Skip to main content

Experts told that you can learn about parents from the drawings of the child

“My son never draws in pictures, where he depicts our family, the younger sister, as if she does not exist,” the mother of a 5-year-old child worries. “My daughter always paints herself separately from my husband and I,” the parents of the first grader complain.

Of course, it is impossible to fully understand the problems of the child and his attitude towards the family only by his art. However, experts are sure that many of the “pain points” of the baby can be easily identified by what and how he draws.

What can the drawings tell about the child, his emotional state and attitude towards loved ones? We tried to figure it out with a child psychologist.

How to interpret what your kids are portraying

Unfortunately, sometimes attentive parents are sure that the child feels comfortable in the family, even if this is not entirely true, – explains the child psychologist Yulia Krotova. – An ordinary child’s drawing can tell adults a lot about the baby’s condition even without going to a specialist. Understanding will help adults smooth out the negative and create a comfortable environment for the child. Of course, there is practically no point in evaluating the drawings of babies under three years old, they do not objectively reflect the child’s inner state and his relationship to adults. Children’s creativity becomes really informative from 4-5 years old. Also, you should not evaluate a picture of a child if it is drawn immediately after some kind of family conflict or quarrel. Obviously, the drawing will show only the child’s attitude to the current situation, and not his state and perception of his family as a whole.

Experts believe that one of the most effective ways to diagnose intra-family relationships is the “My Family” drawing test. With a correct assessment, you can get the most complete information from it. To conduct the test, you just need to ask the child to draw his family the way he wants.


Black dad and lonely kid

A case from one’s life: Alina from the Moscow Region noticed that her eldest 5-year-old son became very capricious and withdrawn after the birth of her younger sister. The My Family drawing showed unexpected results. The kid depicted himself on the left side of the sheet next to the grandmother and the cat. Mom and her sister were on the other side of the sheet, and dad was drawn in the middle of the composition and carefully shaded in black, the rest of the family were painted in bright colors.

Psychologist’s comment: In the drawing of his son, Alina was most excited by the fact that the boy depicted his father in black, although in this situation it did not matter much and happened by accident. After talking with the child, it turned out that recently the man most often wore a dark jacket and trousers, which is why the son painted it with a black pencil. In such a picture, you can talk about the reasons for the baby’s anxiety by the composition, that is, by the way the characters are placed in the picture. The child clearly feels deprived of the attention of the parents, unnecessary for them after the birth of a younger sister. Based on the picture, we can say that lately he has developed close relationships only with his grandmother and a cat. Judging by the fact that the boy portrayed his father in the center of the picture, but separately from other family members, the father tries to give everyone equal attention, but is rarely at home, since he works a lot.

How to interpret a drawing by color

Normally, children usually paint bright and colorful pictures of their family. On average, they use 5-6 colors for coloring. Experts note that the more confident the kid is, the brighter his art looks. True, each kid has several especially favorite colors, which will prevail in the picture. However, in general, by the nature of the coloring of the picture, conclusions can be drawn about the current state of the child. So, light, bright or saturated colors speak of cheerfulness and comfortable well-being of the baby in the family. The predominance of red can indicate the emotional tension and irritability of the little artist. If the baby’s family is drawn in black and gray, it is worth thinking about the presence of hidden fears in the child, trying to understand the reasons why he is restless around loved ones. Interestingly, most often the baby paints the same color as himself, the family member for whom he has the greatest sympathy.

Children’s drawing and composition

Normally, the child usually draws his family in the central part of the sheet, the downward shift most often indicates the child’s low self-esteem, and upward – on the contrary, about the overestimated. The only children in the family most often paint themselves in the center of the composition between mom and dad. The family members that the child draws closest to his own image are usually the closest. It is also worth paying attention to the sequence in which the child draws household members: the one who is closer to the beginning, in the eyes of the child, takes a more significant position in the family. If a baby portrays himself aside from loved ones, this most often indicates a feeling of loneliness of the baby, a feeling of his uselessness to loved ones. In addition, such a composition is often chosen by children who experience jealousy and lack of parental attention after the birth of a brother or sister.

The absence of one of the family members in the picture is also considered an alarming sign. If this is the same little brother or sister, then the point is jealousy. If there is no mom or dad in the picture, this may mean that the baby has practically no psychological contact and emotional connection with this person at the moment. For example, if a child did not draw his little brother or sister, perhaps he is jealous of his parents and seeks to defend his right to their love. If there is no “artist” himself in the picture, it is worth considering that the baby feels rejected, unnecessary in the family. If a fictional family member appears in the picture, experts also note that the child is currently experiencing a lack of parental love.

