretation though it's fun to find the meanings of a stick figure drawing but with huge hands for instance :)

Mom Michelle January 10, 2013 at 2:39 AM  

This is interesting. My ZJ is drawing mostly of shapes right now. I'll still keep track of it. I'm thinking of asking my tweeners to draw their interpretation of our family right now and see how it is. :-)

Jellybelly,  January 10, 2013 at 3:56 AM  

It IS fun especially with drawings of children and very intersting. I had wanted to study psychology myself but was dissuaded so I took up a business course.

Mys January 10, 2013 at 4:57 AM  

My daughter loves to draw tall houses. I guess she wants us to have a bigger house. All the girls look like princesses, I guess that's saying something.

Aileen January 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM  

As a kid, I love to doodle and make these little drawings on any paper. I have never seen my nephews do so. Maybe I'll sit down with them one time and ask them to draw something. :-)

Marie January 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM  

For older kids who suffered abuse, drawing is a way of expressing their repressed anger

Maan January 10, 2013 at 6:44 PM  

We won't be encountering any drawing or doodling soon, but I'll keep these tips in mind. Thank you for sharing! :-)

Rosemarie/Gven-Rose January 10, 2013 at 7:47 PM  

My son is not into drawing but there are times that he will show his work to me.. I shall check it and go back to this post..

anne lei January 10, 2013 at 8:26 PM  

i remember my former manager, she made us draw and interpreted it afterwards. her interpretation is a bit of vague, still, i enjoyed it.

aby January 10, 2013 at 9:47 PM  

i think your twerp draws better than me.. hehe good thing, she draws about family, it means she is happy with her family. :)

Jellybelly,  January 11, 2013 at 3:51 AM  

I hope that's what it means :)

Jellybelly,  January 11, 2013 at 3:52 AM  

Exciting no :)

Jellybelly,  January 11, 2013 at 3:55 AM  

Interesting! You're probably right Mommy. Your daughter wants to live in a castle.

Meikah YbaƱez-Delid January 11, 2013 at 6:52 AM  

I have always been interested in Psychology. :) And so I enjoy reading this. Haven't been reading stuff like this for quite a while. Thanks!

Lady Anne January 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM  

Thanks for this information. I often receive drawings, with sweet letters, from my nephew and nieces every time I go home for vacation. I'll be more attentive to their doodles next time. :)

Louise Antonette | Mommy Practicality January 11, 2013 at 2:50 PM  

I do this! :) I keep the drawings of my children! Now that my eldest is 9, I've kept a whole lot of hi drawings. He's now into paragraph writing, I also have an envelope to keep all his writings. So when he's big he can look back. This post is very interesting especially in getting to know your child some more through drawings. :)

Dominique Goh January 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM  

Interesting analogy about Children's drawing. I'm keen to see what my girl will draw when she is older. Now it is still lines and scribbles from her.

max January 11, 2013 at 5:56 PM  

when my kids were much younger, i also used to read a lot of psychology books to help me understand my kids, i also keep their drawings and their arts says a lot, that help us parents to understand their stages of growth and development

Jellybelly,  January 11, 2013 at 11:24 PM  

I'm trying to keep all her artwork too but it's already a lot. She's only in pre-school.

Vera January 12, 2013 at 12:32 AM  

Interesting info! My nephew has yet to hold a pen, much less start drawing. I would be very interested to see what he draws when he starts learning. I agree with watching out for patterns rather than making assumptions based on just one picture or two.

Tondo Girl January 12, 2013 at 1:00 AM  

will take note on this as i am still single. :-)

kat January 12, 2013 at 7:33 AM  

This is an interesting post. there is indeed a psychology in drawing. I once applied for a job that requires psychological tests. We were asked to drawing something based on a description.

Jhari January 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM  

This is a great information. I never thought that there's already a meaning behind all this actions.

Pinay Ricamora January 12, 2013 at 9:41 AM  

I would suggest you keep the drawings... it would be interesting how the pictures would evolve as she grows up!

Kat January 13, 2013 at 1:42 AM  

that was an informative post. My nephew used to draw a lot and honestly her drawings gave use the laughing session. I didnt knew there are meanings behind that..

ceemee January 13, 2013 at 6:43 AM  

This is interesting and helpful. There was one time my daughter uses black as color and said that she likes that color, I was surprised because she usually likes the rainbow colors. But then, she went back to liking colorful things.

RonLeyba January 14, 2013 at 8:24 AM  

My 5 year old daughter loves to draw. And this article of yours really helped me a lot. Now, I will dig more deeper about this kind of drawing and meanings.

ElizOF January 14, 2013 at 8:08 PM  

I've read about this before and agree that our kids share a lot of their world view and emotions through drawings...
Eliz BC Blogger

Robin (Masshole Mommy) January 15, 2013 at 3:35 AM  

How interesting. I've heard of things like this, but never really sat down and analyzed my kids drawings like this yet.

Olga January 15, 2013 at 7:16 AM  

O, wow! Thanks for sharing this! My kids are still in the happy face drawing stage. Will keep this in mind though. :)

tyna January 15, 2013 at 8:11 AM  

very interesting. its time that i look into my daughter's drawings.

Kwala (Growing Up With Bea) January 15, 2013 at 6:42 PM  

Interesting stuff. My draws us according to height... or maybe she does look up to her daddy more hehe..

Via draws cute stick drawings =) Bea also draws stick people with huge eyes, what's up with that? =)

Mylene January 16, 2013 at 3:27 AM  

This ideas are very informative. I have now to check my daughter's drawings. There might be there that I should know. Thanks for sharing.

Jellybelly,  January 16, 2013 at 3:57 AM  

hahaha good to know she's not the only one drawing those stick figures with big eyes.

Yhey Garcia January 16, 2013 at 7:20 AM  

I can't wait for my BabyLove to start doodling. I want to decipher myself what she puts into her drawings. :)

Daddy Yashiro January 18, 2013 at 8:29 PM  

Thanks for sharing this information, Perhaps it's about time to understand more of what my kids are thinking.

Mommy Maye January 21, 2013 at 6:54 PM  

I am teaching my son to draw yesterday. I draw mommy, daddy, tita, nanay and him (only stickman, hehe) Nakkatuwa because natandaan nya lahat. In time he can draw on his own. Thank you for sharing this. I have read about penmanship naman na you tell the person's personality just by looking at his handwriting.

Kwento Ni Toto February 12, 2013 at 2:03 AM  

Well just like us, adults, kids ideas and thoughts manifests through their drawings the only different is that it is much more clearer with the kids.

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