Has anyone ever given you a bit of negative criticism? I know I’ve had some people sling some downright cruel judgement my way. It stings doesn’t it!? And it’s so unnecessary.
My mother always told me if I can’t say anything nice, then I shouldn’t say anything at all.
That bit of advice has served me well over the years and it can work for you, too… Especially when your child might need a little critiquing.
This is a great way to exercise your growth mindset muscle and show your kiddos that you be kind, confident AND classy when it comes to criticism.
Constructive vs. Negative Criticism
Constructive criticism is critical for children of all ages. But criticism dealt out the wrong way can damage kids for life!
While negative feedback is difficult for everyone, it can be particularly harmful for younger children. We need to be careful in choosing our words so that we don’t do more harm than good with our words.
So how do we tell the difference between good and bad criticism?
Think back to a time when you received criticism.
- What was the thing that stood out to you?
- How did you feel?
- I’m going to suggest that if you received the words from someone kind, they were probably delivered in a way that made you feel empowered. That’s constructive!
- If they were filled with hate or meanness…then it was most likely negative feedback.
There is zero room for that type of criticism when we’re rocking growth mindset for our kids. We ain’t got no time for haters here!
Here are some ways to identify the Constructive vs. Hater mentality.
Constructive criticism has logic and structure. It’s based on facts! It’s based on actions! Haters attack the person and talk impulsively.
Constructive feedback builds someone up…haters break them down!
Constructive criticism attempts to educate…haters gonna embarrass.
Constructive feedback works in positives…haters ain’t nothin’ but negative!
Can you see the difference?
The biggest distinction between negative and positive criticism is caring. We all need constructive assessments of our behavior from time to time, and doling it out with kindness, and from a place of improvement through learning, goes a long way to making it easier to receive and implement.
The Sandwich Concept
Think about your very favourite sandwich filling. What do your kids like best? Maybe it’s peanut butter with honey! It could be turkey on rye or grilled cheese. Or how about onions, olives and mayo!? Ewwww!
The combinations are endless but the one thing they all have in common is our favourite filling mashed between two pieces of bread.
Next time you’re dishing out the constructive feedback, think of it like your favourite sandwich.
Good statement –> Area to improve –> Good statement.
‘Hey Charlie! I just love it when you include your little sister. Next time when you play outside would you mind pushing her a bit more gently on the swing? It’s so wonderful when you keep her safe and play so nicely.’
See what I did there?
Instead of yelling at Charlie for roughhousing, I sandwiched my criticism with kindness!
I can guarantee you’ll have more success through using this type of tool in your constructive…and always kind…feedback toolbox.
Sandwich the criticism. It’s your PB & J (Americans) / Vegemite (Aussies) sandwich, Baby!
Lead by Example
I realise I’m preaching to the choir here. We know that as parents, our little monkeys are going to suck in everything we do and spit out identical actions like the little mini versions of us they are!
Have you ever heard children talking to one another on a playground? Or playing ‘house’?
You can get a pretty spot-on idea of how the adults in their lives treat them and speak to them by doing a bit of eavesdropping on their play. Or listening to how they respond when criticised.
Every phrase or inflection that is spoken to a child can be repeated at any given moment.
This is why it’s important to watch our tongues and choose our words wisely. It’s always easy to spot whose parents have the potty mouths and whose are encouraging their little ones! ?
Learn the Right Way to Give Feedback
Xo Lisa oX
- Learn the right way to give feedback to your kids – read the full post
- Watch the video to find out the best ways to give feedback to your kids