The Cost of Creativity: 9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Want Creative Kids

2014 05 20_0014

Fostering creativity in children seems to be all the rage these days.

I’m not buying all the hype.

Here are nine reasons why I don’t want my kids to be creative:

  1. It’s messy. The other day my three-year-old pulled out the plastic decorative grass between my sushi, said “It’s a crown!” and proceeded to put it on the 1-month-old’s head. Yes, raw fish on the baby’s head is the result of young creativity.
  2. It’s risky. Creativity knows no bounds, you never know where you’ll end up. First they paint on the paper you give them, then they find your stack of bills and paint on that, then they paint the walls and driveway . . .
  3. It’s dangerous. Creative kids tinker. They have no fear. Put “tinker” and “electricity” in the same sentence and you’ll understand why I don’t want creative kids.
  4. It’s expensive. The trouble with real art supplies is that they are expensive and kids keep coming back for more, which results in a feedback loop of creativity followed by the need for buying more art supplies. Fortunately there is an easy and cheap solution to this. Buy cheap art supplies. Kids get so frustrated with them not working properly and breaking that they give up creating. Poor art supplies are not only cheap, they last the whole childhood! Double win.
  5. It’s time consuming. It takes an hour to walk half a block with creative kids. They somehow see infinite potential in a pile of stones. Each one is unique, so no stone can be left unturned.
  6. It’s uncertain. The creative path isn’t charted and there’s no instruction manual. I don’t know where we’re going or how to get there but I am still held responsible should anything bad happen to my kids!
  7. It’s maddening. Creative kids think of creative ways to obey the letter of the law while flouting its spirit. As in, “I didn’t throw the truck, I just dropped it off the table!”
  8. It’s heartbreaking. Creative kids fail. They try out many ideas and most of them fail. As a parent, I hate watching my kids fail. I’d rather do things for them and save them the agony, though strangely enough they don’t seem to mind failing as much as I do.
  9. It’s humbling. My kids might show me up and have a more successful life than I do.

So before you jump on the “creative kids” bandwagon, be sure you count the cost!

Have a reason I missed? Please share!

5 thoughts on “The Cost of Creativity: 9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Want Creative Kids”

  1. It’s loud. Creative kids NEVER stop asking questions. Whether or not you know the answers has no effect on the number of incoming questions.

    It creates a lot of laundry, and ultimately a lot of stained clothes. Since you’re spending so much on art supplies, you can’t afford new clothing…

    lol. Great post. 😀

  2. It’s embarrassing. Despite the putative push for creativity, schools do not welcome creative kids. Creative children disrupt the program, ask questions the teacher cannot answer, sidetrack the lessons, give unexpected and awkward responses that don’t fit into the direction the teacher had planned for the discussion, and get wrong answers on standardized tests due to overthinking the question. Squelch that creativity and your parent/teacher conferences will go a lot more smoothly. If you don’t, the schools will anyway, so why not save yourself the grief?

    For “schools” above you may substitute Sunday schools, churches, libraries, museums, workplaces, or the institution of your choice. It’s the same dynamic.

    Which brings up the serious question: How do we avoid squelching their creativity and still give our kids the tools they need not to appear merely undisciplined in an institutional setting?

    1. I like your final question. Being creative doesn’t mean doing whatever we want any time we want.

      In group settings we need to follow some guidelines or we won’t create anything but chaos.

      At this point, I can’t worry about the rules institutions have – I first have to learn how I want to react to the creative disruptions of my own kids.

      It’s surprisingly hard – hence this post!

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