By: Krystle Crossman
Children love to draw and color. With the extent of their imaginations the creations that they come up with are limitless. Often times they create pictures that are very amusing to their parents. It is interesting to see the world from their point of view. Sometimes however a child’s drawing may give insight to a part of the world that they shouldn’t have to see. They can tell you a lot about their home life and what goes on with their family with the things that they draw. A new study that was published in the Attachment and Human Development journal asked six and seven year old children to draw pictures of their families. They found some very interesting results.
Children may not always be able to or want to verbalize what is going on with their home situations. This is where drawings could come in handy if you are trying to figure out what it is that they are trying to communicate. The researchers for the study visited the homes of the children that participated in the study. They were able to make connections between the drawings and what they observed in the households. Here is what they found from different family dynamics:
– High-functioning households – Children that came from a high-functioning home were able to depict their family in the way that you would expect. All of the family members are drawn proportionately with the children being shorter than the adults, they are all wearing the gender-specific clothing, and often there is a happy background such as a nice house and sunshine. The family members are all together with no one off in the distance. They also found that the arms and hands of the people in the drawing are usually held up and outstretched which they believe means that the child feels loved and supported.
– Dysfunctional households – Just by looking at certain children’s drawings you can tell that they come from dysfunctional homes. They use dark colors such as red and black. The arms on the people in the drawings are usually down or covering their body. This could indicate a lack of a sense of security. They may be missing facial expressions and sometimes even body parts. The parent may stand towering over the child as opposed to a proportionately drawn figure. The children may depict themselves in the picture standing behind something or far away from the other family members. This could indicate that they feel an emotional disconnect from their family.
The drawings that children make do not always indicate what type of family life they have but they can be a good indicator that something may be going on that others cannot see.