Isn’t it irritating when your child scribbles random ‘masterpieces’ on walls and scatters toys all over the floor! Then follow the tantrums. Won’t eat this, won’t wear that! This might get very frustrating for a parent. But, it is very important for the child.
According to psychologist Erik Erikson, between the age of 18 months and 3 years, children begin to identify themselves, their talents and abilities. They begin asserting their independent personalities! They will walk away from you, pick a specific type of toy to play with, be pickier in what they eat and what they wear. It is at this point that they develop a self esteem and will power.
At this age, children tend to express their newly found personality in the form of doodling art, in what they wear, eat and how they behave. This is a time parents must maintain a delicate balance. On one side they must allow children the freedom of self expression and on the other hand it is also important to teach them self control. The importance of self expression however out-weighs the possible benefits of merely disciplining the child.
Psychologists explain various channels of self expression that children may use. Always keep a look out for these. It’ll help you realize when you actually need o back off and let your child do his thing.
- The Artistic Channel:
Finger painting, coloring, writing, sketching and drawing are one of the best outlets for the strongest emotions children feel on a day to day basis. Just a few moments of drawing in this manner can help a child form thoughts and opinions that can simply surprise his parents. Many psychologists believe that simply looking at apparently unrelated drawings made by children, their thought processing can be understood. It is also widely accepted by many psychologists that this form of self expression can help children develop communication skills and find psychological and emotional balance. So, always have sheets handy. Whenever your child gets into his artistic mood, hand him crayons and a paper. This way, you are also helping them develop thoughts, and also teaching them the valuable discipline of staying off the walls.
- Playful Channel:
There is a saying ‘more is learnt on the playground than the class room’. Playing safely with one another can enhance interpersonal skills, the ability to gel along in a team, co-operation, and sportsman’s spirit! It is also very helpful in developing creative thinking and decision making abilities.
- The Constructive Channel:
The Constructive channel is when children ‘construct and build something great’. This may be building car models and doll houses. Dollhouses, model cars, and other objects that require construction are great ways to promote natural progression and creativity within a certain set of boundaries. As the child learns to follow the instructions for putting together the dollhouse or model car, he or she becomes aware of the role of instructions and guidelines and is able to employ creative techniques to produce the end result.
Creativity through the guidelines of building an object, such as a dollhouse, is an important facet of life for children to learn, as many of the real-life situations they will find themselves in will call upon the skills learned through early childhood development.
As in life, so it is in parenting! It’s all about getting the right balance. Do it right and you will be winning at both life, and parenting!