DR. ROBERT WALLACE: Mom promotes kid’s art, dad says it’s a waste of time | News

DR. WALLACE: I’m a teenager who likes to doodle and paint, but my father thinks it’s a waste of time. My mother is quite artistic, and she’s a fantastic decorator in our home. She has a keen and tasteful eye for decor and fashion, but my father is more rigid and less interested in the arts.

My mom recently told me painting and creating art can be beneficial for a young person. Can you confirm this? If so, I’d like to show my letter to you and your reply back to me to my dad so he might ease up on telling me I’m wasting my time. — I Like to Paint, via email

I LIKE TO PAINT: I agree with your mother that you are indeed not wasting your time. Painting can nurture brain activity, and this has been supported by research on this topic.

Think about how a child learns to use a crayon to color in a coloring book. Even the child’s first rudimentary scribbles serve an important function in advancing eye-hand coordination and cause the brain to engage in cognitive processing. Even young children who take the time to draw pictures demonstrate better concentration and focus. This benefit continues throughout life’s development, and the teen years also derive a good benefit accordingly.

Creating art has positive effects on the human body both mentally and physically. It boosts creativity, soothes anxiety and elevates self-esteem. I side decidedly with your mother on this topic.

DR. WALLACE: I’m going to be hosting a party for several of my fellow students to celebrate a special event next month. I’m not experienced as a host at all.

Since this is my event, to be held on a Saturday afternoon into the early evening, everyone else in my family is planning to make themselves scarce and head off somewhere else.

I do have two close friends who will help me set up the event. We are all seniors in high school, as will be most of the attendees. Do you have any suggestions for a first-time host? — An Inexperienced Host, via email

AN INEXPERIENCED HOST: I’ll try to give you a few pointers covering a wide variety of topics, so choose the ones you feel may apply to your particular situation.

Start with creative, easy-to-make and fun invitations. You can use paper ones or send them online via a group email.

Once your guests arrive, have a nice sparkling water, soda or fruit juice ready along with a quick snack. Have your co-hosts use a few trays to greet each person at the door so no guest feels awkward about asking where to get a bite to eat and drink. Have your food be easy to prepare or quickly heat if needed. Buy food in advance; don’t try to make anything from scratch.

Think carefully about what kind of music you’d like to have playing in the background. Watch the volume and select something that fits well with the theme of your event. Also, if the weather is an issue, be prepared to take jackets and coats, and have a nice place to store them during the event. Have a few pieces of paper ready or a notes file on a cellphone so you can write down a name and jacket or coat so that when a guest leaves, you can quickly bring the correct garment to each person heading out over the course of your event.

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