Children’s behavioral problems have a direct effect on their family life, as well on their parents’ feelings and behavior. In daily life, parents of such children make great efforts to achieve their educational goals, but are often unsuccessful, because their children do not keep to the social boundaries set to them by their parents.
Special situations such as family reunions at holidays force parents to do their utmost to cope with embarrassments caused by their children. In this article, we will refer to such difficult events and how to cope with them, based on children’s drawings.
In most cases, holiday dinners are a good opportunity to meet the extended family. Often, these feasts are full of joy and laughter, but they can also involve stressful moments. Analyzing your children’s drawings will help you prepare for these unpleasant moments and act based on tools which are tailor-made for your child. This will enable you to avoid unnecessary arguments and provide your child with a social environment compatible with his needs.
Before we move on to the examples, it should be noted that there are various disciplines for evaluating children’s behaviors. We believe it is important to combine them as much as possible, to allow a broad perspective that will allow every child to express his uniqueness. In this case, we will present examples for two elements from Adler’s discipline.
Behavioral type # 1 – High need for control
A child with an inborn tendency to be in control will often be characterized as introverted. He has to control his feelings, so he tends not to cry easily when faced with difficult or complex situations. In addition to his attempts to control himself, he will often try to control others by ordering his sister or cousin around.
For such a child, the holiday dinner could involve uncertainty and lack of control. As a result, he may behave restlessly. His drawings will be characterized by precision, down to the minutest detail. In most cases, he will make an effort not to deviate from the drawn element’s frame and try to draw in a perfectionist manner. Every mistake he makes while drawing will make him dissatisfied with the final result and will sometimes cause him to throw the drawing away in anger. The new drawing will be planned with extra care, to avoid further mistakes.
How to prepare for family events?
We recommend that before hosting any family event, especially during the holidays, you will think carefully on how to prepare your home, so that your child will feel safe and in control as much as possible. This means, for example, preparing stickers or notes with family members’ names on them, which will be placed on the plates, letting him know how you plan things: Who is coming to dinner? Where do they come from? What’s the overall plan for this evening? In addition, assign him a quiet place in the house where he can stay by himself and feel in control. Such a “hideout” is essential, because it may be used to ventilate his feelings after having experienced the unusually intense social interactions and difficult questions…
Behavioral type # 2 – Avoidance
This behavioral pattern is almost the exact opposite, but is just as common during family gatherings. In this case, the child tends to avoid social interactions because they make him tense and anxious. The child will retire to his room or play away from everyone else. He will avoid playing with others because of any combination of the following factors; his low self-esteem, difficulty to make the right choices in a social context, lack of interest, shyness or fatigue.
Drawings of such a child will be characterized as poor in detail compared to his age. It will also be possible to note that the pressure applied on the drawing tool is weak, causing the line to seem weak and hesitant.
How to prepare for family events?
These kids need special attention, because they are easily ignored. We know that preparing and hosting or even attending a family event is not easy and requires energy and attention. Nevertheless, it is recommended not to give up on your child just because it is hard for him to socialize. We advise that you take your child by the hand, introduce him to others, show him the house (in case you are invited to others) and make him feel comfortable.
It is wise to occasionally intervene in the child’s social dynamics (but not too much), if you feel he needs help. You can say: “Look, Steve and John are sitting there, playing cars like in the TV show you like.” Don’t push your child to join others. Just help him understand the social environment. When he feels ready, he will join them.
Parents face various behavioral problems with their children, from aggressiveness to shyness. Each has its own consequences and effects on others, but they all have something in common – they reflect a real difficulty that the child has. This difficulty may be exacerbated during a family event, which usually involves many people who are not always familiar to the child, causing him to feel tense or anxious and behave unnaturally.
However, preparing for such events in advance, based on the child’s personality and social ability, can make a difference. Children’s drawings shed light on these aspects from the child’s perspective and reveal facts that even his parents are not aware of. Understanding the child’s drawings – who he really is, what are his fears and how does he perceive family members or gatherings will give you effective and accurate tools to manage more easily .
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