Regaining Confidence in Artwork

My daughter asked me to draw a princess for her. She had been drawing herself often, and recently she had stopped. She had begun asking me or my husband to do it for her every time. I knew that she was judging herself harshly, and I wanted to see if she could work through it.

I heard her request and told her, “No, honey. I know you can do this.” She whined and cried, “No, all I do is scribble-scrabble!” I asked her if someone had told her that and she said it came from school. I just stayed with her, letting her know I love her and that I believe in her and I know she can draw a princess. She cried and wailed and screamed “scribble-scrabble!” for 30 minutes. I kept loving her and reaffirming my belief in her. Finally, she picked up a crayon and started drawing. She was happy, willing and confident the rest of night.

I did question myself at first. And of course, I would love to draw a princess, but I know she loves to draw and it was painful to see her being so hard on herself.

Staylistening was a really comfortable way for me to set a limit without feeling like I was walking away or giving myself away. I knew I could really help her through this. It was really great to see her release that hurt – I didn’t want to jump in and save her. I had confidence in both of us.

After her cry, she was happy and confident. She has been drawing princesses, and more, ever since and has been giving them to me as presents. She hasn’t described her work as “scribble-scrabble” since. I even heard her sticking up for her little brother when another kid told him he was coloring scribble-scrabble.

–a mother in San Francisco, CA

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