Children's creativity: European-American and Serbian parents' perspectives

Date of Completion

January 2005


Education, Early Childhood|Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies




This study explored European-American and Serbian parents' beliefs and attitudes about children's creativity. Participants were 45 European-American parents from Eastern Connecticut and 57 Serbian parents from Belgrade and Krusevac, Serbia. At both sites, the sample of children consisted of 16 girls and 16 boys, four to six years of age. Parents were interviewed about a variety of topics related to creativity and, in particular, about children's creativity. Parents were also asked to complete two questionnaires. All children were administered the Thinking Creatively in Action and Movement test (TCAM; Torrance, 1981). ^ The results indicated that European-American and Serbian parents' perspectives on creativity were very similar. However, there were several notable cultural differences in their conceptions of creativity and their conceptions of children's creativity. While concepts of creativity in both cultural groups incorporate originality, imagination, problem solving, and the creation process, Serbian parents' conceptions of creativity also include the ability to successfully manage everyday tasks and the ability to effectively deal with unpredictable circumstances in life. These results seem to suggest the influence of socioeconomic conditions on Serbian parents' conceptions of creativity. ^ Parents' implicit theories of the positively, negatively, and unrelated traits of children's creativity were explored. Parents in this study believed that all children are creative, but that more creative children tend to be imaginative, artistic, curious, intelligent, and enterprising. The European-American concept of a “creative child” emphasizes the child's curiosity and energy. In addition to being energetic and motivated, a creative child, according to Serbian parents, is also intellectually competent. Both groups of parents saw being distractible, being regular in habits, and having a bad temper as child qualities negatively related to creativity. In addition, European-American parents perceived a child's tendencies to be obedient and cautious as negative influences on his/her creativity. Serbian parents, on the other hand, perceived shyness, aggressive tendencies, and being intense as negatively related to creativity. According to both groups of parents, child qualities such as honest, polite, sweet, athletic, modest, calm, and well behaved are neither indicative nor contraindicative of children's creativity. ^