In my art therapy practice, I have primarily seen children who have been suffering due to very difficult family situations. In most cases, for a variety of reasons, the child’s mother is struggling, is having trouble functioning, and can’t take proper care of the child. These paintings by a mother and her child both convey a sense of their distress.
7 year-old child’s self-portrait
All children are disturbed and scared by a mother’s dysfunction. But at the same time, they usually have a profound sense of their mother’s love for them, and the longing for that loving mother never goes away. This child’s clay figures show two sides of her mother. Although the mom with the cigarette hanging out of her mouth was a neglectful addict, the child has also often experienced the warmth of that motherly smile.
My Mother, 8 year-old girl
In spite of whatever distress, dysfunction, neglect, or abuse a child has a experienced, most children cling to that sense of their loving mother through thick and thin.
Me and My Mom, 8 year-old boy
Untitled, 14 year-old girl
To those mothers who are struggling hard to overcome big, difficult problems and become good mothers to their children, I wish you the best. I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.
I’ve done many art groups with foster parents over the years. Foster parents work with children, agencies, birth parents, schools, legal systems, and more, and are faced with challenges from many directions. Thus the groups tend to go in many directions. When people find themselves in a supportive culture and have the opportunity to express themselves, magic happens, pretty much always, and all kinds of feelings are shared. For Mother’s Day, here are a few drawings by foster mothers of themselves and their foster children.
I love this mother’s picture of herself, with such a bright expression and arms long enough to take charge, protect, and give big hugs. (And she’s going to need those long arms to hold that teenager back…)
This mom did a drawing of herself and her foster son watching Transformers together. How wonderful, since they are both transformers, working together to transform the past into something better.
“A big hug and some beautiful words. I love you, Mami.”