Teaching Your Kids to Handle Criticism

Steve Farmer

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The first thing to let your kids know is that criticism usually does not feel good. It doesn’t matter if it comes from well meaning adults, thoughtless friends, or that mean kid in second period. It is painful. Try to help them understand that being exposed to negative judgments is the price you pay for growing.

There is no way to avoid criticism. No matter how hard you try to avoid confrontation, we all still make choices every single day. Big choices and small choices and with every one comes the opportunity for someone else to disagree with your decisions.

Since we are all going to get our own share (and sometimes it feels like more then our share) of criticism, let’s talk about how to handle this frequently painful aspect of life. Maybe we can even find ways to grow from it.

When your child is faced with criticism, help them think about the following:

Don’t take it personally. When most people offer criticism it usually is not intended to be hurtful. Usually it is just their way of letting you know that their personal preference is different than yours. Try to accept it at face value and move on.

I know this is much easier said than done. Most people don’t try to hurt you or make you feel you don’t have value as an individual. Instead they are just letting you know they have a negative opinion about what you are doing or saying. It is ok for you to let them have their opinions. Ultimately, you decide to accept their ideas or to let their words bother you.

Some people just like to be mean. Mean, angry, even hurtful remarks usually come from unhappy, or insecure people that think by criticizing you they look better. Knowing that, however, doesn’t make what they say and do any less painful. Sometimes it does help soften the pain a bit if you understand that they just need to vent their anger and frustration on someone and you are just today’s target. Tomorrow someone else will be the target.

Don’t be too defensive. Fight your own natural urge to argue with your critics. It is perfectly natural for you to want to prove that you are “right" and that they are “wrong. " Usually this only leads to more anger and frustration from both of you. It is also not a good idea to take on an attitude of “just consider the source. " Remind yourself that just because you do not trust or like the other person, it doesn’t mean that their ideas and thoughts are always useless or without merit.

Try to assume they mean well and try to learn from what they are telling you. Most people seldom give a full, accurate assessment of your actions or decisions . Instead they usually give you only the negative things they perceive. It is usually ok to assume there are plenty of positive things they could have told you, but chose not to. Also do not forget that there are some people that simply believe it is not necessary to tell you what you’ve done right. They assume either others have already told you or that you just know. So instead, they focus only on “helping" you, which, to them, means “correcting" anything and everything they think is wrong with you. Try to find some truth in what they say. Some times this is very hard but it is in there if you dig. While they may not be tactful, their remarks may even sting, or they may even be greatly exaggerated, there is often some helpful information.

Everyone is not going to like you. They are not going to agree with your goals and they are especially not going to agree with how you are going about reaching them. It is really hard not to let criticism slow you down or even stop you from trying different things. It is important for you to learn to accept that other people will sometimes be critical of you and your actions. But it is also important to learn to not let your own fear of being criticized stop you from doing what you want. Try to learn from it if you can, but don’t let it get in your way.

It is more important that you stay true to your own values and convictions.

Steve Farmer is a leader in the field of Parent Coaching. As a skilled professional coach, he brings the power of individual coaching to everyday living. Steve empowers individuals to follow their dreams, achieve more in their current careers, and maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives.

Learn more about Steve at his website =>http://www.innovations4life.com


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