My child won’t draw, should I be worried?

We can buy glitter markers and coloring books for him, that doesn’t interest him,” laments Marie, mother of 5-year-old Maëva. Same reaction at school. ” She had to draw a man every month, but hers remained at the tadpole stage! As a result, the teacher advised me to go to a shrink if Maëva encountered a problem with “the construction of her body image”… ” Right or wrong ? In reality, it depends on the matter. If signs can warn us, there are other arguments not to exaggerate it.

The hypothesis of a disorder

It is true that speech therapists and psychomotor therapists use drawing a lot as a marker of development, “ a bit like putting a mark on the wall to measure how much the child is growing “, illustrates Pr René Baldy, a psychologist specializing in children and drawing on their cognitive development. ” It is also an educational and re-educational tool, especially with the representation of the man “, specifies Catherine Blanchet, psychotherapist.

Maëva knows that she can add a stomach, from fingers to hands, but she cannot do it… But the construction of the body diagram goes through spatial identifications and follows motor and sensory developments, but also physiological and psychoaffective developments. the child. When around the age of 3 he has a good mental picture of this body diagram, he can then draw it at his own pace, mime actions, access visualization and plan a movement. Only a professional can tell if Maëva’s difficulties are related to a disorder. ” A child with dyspraxia will, for example, have persistent difficulty in kindergarten in drawing a horizontal line or organizing its traces in lateral space.explains Catherine Blanchet. For some, drawing a square or triangles (three points oriented on the sheet) is a nightmare. Inevitably, these children will hate manual labor, which makes them feel useless, but they will often develop other skills, and even earlier than others, such as learning to read. On the other hand, if they refuse to participate in other activities, ” this obstruction, together with other symptoms – inhibition, sleep and eating problems – can mask a deeper trauma that requires consultation without delay says child psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Klein.

Beware of dangerous interpretations

But beware, a child simply has the right not to like drawing! ” That a man is missing a neck or arms is not enough to assess a disorder “, insists Catherine Blanchet. In order not to block it, it is also necessary to avoid dangerous interpretations. The child feels very good when the parent explains his drawing. ” Only psychologists can risk it, with at least five years of study “, insists René Baldy. ” What the child wants to express, even unconsciously, belongs to him adds Jean-Pierre Klein. Sometimes he also has a perfect picture in his head of what he wants to reproduce.

Does her guy look like a tadpole? There is reason to be frustrated, not to mention parental disappointment: the famous man will often develop, under the impulse of the adults, who tend to guide the hand of the budding artist, to add a leg here, a foot there … Counterproductive interventions: if the child no longer wants to draw, it may be that we insist too much on the subject! Sometimes there is also reason to feel humiliated, like Madeleine, who evokes this memory of elementary school: ” I was very bad at drawing. My father, being himself, had shown me how to make a very stylized boat. The teacher had shown it in front of the whole class and said, “Look at the baby drawing!” “Another good reason to stay “zero” and put the markers in the closet.

It’s like music, it can be learned

Yes, but still, what is he drawing wrong “, continues Aurélie in front of the poor talents (allegedly) of her 8-year-old son, who clearly prefers other distractions. Like her, parents have read it, and René Baldy confirms it: ” Drawing helps develop symbolic and motor skills useful for all schooling. » Not surprisingly, there are tensions on the subject… But if plastic art remains a privileged means of expression, before the time of writing, it does not necessarily pass through a good stroke of the pencil.

After the age of 10, if the child is not interested, it is because he has found other ways to express himself: cooking, music, writing, crafts… it’s not just drawing in life! ” For the little ones, there is also patouille, models and, with the older ones, collage or photography. “, suggests Jean-Pierre Klein, who insists on the virtues of “doing with”, especially not “instead of”… Because the child can sulk at his pencils if he has not learned to use them. “ Drawing is not innate, but cultural. Between 2 and a half and 5 years, a child will imitate the adults in an environment that values ​​graphic arts, explains Rene Baldy. He will not learn to draw on his own, just as he needs lessons to be able to swim, ski, play an instrument ”, notes the specialist, for whom 10 years would be the right age to develop, acquire rules… and later possibly break them.

A digital pencil can seduce those who shy away from paper

When a child “hates” something, it’s often because he doesn’t really know, Antoine Ullmann, director of hobbythe first art magazine for the whole family. We see it every day in our workshops, children are much more open than adults, they have no preconceptions. For us, everything has to start from the works to make people want to create. Admittedly, today screens can compete with plastic. René Baldy emphasizes this: “ The drawing is not fast enough. It is an activity that requires attention, concentration, hence the interest not to impose it, but to privilege it. »

However, the screen can also become an ally, with the graphics tablet. A digital pencil will undoubtedly appeal to those who shy away from paper, not forgetting that one can enjoy reading without becoming a writer, listening to music without being a virtuoso… not liking to draw but appreciating great painters. No need to draw a picture!

Also to discover: These children who teach their parents to save the planet

The art of copying

Gabin drew very little and “poorly”, according to his parents, until he developed a passion for manga. At 11, he may not be an artist at heart, but he excels at “repro” Naruto… His father is annoyed: “It’s similar, but when do you stop copying? René Baldy points this out: ” Drawing helps develop symbolic and motor skills useful for all schooling. We can therefore encourage the child there, rave about his works, show them off, send them to the grandparents, offer him markers… and let him copy if he likes it. I praise it because it is a springboard for the imaginationhe insists and it helps to understand the techniques. All the great painters started there! »

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