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Constructive criticism

Criticism and Child Discipline

Knowingly or unknowingly, each one of us criticises our kids on a daily basis all the hours they’re awake. Every now and then we find some new criticism to make. Easily and effortlessly.


Because if we don’t tell them what mistakes they are making, they'll never correct their mistakes. That’s right! Very right! So criticism is necessary to improve child behavior.

But have you watched your words when you criticize your kids?

You think you are improving them by finding their faults and criticizing them. But what do the kids think? How do they feel? And do they really improve by our doing this? Let’s explore criticism and see how it affects kids…!!!


‘To err is Human’.

We're all human beings...run more by emotions than logic, and therefore keep making mistakes every now and then.

Nobody wants to make a mistake. They just happen. And we never criticize ourselves for them, no matter what blunder we may commit.

But when someone else makes a mistake, we jump out of our soul to criticize him. We want to be the first to criticize that person, as if we were to win a gold medal for that.

Without going into the facts, we pass our own judgment holding that person guilty and expect him to give a written confession for what he did.

We are all alike … including kids.

Rather kids have more difficulty in handling criticism because they know nothing about dealing with criticism. They don’t understand how to handle criticism. They’ve never read an essay on criticism. You might have.

Anatomy of Criticism

In dealing with people, the most lovable things to us are our self esteem, ego and feelings. Everything else comes next.

Criticism directly attacks our self-esteem, ego and feelings, and does something what atom bombs did to Hiroshima-Nagasaki in World War-II.

We employ everything at our command to protect our shattering ego.

How do we do it?

We make a China wall around ourselves. This wall serves many purposes. It closes our mind to the attacking criticism. The mind gets into alert and offensive mode.

The words and sounds of criticism fall on our ears but our mind rejects them out rightly.

Then our mind sets up best available guns and canons on the top of this china wall, and loads them with all the available logics, facts and figures, howsoever baseless, vague, misconceived or prejudiced they might be.

Yes, the firing starts.

Whom do we fire at? Of Course, the one who attacked us, and everyone who comes in the way. We start contradicting the criticism with our full potential with all kind of justifications … mostly prejudiced.

We blame the one who criticizes us and everyone whom we can shift the blame on. To prove ourselves right, we spare no one whom we can blame.

Nobody likes self criticism. We are all alike … including kids.

Effects of Criticism

Criticism hurts and shatters our ego, poisons our emotions and enthusiasm and demoralizes us.

It is dangerous. It is lethal, which is why nobody likes it.

And the worse part is, it defeats its own purpose very much. Not only it fails to correct the child behavior, it also arouses hatred in the heart of the child against us. Ultimately, things get messed up more than before. No criticism can improve child behavior like that.

Criticism is futile!

Complain, condemn, ridicule, scold, shouting, humiliation and insult

More deadly species of criticism are ‘complaining’, ‘condemning’, ‘ridiculing’, ‘scolding’, ‘shouting, ‘humiliation’ and ‘insult’. The damage they do to the victim is many times what criticism does. We cause extreme insult and humiliation to our kids when we shout or pass ridiculous comments complaining and condemning our kids.

No one likes to be ridiculed. We are all alike … including kids.

If you scold your child he’ll certainly condemn you ... in your presence or absence. He’ll defend and justify himself, and tell himself, ‘Papa doesn’t understand me ... he is a bad man… I hate him… he knows scolding only. I’ll be happy if someone scolds him as well. I’m not going to listen to him any more.’

So if you think you can improve your kids behavior by criticizing, complaining, condemning, ridiculing or scolding …. think again.

It is foolish to scold.

Don’t criticize them

As I said earlier, nobody wants to make a mistake. They just happen. More so with kids. It is only experience which teaches us how to avoid mistakes.

Kids have life experience of only a few years. They are more likely to make mistakes. We’ve made similar or worse mistakes at their age.

These days kids are smarter. I’m sure I made more mistakes when I was my son’s age, than my son does today.

Don’t criticize them. They are just what we were in their age under similar circumstances.

Constructive criticism vs. destructive criticism

We have explored that criticism is bad. But how do we improve child behavior without criticizing the child's mistakes.

We can do that by making some changes in the words, gestures, ways and manners by which we criticize the kids.

If we can criticize the children without hurting their self esteem, ego and feeling, we can improve their behavior.

That’s Constructive criticism.

Constructive criticisms or positive criticism gets more effective if it is coupled with the art of criticism.

There are lots of ways to do that. Want to explore? Here’s how to criticise your child in a constructive manner.

Every criticism which is not a constructive criticism is a destructive criticism or negative criticism. Destructive criticism is rash, insincere and lacks generosity.

If you are criticizing you child and she’s not improving, your criticism is destroying her personality, and it’s destructive criticism.

Constructive criticism:

  •     Aims at improving the child behavior.
  •     focuses on child's behavior, not on her or his person.
  •     Is genuine, without any prejudices.
  •     Is sincere and generous.
  •     Makes the children ready for accepting criticism.
  •     Is far more helpful than a blunt criticism of the child’s faults.
  •     Helps kids identify their weaknesses and work on them.
  •     Allows the child to make decisions.
  •     Is not mere rhetorical criticism.
  •     Gives real message to the child that you truly want him to improve.

Lets see an example of how constructive criticism differs from destructive criticism:

Alex and Jack, both study in Second Grade. Both got ‘B’ grade in the mid term Maths test and ‘A’ grade in English. Lets see how their mothers respond:

Alex John
Mom: I knew you can never get anything better than ‘B’ in maths. You always make careless mistakes. You never listen to me. How many times have I told you this… and .. that Mom: Got an ‘A’ in English! That’s very good! That shows how hard did you work for English, and if you work a little harder in Maths, you could get an ‘A’ in Maths as well.
Destructive criticism Constructive criticism

Click here to learn....How to criticize so that your child doesn't get hurt.


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