Through drawing, even from the first doodles, children express some of their personality traits such as their fears, their emotions and their way of seeing the world.
They reflect their inner world, how they see themselves within the family, the relationship with their peers, how they feel at a given moment, if there is something that worries them… Therefore, being able to understand what children tell us through drawing is one more tool that we parents have to better understand and help our children.
Each child has a particular way of drawing, not only the subject they draw, but also the way they hold the pencil, occupy the space on the page, things that tell us a lot about their personality.
Let’s know some keys to interpret children’s drawings .
How do you hold the pencil?
One of the first things to observe is how the child holds the pencil between his fingers. If the fastening is loose , we see a relaxed, calm child, while if it is tight it denotes tension or nervousness.
how it occupies the space
The child is usually always drawn in the center of the page , a way of perceiving himself as the center of the world, something natural in children, while around him he places the symbolic representations related to his self.
The way in which it occupies the space tells us about the way in which the child acts before the world. If he draws on the entire sheet, he is a more extroverted, dynamic, participatory child, while a more withdrawn, shy and inhibited child occupies a small part of the sheet.
Sometimes the child deliberately occupies the page, that is, sometimes he draws in the center and sometimes in a corner, without any order. It is common in irritable children, with constant mood swings and who are usually easily distracted.
The pressure that the child exerts on the stroke is a very important signal that reflects his temperament .
A firm and continuous line shows a confident personality with self-confidence. Good pressure indicates enthusiasm, will and need to move.
For its part, an uncertain and trembling line shows a personality that needs to be reassured and constantly seeks the approval of others. They tend to be more sensitive children with low tolerance for frustrations. A weak stroke can also indicate tiredness or lack of will.
When the stroke is excessively strong and marked, it denotes aggressiveness .
The shape of the strokes
As with writing, the continuous strokes of rounded shapes demonstrate a serene, conciliatory affective state. They usually denote a docile spirit.
On the other hand, the interrupted lines of broken and pointed shapes show tension, impulsiveness and distrust towards others.
Scratches and smudges
There are children whose drawings are often crossed out or smudge marks that are constantly repeated . These are children with low self-esteem, who show through them a lack of self-confidence, they are insecure about what they do.
The choice of colors
It is the way to express how the child stands before life , if he uses many colors showing joy of living, curiosity and motivation, or on the contrary if he always chooses the same colors showing some insecurity.
The most enthusiastic, histrionic and extroverted children tend to prefer warm and lively colors, sometimes complementary ones such as blues or greens.
An overly irritable child may mix colors too much, painting one on top of the other making them almost unrecognizable.
A sentimental child has a predilection for cold and dark colors, while a fearful child does not usually color the drawings and the obsessive chooses them with excessive care without ever overflowing.
The themes of the drawing
Free drawing, that is, children drawing whatever they want, is a good way for them to express their desires and motivations at a given moment, but the topics that most help us to better understand how they see themselves in the world are : a tree, the human figure and the family .
The drawing of the tree , according to the “Koch test” used in psychology, means the symbolic projection of the image of the person. The roots are related to the affections, what feeds the tree, the trunk with the personal self and the top, with the contact with the outside world.
In the drawing of the human figure we find signs that the child transmits to us about himself and the people around him.
The dimensions of the head in relation to the body, whether or not the extremities are drawn, whether the figure is in proportion or not, whether it has very remarkable characteristics such as overly large eyes or pointed teeth, whether or not it fills the figure… They are some expressions of your feelings, emotions or fears.
Through the drawing of the family , the child demonstrates his affective and emotional situation within the family structure.
Whether or not it appears in the drawing, the order in which it appears, whether it draws all members (or excludes any parents or siblings), the size at which it draws each one, whether family members are united or scattered, if they are touching each other or not… These are some expressions related to the fear of losing the affection of parents, with jealousy between siblings, with the need for protection, etc.
This is a rough approximation of the meaning of children’s drawings. We should not generalize them because each child is special, so if there is something that worries you especially about your child, there are specialists you can turn to.
I hope that these keys to interpreting children’s drawings help you to get to know your children a little better through the messages they send.
It should be clarified that children can modify or alternate their way of drawing depending on the moment they are living. The key is to detect possible fears, anxieties and concerns in order to help them overcome them.