Thursday, February 16, 2012

Difficulty in Drawing

By Umm Abdurahman

My son is a perfectionist. He takes pleasure in doing difficult tasks; however in contrast there are times where he sets himself unrealistic goals. Sometimes he is hesitant to try new things for fear that he may not meet the standards he has set for himself. When he makes mistakes he can become frustrated and lose interest. 
My son hated art and I could not understand why. I was always under the illusion that little kids loved to draw and color in and could spend hours a day doing just that. So I was extremely surprised when I found my son to be quite the opposite. Over time I realized that a few minutes into each activity his frustration would set in, and he would abandon the project. It hit me that perhaps this was a result of his perfectionism. I knew that when he drew something he wanted it to bear a close resemblance to the object he was drawing, even if his motor skills were not developed enough, so when that didn’t happen he would get frustrated and lose all interest.
I began a new approach recently that was very successful and saw the results in a matter of days. I noticed his confidence improved, and although his perfectionism was here to stay he dealt better with his mistakes. The method I used was modeling.  To start with I would choose something for us to draw. Each of us would get a piece of paper and pencil. I would start by drawing a simple stroke and have him copy onto his own piece of paper. Occasionally I would make a mistake and would say something along the lines of “it’s okay we can rub it out”. Seeing that I made mistakes and that it was okay to make mistakes and modeling how to deal with mistakes is very important. When he made a mistake I would quickly offer him the eraser, and say “we can fix it”. As I broke down each picture and modeled for him slowly how to draw what he wanted, he soon became more assertive. At the end of each day he and his brother took pleasure in showing their father our drawings.  
In the span of about 3 days my son went from hating drawing to picking up paper and pencil during his play time.  One night after being put to bed, he came into my room so I let him stay with me while I did some work on the computer. When I finished and turned to him, I found there were no less than twenty drawings laid out on my bedroom floor. Each day his skills are improving, and his artistic abilities really manifesting. This is a typical example of what he could draw before.

This is a bus

A week later, we started this method, and these are some of the drawings he did.
This is his bike with his name written in Arabic

I believe parents can use the approach of modeling to deal with many different problems and scenarios. It is a great way not only to teach them new skills but also to guide them to the behavior we want them to adopt.  I am extremely happy with his new found love of art and his increased confidence. If you have faced a similar issue then I suggest you try our approach, hopefully it will work for you as well as it did for us.