Penn Acres

Erica wrote ....the following and part of my earlier reply was based on the fact that the child is 4 years old-"generally gets frustrated with anything he does"...etc...and "also says "after I started to "praise" him more, he would get excited about his art and do more and not be so worried about it looking "right".
My kids have turned out reams of material over the years. sometimes-some of them would have the same frustrations as youngsters at things not turning out "right'. I have found that I do need to look and listen to see what the frustration is and how to respond. This would never eliminate my enthusiastic real response to what they show me. It could often lead me to see that just that response-genuine tho it is- may not be addressing the frustration issues. It could be-"could you use more "beads" for that-as Sandra wrote- it could be "what part would you like to change" for a 4 year old -it could be -would you like me to cut out the sun and all the rays while you color the rainbow" it often is wow that will go so well on our fish wall-could I put it up there with them. I have found that more might be needed from me in the face of their frustration than just my genuine comments of enjoyment that I would give- say-to some of my art quilter friends-unless they have "left room in the conversation" for comments on particulars.

However, I
have a four-year-old son who does not seem to enjoy artwork because he can't
draw so that it looks "real," or "like Daddy's." (His father is an artist.)
He generally gets very frustrated with anything he does and says things
like, "I just can't do it right!" I always made a point from the beginning
not to gush over art pieces that he does, but perhaps just notice a certain
color he used, for example, I do say things like, "That is interesting," or,
"That has a lot of lines."

To make a long story short, in the past six months or so I have explained to
him that art isn't supposed to "look right," and that it is about just doing
what we want to do and it is also about how we feel. I also started to get
excited when he would even make an attempt at art, saying more praise-type
things like, "Wow! That's really neat!" It seemed that after I started to
"praise" him more, he would get excited about his art and do more and not be
so worried about it looking "right."

So my question is, should I just be really mellow about the whole thing, or
is there a time when small amounts of praise are helpful? Or am I just
setting up my son to feel like his art has to be "neat" for me? I really
feel bad when he gets so frustrated, and want him to be able to know that
his art IS appreciated, even if he doesn't think it is worthy!

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