Old Mother Hubbard had so much of her kid's artwork, she didn't know what to do... While we all have folders bursting with Popsicle stick-glued crafts, it's those original drawings that provide a real window into your family life.
New research from the University of North Carolina found that children's drawings paint an accurate picture of the emotional climate at home. As part of The Family Life Project, nearly 1,000 6- and 7-year-old kids drew pictures of their families. Researchers then compared the situation through routine home visits. The results were fascinating.
Though children at this age haven't yet mastered how to vocalize their emotions, they give away a lot on paper.
What to do with Your Child's Artwork
So-called "high-functioning" environments depicted all members in close proximity, with parents and children sized realistically. Open hands apparently represented a feeling of support within the family.
According to one of the researchers, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Roger Mills-Koonce, the vast majority of kids' drawings conveyed "common themes of warmth, emotional closeness, togetherness and limited tension and disorganization."
Conversely, those in a "dysfunctional" home lacked body parts and facial expressions, arms were hidden or in a downward position, with figures sized disproportionately or placed far apart. "Physical distance may be indicative of an emotional distance or lack of closeness and trust," said Mills-Koonce.
Researchers found these drawings generally reflected homes affected by poverty and cluttered, chaotic environments. Even if kids didn't show outward signs of stress and turmoil, they certainly internalized it on some level.
Of course if your child happens to love dragons and Nerf guns and that is reflected in their artwork, it's likely these themes are nothing to worry about. But in some cases, the page is seeped in unspoken emotion. If parents are at all concerned, they should seek professional advice.
Most animal shelters are all about giving it the big sell: "Look at this dog's big sad eyes." They're all about the subliminal "Adopt me, Adopt me!" Not so for the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, which is working reverse psychology when it comes to a two year-old Chihuahua named Eddie. Or Eddie the Terrible, as he is affectionately known.
In order to stave off adoptees who blindly and blithely adopt pets they are not equipped to handle, the California shelter is big on honestly. Brutally honest.
In a blog post entitled “A Full Disclosure Blog: Three Reasons You DON’T Want To Adopt Eddie The Terrible,” staff give a detailed list of the pooch's flaws. And there are many: from being scared around kids and goes "from zero to Cujo in .05 seconds" around other dogs.
The shelter has even made hilarious videos, one of which features 'Bad to the Bone' as its soundtrack. But rather than an attempt to dissuade prospective adoptees, the shelter is doing the public a service, by telling it like it is.
At least whoever wants Eddie and brings him home won't be under any illusions or charmed under false pretenses. His future owner—ideally childless and otherwise pet-less—will be getting exactly what's advertised:
"Actually, he's kind of a jerk. But he's a jerk we believe in."
“If you love a challenge, are looking for the dog of a lifetime and think you can handle the thirteen pounds of terror that is Eddie, we won’t stop you," writes Finnegan Dowling on the hysterical HSSV blog. "You just go ahead and call 1.408.262.2133 ext 150. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.”
I can only imagine the write-up my bulldog, aka Rosey the Rascal, would get. Favourite snacks: Crocs and furniture. Loves sound of her own bark. 70lbs of lap dog, some issues with flatulence...
There are fairies in Massachusetts, did you know? Angels, even. Now, before you go assuming I've smoked too much glitter, hear me out. A slew of mystery shoppers have been popping into their local Toys R Us and paying off bulk layaway accounts in the lead up to the holidays.
An anonymous "bubbly older woman" dropped more than $20K—boom! Meanwhile, in another town, yet another "layaway angel' settled some 125 accounts to the tune of $19,600.
Officer Gives Mom Something More Surprising Than A Fine
"If you have it, give it," said the woman furthermore known as Bubbly, telling staff she would "sleep better at night" knowing all the accounts had been settled. While the rest of us sleep better at night knowing people like her still exist in the world...
Typically, stores with layaway policies allow shoppers to pay a deposit toward items, which are held for around 90 days, giving customers time to settle the bill. For families who can't afford to buy an item outright immediately, layaways can be a saving grace.
But around the holidays, that grace period inevitably gets cut short, as many stores require customers to settle up before Christmas. That's a lot of unnecessary stress and pressure on parents, who may or may not be able to get gifts under the tree in time for their kids.
It makes me think of all the sacrifices my mother made, raising me alone. One Christmas there was a doll I wanted so badly, but was resigned to the fact it wouldn't happen. I wouldn't get that doll, because we couldn't afford it. Then a tingly feeling, like freshly falling snow, settled around the tree when my mom came out with "one last gift..."