How to Kill Your Kid’s Creativity

Last month’s post was all about fostering imagination and creativity in children.  This month, we are looking at the opposite. How things we do in our daily lives kills creativity in children.  I really believe that we are all born creative. When I think of creativity, I associate it with freedom. Having the freedom to create whatever we want.  A young kid who has not yet really lived in the world is sitting on the floor building with blocks, creating with clay, or paint or just engaged in imaginative play.  What a glorious thought.

One of the interesting things I discovered when researching this topic, is that highly creative individuals come from homes with very few important rules.  The only real rules that do exist in these types of homes are how people are to be treated.

What I have been able to conclude in all of this, is that it is the essence of rules that contribute to the killing of creativity.  Leslie Owen Wilson of The Second Principle wrote a great article and laid out a series of actions that will contribute to the killing our kid’s creativity.


Hovering – Are you that helicopter parent who is constantly watching over your kid every minute of the day?  Stop it – your kid will not feel compelled to take creative risks.

Evaluation – Don’t make your kids worry about what they should be doing while ignoring their accomplishments. Celebrate their great accomplishments and milestones.  We want our kids to feel good and free, not stressed or worried.

Rewards – The pleasure of creativity is lost with the use of excessive prizes.

Competition – Using competition will not allow your kid to progress at their own rate.  In this scenario, one kid win’s and one child loses. In the works of Pink Floyd, “Hey! Teachers! Leave them, kids, alone.”

Overcontrol – Constantly telling your kid how to do things will kill exploration and originality.

Choice Restriction – Allow kids to lead the way so their own exploration and productivity can emerge.

Pressure – Grandiose expectations create unnecessary pressure to perform and conform.  It deters the creative process.

Behavior still needs to be regulated.  Kids need to learn right from wrong, good from bad, and to develop a moral compass.  From a creativity standpoint, let them figure out! Don’t hover, don’t pressure and don’t control them.  Allow them to process their surroundings at their own rate and on their own time. Every kid advances at a different rate and there is no right or wrong.  Overbearing rules, regulations, control, and pressure are creativity killers. Step back, take a deep breath and allow the river of creativity flow through your kid.