Trusting My Teen With Art Supplies

When my children were younger, I had a severe aversion to pulling out art supplies. The logistics of such a venture were overwhelming when there was no other responsible adult to assist with the setup or the aftermath.

By the time they were finished painting, globs of paint were smeared across endless sheets of paper, each one a treasured work of art. Where could I put them all to dry? What could I possibly do with them afterwards?

There were also cups of water, mixed-together paint colors, and brushes or sponges to rinse out. Don’t forget the child (or 2…or 5) who just did not want to stop painting and pitched a fit when I started putting away all the supplies?

For years afterwards my children would inquire, “Can we paint?” only to receive an immediate and harsh response of “NO!”

Changing NO to YES

A strange thing happened when my middle child turned 13. It started one day when she asked to paint and promised to clean up and put everything away when she was finished. I gave her a reluctant, “Yes…”

True to her word, she used the supplies and then thoroughly cleaned up afterward. The same scenario has played out multiple times since then, and each time my “Yes” is a bit less hesitant than the last.

She has now taken charge of the art supplies, and I have decided that I honestly do not care how thoroughly she cleans out the supplies afterwards, as long as she does not leave a mess behind. If she is careless with the brushes, she will deal with the aftermath on her own the next time she uses them.

I am making a conscious decision to trust my daughter to care for the art supplies.

Were you ever afraid to say yes to art and other activities on a regular basis because of the mess involved? When were you able to finally trust your children to express their creativity and clean up the mess themselves? Share your experience in the comments below.