Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | July 16, 2014

Children & Art: Parents NOT Required

Keira ArtBeat - FrontKeira ArtBeat - BackLauren Artbeat

The girls and I went Art Beat in East Arlington today.  It’s a really cute art shop/studio.  You can walk just walk in to the studio, no appointment necessary.  Today both girls painted these wooden figures.  I made a head band (not pictured).

All four tables in the studio were full on this rainy summer day, so it was tight quarters.  And I was so horrified by the mother sitting across from us that I had to blog about the experience!  She was there with her two kids.  Her kids were similar ages to mine, maybe, 7 and 5?  She wasn’t doing her own project, she was just directing her children’s art projects.  She approved their base color choices.  She ensured that the paint went on evenly.  If she saw a bumps or streaks, she touched it up with her own paintbrush.  She insisted that the kids put designs with contrasting colors over the base coat.  She didn’t like the imperfect heart that the younger boy painted, so she re-painted it!!  That’s just not cool.  Keira was horrified, too.  Once we were in our car heading home, she called the mother a “a bossy bully”.

Art is just such a personal expression of oneself.  By controlling the entire project, the mother took all expression away from her children.  She took the joy out of the art.  It was so sad.  This mom was certainly an extreme in helicopter parenting her children’s artwork.  But, none of the other mothers in the shop were doing their own art projects.  They were “helping” their children.  How can you go to an art studio and watch other people do art?  Get out a paintbrush!  Make something.  Express yourself, mamas!!

Look at those figures that the girls made!  You can see the girls reflected in their art.  Keira’s figures are so controlled.  So well planned and carefully executed.  They’re beautiful.  And then look at Lauren’s.  So much color!  So much life!  And how do you like the lady figure on the far right?  Let’s call her the bikini lady, though Lauren didn’t choose a clothing term!!  The art would not have reflected the girls so beautifully if I’d gotten involved.  It’s art!  Let them play!  Let them get messy!  Let them express themselves!!

Sadly, we live in a time where our children do not enjoy the same physical freedom that we did as children; my eight year old doesn’t ride her bike around the neighborhood alone.  We can at least give our children the freedom to create their own art.  Parents directing their children’s art projects?!  That’s just f*cking crazy.  In fact, I would say it’s the best way to extinguish your child’s natural desire to create and experiment.


  1. You know I never could have kept my mouth shut with that crazy one!! I’m stunned anyone would openly be that horrible with her children! She can’t possibly think that is okay???!! Dear me.

    I love their peg people, especially Button Boobs. Hysterical! So beautiful to treasure them all.

    I do love artbeat. It’s a fun place to do a quick project with kids and get some craft on.

    • It was just so sad. On the bright side, it made my eight year old really, really appreciate her cool mama. Ha!!!! xo, Tracy

  2. {{sigh}}

    Would love to go to ArtBeat with you and the girls sometime!

    • Absolutely! We also want to try out Mucky Kids! We’ll just have to make two art dates, I guess!!

  3. I really feel bad for the family that sat across from you- she’s not having fun parenting and watching those children develop if she’s micromanaging them. And the kids are having their fun drained from them with her tight grip on them:o( Too bad the person running the program didn’t speak up!

    AWESOME job on your art!! Now, those peg people need a story! I’d love to hear what voices the girls give those little beings:o)

    • OMG! I have to ask Lauren to tell me a story about the little peg people. Keira will be the videographer!! What a great idea!!

      You know the interesting thing about Art Beat is that it really is pretty much an open studio; there isn’t an instructor really. Normally that is awesome! A perfect model for us. But in this instance, I think that the kids next to us would have been better off if there had been a teacher there to tell their mama to back off! And what a sensitive way to look at the situation – the mom was not having any fun either…she wasn’t just stealing her kids’ fun…but her own, too. It always helps me to muster up a little sympathy for those who’ve triggered me (ha!). Thank you, Andrea. You are one wise mama. Hugs to you, Pat, and your sweet kiddos. xo, Tracy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: