Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom from Comparison thru Art

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today's guest post is from Kim at Tiaras and Bowties.  Kim is one of my besties and we constantly fill each other's inboxes.  her grace with handling life as a special needs mom amazes me.  here's how she tries to stave off the pressure of comparing her kids to others.




 
When working with {or mothering in my case} a child with cognitive delays it's easy at times to get caught up in what I call 'comparison syndrome'. Comparing your child's abilities to another's in an effort to mark milestones.  I do it, you do it, regardless of our child's age or level of ability.  It's something we all do as humans without much thought or awareness.  So much of our lives are achievement based whether we realize it or not.  It starts early as our children are measured by an apgar score at birth,  we are measured, scored and graded as we enter our academic careers beginning in Kindergarten, our abilities are measured in our adult lives in jobs and in parenting... our work is compared to another's.  Many of these comparisons are important  and necessary measures of our grow and the growth of our children which are not meant to be a negative.  Our children compare themselves to others as well.  Comparison leads to growth and achievement.  As parents we need to be aware that comparison can also lead to negative self thought and self esteem.

We try very hard to not allow comparisons to steal our joy in this household.  Although we are not perfect at it {the Lord knows I am not}, we strive to nip any negative 'self comparisons' in the bud.   

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Alexis and I had an opportunity a few weeks back to spend some good quality time together sharing in Mommy's favorite activity... PaiNTing!  Both of my children, but mostly Alexis, are at times hesitant to draw or paint with me.  They look at my art and tend to compare their skills to mine.  It is then my job to instill the confidence and direction they need to accept themselves as the wonderfully made talented gifts they are.

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It's important for me to just make the materials available, usually brainstorming with them for an idea of a finished product, but allowing them the freedom to explore their 'own' talent.  Alexis had decided she would like to make her teacher, bus driver, and her 2 aides each a flower pot as a thank you gift for the end of the school year. 

Many children of all ages and abilities love to paint! It's a fantastic way to allow your child to explore their creative side while working on some hand eye coordination at the same time. Gotta love when therapeutic activities are disguised as fun time!  Our paint activity was split between 2 days as attention span is a continued work in progress here.  If you have younger children or kids with short attention spans as Alexis does, do not be afraid to split your activities into different sessions... happy kids make for happy Mommies!
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We worked on our organizational skills while gathering the supplies we needed to accomplish our goal.  Alexis carefully chose her paint colors and we set up shop at the kitchen table.  Mommy sat close by chatting and offering tips only when asked!  I wanted her to just have the freedom to do as she pleased... there is no right or wrong answer with art!  She covered her pots with vibrant colors and polka dots making sure to add the 'boop' noise with each press of the sponge to place her dots{oooh that hand eye coordination at work}. We giggled and enjoyed a snack as she allowed them to dry.
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We filled each pot with dirt and flowers... such a rewarding experience!  Mommy did help a bit with cutting a few flags and the word 'Thanks" which were carefully threaded onto bamboo skewers and inserted into the pots.  She was filled with pride as she lovingly gave each person on her list a gift from her heart.  I can't help but think she felt such an incredible confidence boost knowing that she did them herself!

4 comments:

Paula said...

I am not so good at keeping my hands off my kids projects! Good lesson for me here!

Jode said...

oh what alovely thought provoking post. I feel guilty at the moment because i am often comapring my developmentally delayed twin with the other who reaches the milestones 3 months or so ahead of her sister. They do both love to paint and get messy though and i enjoy seeing how they both choose to do an activity so differently.
I absolutely love your gorgeous one's pots....how proud she must have been...and what a great idea x

Sheri said...

Since I have so much fun reading your wonderful blog and looking at your photos and projects, I have decided to nominate you for The "One Lovely Blog Award". It's a little bit of work, but you totally deserve it! Go to my blog for details and to grab the button. :)
http://www.blogsheripetersonsphotos.com/2012/06/my-lovely-friend-rebecca-gave-me-lovely.html

Kimberly Sminkey said...

Andie, Thank you so much for allowing me to share a little of my life on your blog! I feel truly blessed to have you as such a great friend!

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