What might my child’s drawings be telling me?


Every age child has a unique physiological and psychological development process. During this process, he is expected to show some behaviors that are appropriate for his developmental period. The most important thing that parents who have this expectation should not forget is that their children may be different from other children and show a unique progress. In addition to the fact that the development process is sometimes variable with small differences, another remarkable element is; It is the fact that children do some behaviors without being aware of it before, but after a while they start to show these behaviors consciously. It is possible to find traces of the stages of this developmental process in the pictures drawn by children. For this reason, children’s self-expression through painting can be handled in different stages. These stages are as follows:


Children make random drawings at this age. Pictures are more for gaming purposes. For example, meaningless lines, scribbles, circles, balls.


A three-year-old can draw a typical round head. When asked to draw a human picture, they can draw human figures with heads and feet. Can identify facial features. Four-year-olds can draw stick figures with arms and legs, and they usually paint the picture without color discrimination. In happy pictures, yellow color is more dominant, in sad pictures, brown color is more dominant. Besides, whichever color the child likes, the pictures are weighted towards that color. If the weight is red in pictures, it represents assertiveness and aggression. Children who choose warm colors such as pink, yellow and orange are affectionate, harmonious and cooperative. Children who choose cold colors such as black, blue, green, and brown can represent assertive, shy, hard-to-control, incompatible, and suppressing their true feelings, raised in an oppressive family environment.

The human figures and houses made by his five-year-old could have more distinct lines. There are now simple themes in the pictures made by a six-year-old child. Transparency is dominant in his paintings mostly. For example, in house drawings, they can also draw the things inside the house. Don’t let this surprise you


The paintings drawn in this period are more specific and detailed. It is easy to understand what the picture is. Drawings are more realistic. There is a spatial relationship in the picture. Children use the ground line. The ground line represents the extent of the child’s relationship with himself and his environment. Whether the boundaries are clear or not gives important clues. For example, frequent lines may give clues that the child may have been exposed to situations in which his boundaries are violated (violence, abuse, etc.). In this period, bird’s-eye drawings are dominant.


More detailed drawings and a realistic approach are seen in the paintings of this period. The general subject of the pictures may differ between boys and girls. While girls mostly draw pictures of babies, women’s faces, portraits and dresses, boys draw objects such as cars, ships, and planes.


At this stage, the objects in the pictures are proportional and the pictures are perspective. The child tries to reflect the proportions, dimensions and depths of the objects he sees in the close environment with his lines. During this period, children make the best use of colors.

In addition to the periods mentioned above, there may be some hidden meanings in the pictures drawn by our children. Although it is not possible to say clear and definite things about this subject, we can make some generalizations in line with the statistics obtained from the researches. If we want to give some examples of these:

The lack of communication in the family is clearly seen in the pictures about the family. The absence of one or more of the family members in the picture, the child’s refusal to draw the family members, the absence of parent figures, the broken family, the lack of love; Placing objects between parents and children can be considered as an indication of communication problems between family members. The fact that the younger sibling is holding the hands of the parents and the other child is drawn far away or not drawn at all can express a lack of love, sibling jealousy.

In addition to these, it is possible to say the following regarding issues such as not drawing body items or drawing them larger or smaller than they are, or overemphasizing: The child’s drawing of a large or very small head may indicate the possibility that there are problems in mental activity. The fact that some parts of the body are not scratched or missing reflects the parts of the body that are disturbed. The exaggerated drawing of the arms may represent violence against the family and the child, the absence of drawing the arms may express the lack of power and strength, the large or small drawing of the mouth may represent language and speech problems or verbal violence, and the absence of drawing the mouth may represent communication problems. Curiosity about the big drawing of the eyes, blank and meaningless eyes, seeing problems and learning problems related to vision, exaggerated drawing of the nose may cause respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, not scratching the nose, power struggle, weakness, lack of support, ears different from normal, large or small drawing. may indicate that there may be related problems. Scratching the hands too large suggests beatings, violence, stealing, and drawing them too small suggests insecurity and difficulty in adapting to the environment. While the exaggerated drawing of the feet may represent self-confidence, the minor drawing may represent insecurity and helplessness, the drawing of the genitals may represent aggression, excessive anxiety and seeing the parents naked.

To summarize, the pictures drawn by our children are not just scribbled pieces of paper, they are a roadmap that helps us to illuminate their inner world and get to know them better. For this reason, let’s mobilize our children’s free spirits by giving them the chance to express themselves freely. Healthy days, healthy generations…

Serap Melek Sergeant KILIÇ

Pedagogue – Family Therapist

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