Saturday, May 05, 2007

More conversation about "naughty" wall-painting children

why not just allow a child to draw sitting at a table with paper instead of the
I'm assuming that the parent has done that. I'm thinking of ways to cope with child not wanting to draw on the paper and colouring books provided.

I'm assuming parent has already spread newspaper on the kitchen floor and let the child have at it with plates of paint and potato prints and hand and foot prints, and walking on the paper with paint-y wellies on and everything else.

This is a child who REALLY wants to paint on the walls, I'm assuming.

I don't think any encouragement to draw on house walls is a good suggestion
Why not? You might get some just stunning murals. Or if they aren't any good, you just wash 'em off at the end of the painting session. What's the big deal?

and also having one rule at home and one rule somewhere else is creating more
rules and potential confusion to a young child...why is it acceptable mummy to
draw on our walls and not at x house!
Let's turn that the other way round. One of the things children learn about is property. This is my car, that's Billy's car. This is our house, that's Billy's house. Explaining about some things being ok only at our house is a valuable part of that process.

Plus: why create a false "no" at home in preparation for a real "no" somewhere else? If your "no"s are usually arbitrary and actually not rational, why would you expect your child to listen when you say a real urgent "no" in order to protect the safety of your child, someone else, or someone else's property? You're much likelier to have your child heed your advice if your relationship is based on honesty and trust than if it is based on authority and Conforming to Normal Behaviour Or You'll Be Considered Naughty.

Plus: if there actually ISN'T any good reason not to paint on the walls together, then does saying "no" really make life easier for anyone? Some might regard it as picking an unnecessary fight, or exerting power over someone small when it could instead have been a wonderful game together.

Also, maybe this is just my impression but why is discipline being looked at
like a dirty word...
Because discipline implies one person having power over another, simply by virtue of being the adult. I consider that the last refuge of the unimaginative. If you can't persuade someone to your viewpoint by reason, or by offering something better to do, you then "discipline" them, right?

But if you've actually got good reason why they shouldn't do that thing, and you've really offered much more exciting alternatives, the child won't do it. If the child still wants to do it, maybe the child is actually in the right and the adult is in the wrong. "Discipline" doesn't allow for that possibility.

I would also imagine that a child that goes to school never having had any
discipline is going to be incredibly sensitive/reactive when it comes their way
through school/authority figures
Me too :-) I would just ask: when in history has any good come from people not questioning authority figures when they think they are wrong?

With grateful acknowledgements to the anonymous Frog Pond poster who provided most of these ideas ready for me to communicate into the wider world.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if said parent has tried covering the wall with paper? ;-) We've also done chalk on the pavement and outside walls etc - they enjoy drawing on the walls of their playhouse outside.

Oh, and the obvious answer to children going to school and not being able to manage being forced into doing things they don't want to do...don't send them to school! If you're seriously concerned about the damage coercion can do to a child, then school is the last place you want them to be!

emma said...

I doubt parent has covered walls with paper. Most people don't actually seem to want to HELP their children, just control their actions according to adult expectations :-(

And yes, for many many reasons, I think school is the last place for a rational parent to consider sending their children, unless the children are determined, in which case the challenge becomes to mitigate the potential damage as far as possible.

Gill said...

We've got some very cherished drawings on our walls :-)