Stop Passing Judgment and Let Us Write!

…At least, that’s what this article says, and we sure as hell agree:

Unsolicited Evaluation Is the Enemy of Creativity – by Dr. Peter Gray

Non-directive, Non-Judgmental Parenting Predicts Subsequent Creativity in Children Longitudinal research has shown that children raised by parents who are relatively non-directive and non-judgmental exhibit more creativity later on than do those raised by relatively directive, judgmental parents.  In a classic study, conducted in the 1970s and ‘80s, David Harrington, Jeanne Block, and Jack Block assessed the child-rearing beliefs and practices of the parents of 106 preschool children (3.5 to 4.5 years old), and then, when the children were in 6th grade and again in 9th grade, asked the children’s school teachers to rate them on a number of characteristics pertaining to creativity. [1]

When the children were preschoolers, the researchers evaluated the parents for degree of control during parent-child interactions in the laboratory, and they also asked the parents to describe their own parenting style using a Q-sort method.  Statements such as the following were taken to represent a non-controlling, not-judgmental style:

-I respect my child’s opinions and encourage him to express them.

-I feel a child should have time to think, daydream, and even loaf.

-I let my child make many decisions for himself.

In contrast, statements such as the following were taken to represent a controlling, judgmental style:

Read it all

Actually, this article fascinates us because it’s about parents whose reactions discourage creativity, as interpreted by teachers who, it would seem, encourage it. Yet our young life was the other way around. What’s this world coming to?!

The key point in the article (we know because it’s bolded in the text) is this:

“Expectation of Evaluation Inhibits Creativity.”

When we first read it we thought, “Uh-oh, if creativity is the way we earn our living, then we’re screwed, right? Because our bosses will of course be expecting it and we’ll feel the pressure.”

But then we relaxed because, hey, this is television writing, where genuine creativity so often is the kiss of death. Nobody in power comes anywhere close to expecting that.


2 thoughts on “Stop Passing Judgment and Let Us Write!”

  1. This so true–and why I feel a smidge of guilt for being so critical of Criminal Minds’ last three episodes. However, criticism, done right (and I try to do mine right) also holds the writer accountable. It’s a fine line to be sure.

  2. WOW! All this talk about nothing! “I am! Therefore I write!” I…I…I! Not everyone can do it! Not everyone wants to do it! I write because it makes me feel good. It’s like eating pizza. It just tastes good! “HOLDS THE WRITER ACCOUNTABLE?!” For what? Even if he/she writes about a serial killer. It’s only make-believe. Unless, of course, you’re a reporter. kathyfuller, relax, enjoy, write-on! gs

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