How to Use Constructive Criticism to Educate Your Kids


Constructive criticism is criticism without judgment that is expressed in a friendly manner, and is valued to be reasonable, logical and effective. Constructive criticism is very important because it improves the result of the individuals work. It is equally important for you to be constructive in the criticism of your children. Some children are very sensitive to abusive words, some may react in a negative manner. Therefore, parents should be very cautious in dealing with their children when trying to correct their mistakes; correct them using constructive criticism. It is important because your criticism and your behaviour will greatly influence the life of your child.

Children are bound to make mistakes as they progress through life. As a parent, it is your responsibility to correct these errors before they get out of hand, it is also important to take the right approach to correct your child’s mistake or else you will risk harming his self-esteem and causing problems in your relationship with the child. Giving this criticism to your child is not an option but an obligation and duty of the parents to guide children properly.

Here are nine steps to give constructive criticism to your child in order to improve his or her self esteem and make them better individuals;

Watch your Tone: In no situation should you talk to your child when you are upset, because trying to correct them while you are upset might be the number one factor for raising your tone. Approach your child when you are calm and clear headed. It’s difficult enough to receive criticism because no one really wants to hear about their mistakes. So it’s important that you use a loving tone when correcting your child’s errors. If you sense that you are aggravated, but feel you need to address an issue immediately, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself before approaching the child. If the matter is not pressing, give yourself as much time as you need, even go for a walk before correcting your child’s behavior.

Point out the problem by using descriptive statement instead of judgmental language: There is no point in shouting abuses at your kids for their mistakes; you will only worsen the situation. Using language with judgment such as “how stupid you are”, or “you are behaving like a mad person”, won’t help the situation. The solution is to recognize your kids’ previous efforts and achievements first and then explain to them about their problems in an objective manner. For instance, if you are disappointed with your boy’s test result in math or English, try not to express your sadness. You can simply say, “don’t worry my boy, you can do better when you practice harder”, or “I think you will achieve a better result next time”. You can also offer to help him/her by saying, “If you have any problems in your learning, I can talk to your teacher”, or “I will help you with it myself”. When you approach them this way they will have a sense of remorse and you can conclude by saying, “I hope to see you having some improvement in the next test”.

Solicit Your Child’s Point of View: You might think your perspective of your child’s actions is the most accurate, but that might not be so. When people offer feedback, they assume their opinions are more valid than others. It is best to try to see life from your child’s perspective before offering an unjust criticism. For example, if your child is playing a football or any game and he is fond of repeatedly passing the ball to his teammates instead of taking shots himself, ask him why he is making these choices instead of criticizing his unwillingness to take shots himself. You might also assume he’s afraid to shoot the ball, but when you talk to him you might find out that he is following his coach’s instructions, or using this technique of passing the ball as way to build a relationship and a mutual trust and respect with his teammates.

Figure out the Root of the Problem before Criticizing: It is important to figure out the root of the problem and it is your duty to do so. It would be easier for you to explain to your child what has gone wrong. Think twice or as many times as you need before you express your dissatisfaction or anger. Your boy’s poor test result might be that he has some problems in the class or maybe he is always nervous during the test. Make it a duty to always dig deep to find out the root cause of a problem and come up with corresponding solutions. Good problem solving skills are what all parents have to master.

Control your Anger: Don’t let your anger take the upper hand, always remember that you are dealing with a child, not an adult. Remember also that, children have feelings too. No one likes hearing criticism in a hostile manner. Next time when you lose your temper, try not to talk to your child. Take time, calm down, even if it takes hours, only approach your kids when you become even tempered. You must have a controlled, loving tone when talking to your children.

Tell them the Consequences of their Mistakes: Always criticize for the wrongdoing, but not your child. When you are delivering your criticism, make sure your kids understand that what distresses you is their behavior but not themselves. For example if your children get hooked to television programs like cartoons , tell them that you are worried because watching too much television may lead to troubled eyesight. Explain to them that you wouldn’t like them to be wearing glasses, guide them to get involved in different activities that will keep their mind activated and off TV programs.

Be clear about your Criticism: Before you start criticizing your beloved small ones, make sure you know what to deliver. If you hesitate, your children may misinterpret the message. Your aim is to educate your child not embarrass or punish them. Think before you deliver.

Give them an Opportunity to correct themselves: Be it failing in school or misbehaving, the ultimate goal of constructive criticism is to prompt your children to realize their mistakes and make corresponding corrections. In this way, your kids will learn to take responsibilities for their own actions in the future. Raising kids is not an easy task. Through constructive criticism you can shape a better and more successful future for your children.

Be Ready to Teach: Parents should be ready to teach their children appropriate behaviours and actions when offering constructive criticism. Criticism should be aimed at the behavior or actions, not the child, and parents should have their children’s undivided attention when teaching appropriate behavior. If your child is fond of leaving his plate behind after eating, teach him and make him understand that it is a bad habit to leave your plate behind after eating as opposed to yelling at him or assuming he is lazy.


By: Mercy Kukah


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