Psychological Evaluation of Children’s Paintings

Children can express their inner world with pictures. They can express their feelings, their current agenda-the situations that occupy their minds, their wishes and dreams. Picture tests and evaluation techniques used in psychology, as well as other methods; used together, such as family interview, game observation, and assessment from school. Again, it is necessary to know the socio-cultural environment in which the child lives. A study conducted in this way makes a much healthier evaluation possible.

Davido1 explains: ‘No matter how good their vocabulary is, children have more difficulty expressing what they think than adults because their vocabulary is not yet developed enough. In this context, painting is a privileged means of expression for the child because it requires no skill other than being able to hold a pencil.’ Painting allows the child to express himself without words. In the famous book, the Little Prince revealed his imagination in a boa constrictor that had swallowed an elephant. In fact, children’s free drawing skills are blunted from a very young age, and children are trapped in a drawing world where freedom is restricted and certain shapes are repeated in fear of reality.

The skill of painting, like other skills, develops step by step and matures through various stages with age. These stages are universal; smearing, scribbling, scratching, tadpole, intellectual reality, visual reality and depiction in space.

The first human image a child draws usually consists of a large round head and two lines coming out of the head. As the age progresses, the child begins to draw the human figure in much more detail. Studies have shown that children paint themselves in human drawings. When we examine pictures of children from different parts of the world, we see that children in the same age range make very similar pictures. A child of five or six can simply draw people, houses, trees, flowers, sun, clouds and birds.

In painting studies with children, the psychologist does not interfere as much as possible and observes the child, paying attention to many points such as where he draws the picture on the page, in what order he draws the shapes, whether he scribbles, where he uses an eraser, drawing features-printing, faint drawing, crossing over, the colors he uses. it does. At the same time, the child can tell stories or talk about everyday events while drawing. The child’s reaction to shapes that are not as he wishes are also followed. Does he try to draw over and over again, scribble on it, turn it into something else, or does he ask for a new piece of paper and throw the previous one away?

Now let’s take a look at what the pictures tell;

  • Faded lines, using an eraser frequently, and not being able to finish the picture show that he is an insecure, shy and introverted child. Trying to draw everything in straight lines and proportions suggests a realistic point of view. Sensitive children use more curved lines.

  • It is also possible to evaluate the drawing paper according to time. The middle of the page is the present, the left is the past, and the right is the future. Centering the picture relative to the page shows that the child has a balanced inner world.

  • The connection of colors with emotions has been known for a long time. Red represents anger/aggression/impulsivity, blue represents calmness/self-control/harmony, green represents hope/relationship, white represents justice, yellow represents generosity, dependency, black represents sadness/grief/shyness. It is examined whether the child uses colors while evaluating the picture, and if so, which colors are dominant. To repeat, all details are considered as part of a whole in the evaluation, neither only lines and shapes nor only colors are interpreted.

  • One of the most frequently encountered drawings in children’s paintings is the house. The house symbolically represents situations such as a sense of security, shelter, family environment and relationship with the outside world. House drawing includes many details, such as door, windows, roof, chimney, stairs, fences, garden of the house.

House in Children’s Paintings

The door of the house shows how it relates to the outside world. Not scratching a door indicates that you are closed to interacting with other people. The door being open indicates a strong need for intimacy. Windows similarly show relationality. Curtains may indicate poor accessibility, lack of windows may indicate hostility.

The veranda in front of the house represents the need for protection against threats from the environment. A blocked road to home can be an indicator of anxiety and aggression. The absence of a door or path may also be related to the perception of failure.

The roof of the house indicates the mental state. Houses with smoke coming out of their chimney represent intimacy in close relationships. The chimney is also a symbol of sexual maturity and balance.

‘A well-centered home with open windows, multiple doors, and well centered on the paper shows that the child is of soft character, open and sharing. He usually draws the surroundings of the house in harmony and in moderation. On the other hand, if the house is small, the child has not used all the paper, the windows are small or the house is without windows, the house is surrounded by insulated elements or large trees, this picture shows the child’s emotional problems.’

It is developmentally normal for children before the age of 6 to draw the windows stuck to the wall of the house. The reason for this is that children do not fully understand the concept of emptiness until this age. So they try to fill the whole picture paper.

Pictures, which are an important part of psychotherapy studies with children, are a part of psychological support as well as being used for evaluation. It is a very common method especially when working with quiet, shy, introverted children who have difficulty in communicating verbally.

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