Many parents feel that they have to be critical or their children will never improve. If you don’t judge you children they will never become the good upstanding adults that you want them to be. As their first and most influential teachers, how will children learn if they are not criticized?
For some parents, criticism becomes a way of life. These types are on a constant fault-finding mission, under the banner of just wanting their children to develop into good people.
What their children hear instead is: “you’ll never be good enough”, “try though you might, you will never measure up”, “you’re a disappointment“. These children struggle to please their parents and their self-esteem plummets under the pressure. Some children give up entirely and stop trying to reach a bar that seems impossibly high. They either do so defiantly (“I’ll show him!”) and resentfully or passively and submissively (“I’m just a loser“).
“Sit up straight. You’re always slouching.”
“Can’t you dress properly? What you’re wearing looks terrible.”
“You’re gaining some weight. You need to exercise more.”
“What did you do this time?”
There is actually no place for criticism with children, even so-called ‘constructive criticism’. When parenting, language should be worded so that the child hears the proper message and doesn’t take it as a personal assault on them, which criticism always is.
“It’s better for your back and shoulders to sit up straight. There is less strain on your muscles when you do so.”
“This is a bit of a special occasion. Let’s make it fun by changing into some different clothes.”
“With the good weather coming it might be fun to get outdoors more. How about joining me for a walk?”
“Want to talk about what happened?”