The internet has been buzzing about Mayhem, a four year old girl who makes dresses out of paper with her mom. They are beyond creative – some not even looking like paper at all. I saw it over and over again in my Facebook feed as people gushed about how amazing that little girl was. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing that mom was. A mom who forgoes the cleaning, the bill-paying, the tv show watching and sometimes even the blogging, to sit and spend time with her daughter.

I set down my phone and looked at my five year old son who was bouncing off the walls while watching TV and suddenly felt like I was cheating him. My beautiful, energetic, and ultra-creative little boy. I’m always worried about having to clean up a big mess, so I hide the art supplies in a locked closet. That’s not fair because I know I’m stifling his creativity.

I showed him the article about Mayhem and her paper dresses and his eyes lit up. I asked him if he wanted to make a costume or something and of course he was incredibly excited. So I handed him a box of different kinds and colors of papers, a couple of rolls of scotch tape and a pair of scissors.

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He spent almost an hour measuring, cutting, taping and assembling. He asked me for help every so often, so I took breaks from nursing the baby to help attach things to him and cut things that he couldn’t quite get right. What happened next was pretty awesome.

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I have kept those craft supplies locked up for too long for fear of messes. The best part is that he cleaned up the papers afterwards without a complaint. Giving him that outlet allowed me to connect with him in a different way, and of course he was more open to helping me by tidying up afterwards.

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 Do you let your kids work on crafts in your house?

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When I'm not writing, I'm cleaning up after my three very messy boys, ages 7, 4, and 1. If I had to describe myself in just one sentence: Slightly crunchy, a little crazy and always exhausted.

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One Response to Why I Stopped Stifling My Son’s Creativity

  1. Angela, I love this. As I look through my phone I see tons of pictures of what my boys have drawn, built, and costumes they’ve made to be all manner of super heros! Yes the mess was a big hurdle to overcome…but we made a pact that if they clean it they can mess it up. It’s worked.

    I love that my boys are creative. So often we (as in society) expect creativity in girls but try to squash it in boys. Kudos to you for encouraging it…I’ll do my part to encourage it also!

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