He complains about everything from sitting on the floor to painting. He says “I hate painting” when he’s painting. He whines “I hate drawing" when he’s drawing. He bickers and sulks in class. He finds it hard to complete his work. He plays with his paint brush and never seems to paint within the lines. His brother and sisters often tease him for his poor workmanship.
“WHY CAN’T YOU JUST FINISH YOUR WORK LIKE YOUR SISTER, OR ALL THE OTHER KIDS?” flashes through your mind like lightning. Doesn’t it get on your nerves when your own child gets into one of these mood where nothing satisfy him? Nothing can get him off your back...
Behind every complaint lies a hidden request. When we take time to establish trust and understand what the child is trying to say, we get to discover his world.
The following are some tips on how I structured my Art lessons for him:
1. Create a SAFE SPACE
His siblings teasing made in jest was taken in by the young soul. Adults' comments always compared him to his brother and sister. He could never outdo them. They were smarter, more patient and better in so many ways. To protect himself, he says, I hate all these things that I cannot do well in. The less I do, the less they make fun of me. I adjusted his class schedule. Being in a different class and doing different activities stopped the immediate comparison to his siblings.
2. Create FUN and ENGAGE
We all loved games when we were young. We were perfectly fine with being last in games, why did it change so much when we are in the school system? It is no longer fun when we competed in school.
I created tasks and lessons that was all about the FUN. Drawing lessons aren’t about the drawing, it’s about the subject that we are exploring- penguins, fishes and chips?! YES! Chips that they love eating right after they finish drawing it. Suddenly Art class is FUN. Suddenly, an engaged learner looks for solutions himself. An engaged learner is able to place his focus on the enjoyment of the work rather than the comments people make. Suddenly, comments do not crush and paralyse him that easily anymore.
3. Establish TRUST and RESPECT
Tantrums were part of his way of expressing himself. It wasn’t pleasant for the both of us. When something upsets him, it often spills over and he takes it out on everyone. It took a dose of authenticity and many shots of patience to help overcome this. When he finally understood that I was no different from him, with feelings, he learnt to respect me and manage his emotions. He also understood that he wasn’t alone, I was just around to do it with him. As he starts trusting me, his confidence grew and he starts trusting himself with his hands and brush too.
I discovered that his aversion and behaviour was his means of protecting himself.
Now, he's an enthusiastic child who looks forward to class. He comes running into class asking “what are we going to do today?”. He enjoys attempting different art projects introduced to him. He even requests for additional time to complete his work.
Large scale acrylic paintings, watercolour paintings, collage and oil pastels. He tries it all.
Utter Studio is more than just another art class. It is a space where a child can feel safe, learn to trust their own capacities and develop their inner strength.
Let your child discover their inner strength through Utter Studio’s Art classes.