Photo: Children’s Center “Petrushka”

Rake hands and clouds over the nursery

A case from one’s life: Oleg from Moscow began to worry that after starting school, his 7-year-old son began to show incomprehensible aggression and anger, began to obey poorly and even be rude to adults. Recently, the boy’s parents had to work a lot, the child spent most of the time with the nanny, so the adults decided to check if this was the reason for the changes in the child’s behavior. In the drawing, the boy depicted all family members, including the dog, he painted himself last. All the heroes were painted with bright colors, people are holding hands, drawn in a fairly proportional manner. The only thing that can alert the picture is the unnatural rake hands of the smallest author and clouds over the heads of the characters in the drawing.

Psychologist’s comment: Judging by the location of the characters in the picture, at the moment the child does not feel deprived of attention in the family. The only thing, not very good, is that he portrayed himself as the last one, this suggests that the boy subconsciously does not feel significant in the family. But the author’s unnatural rake hands can really speak of latent anger and aggression in the child. The clouds depicted above the family in the picture also testify to some negative emotions in the baby. In this case, it seems that the boy’s irritation does not come from the family, but from some external factors, possibly from the aggressive behavior of his classmates at school.

The position of the characters and proportions in the drawing:

The comfortable state of the child in the family, as a rule, is evidenced by the fact that all the characters are depicted in the correct proportions relative to reality. If a baby portrays himself as very small, it means that he feels insecure and insecure even in the circle of loved ones. As for the rest of the family and pets, the larger they are shown in the picture, the more role they play for the baby. The pose of the author himself in the picture is also of great importance. A happy and confident child is likely to depict himself with arms and legs outstretched, with all limbs drawn in detail according to the artist’s ability. Hands pressed to the body or covering the head indicate the child’s insecurity, perhaps adults too often scold or criticize him.

Drawings in which the author depicts himself as if hanging in the air, and not standing on the same plane with other family members, speak about the child’s negative emotions. Big eyes and brightly drawn pupils of the characters can indicate the anxiety of the baby, as well as the strong, with a clip, shading of the characters in the drawing. And the unnaturally huge rake hands of one of the characters, including the child himself, testify to the hidden anger of their owner.

Details in children’s art:

Psychologists believe that the complete absence of any details in the drawing of the child’s family indicates the isolation of its author. The opposite situation, when there are too many of these details, may indicate a hidden anxiety of the baby. The image of some specific objects in the picture also often indicates that the baby is not well in the family. For example, if, instead of people, a child draws a building where the family lives, then this may be a sign that the child is uncomfortable among those close to him. The image of the sun or a lamp can mean that the author of the picture lacks warmth in relations with loved ones. Clouds and clouds also indicate negative emotions that are bothering the baby at the moment, but they do not necessarily come from family members. The image of various toys or non-existent pets may indicate that the child does not have enough attention from loved ones.


1. The task to draw a family made the child happy.

2. All family members with whom the baby communicates closely are present in the picture.

3. Heroes are portrayed in proportion, no one looks unnaturally large or small.

4. All family members are close to each other, holding hands. All limbs of the characters are well traced.

5. The drawing is made in rich and bright colors without strong shading.


1. The kid does not want to draw his family or draws his house instead of people.

2. Excessively large or small size of individual family members.

3. The kid draws himself as the last member of the household, demonstrating that he means little in his family.

4. In the picture, one of the family members, the child himself, or a non-existent character appears.

5.Picturing yourself or loved ones with a closed face or unnaturally large hands.

6. The predominance of black, gray, brown and purple tones in the picture, the desire to draw your family with only a simple pencil.


– For analysis, you should not take drawings that children drew in kindergarten, school or art studio – they are usually performed according to certain criteria;

– If you want to correctly evaluate the colors used in the drawing, offer your child a full set of pencils and paints. Otherwise, the baby can draw a picture in dark colors only because they were at that moment at hand.

– You should not arrange an art test when the child is tired, offended or upset – the result will be uninformative, as it will show the state of the baby at the moment.

– Ask the child to describe his picture on his own, to tell what each of the characters feels, so it will be easier to correctly interpret the child’s art, especially if he is not very good at drawing.

– During the test, try not to praise or criticize the art of your child, otherwise it will be problematic to retest after a while, since the child will act according to a template, trying to please the parent.