I read an article this morning on innovation which stated, “Child psychologists say that when you keep every single picture your kid has ever drawn, it actually stifles the child’s creativity. It’s better to pull out the really great ones and discard the rest.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but as someone with a little guy at home who loves to create pictures and crafts often…I feel like I would be the worst parent on the planet if I threw his art away!
I have a vision of this scene:
- Child working feverishly to draw a picture for dad.
- Child hands the picture to his dad, beaming at his accomplishment.
- Dad says, “Thanks buddy!” and looks at the picture, scrutinizing it…
- Dad takes the lid off the trash (recycyle bin) and throws the picture casually inside, smiling at his son.
- Son looks dejected and runs away crying.
Ok, that is a bit dramatic, and obviously I don’t assume those child psychologists suggest throwing the art away as it is given to you. However, after some consideration, I think I get the point. We all know about conditioned responses (Pavlov’s dog) and how people respond (in general) based on previous experience.
It stands to reason that, if a minimum effort drawing (red scribble) gets the same prestige as a complete landscape the child spent hours creating, they may not be motivated to put all the effort in on the next time around. If really impressive artwork gets framed by parents, and simple art gets a smile and is recycled several days later…it stands to reason that a child will try and produce bigger and better art to get positive reinforcement from their parents/teachers/etc.
What do you think? Have you experienced this with your own children? Seen it backfire? Got another theory? Let me know!
My name is Melina Young and I am the director of marketing at Verity Credit Union. I love everything to do with marketing, advertising, public relations and social media – especially all the research that goes into making a product or service really work for our members and making sure the right people hear about it. In addition to my time spent marketing, I have a blog and write about celiac disease, which I was diagnosed with in 2010. Basically, I can’t eat any of those foods we all love that are made with wheat, barley or rye.
I have also recently started running and completed my first 5k in 2011. Some people may not know that I used to do a lot of acting, dancing and singing in my life. I was in a Nike commercial with Gary Payton in junior high (if anyone ever finds the footage please send it my way!) and I used to compete as an opera singer in high school. I almost majored in musical theater in college, but I’m very glad with my decision to study marketing!