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How To Give Constructive Criticism To Educate Your Kids

How To Give Constructive Criticism To Educate Your Kids

Parenting 5.0 – how to conduct constructive criticism to educate your children. This, in my personal opinion, is extremely crucial in building and shaping your children’s future. It is important because your criticism and your behaviour will greatly influence the life of your children.

Children hardly forget things, words and people. Often, many children, between the age four to six, tend to be sensitive towards everything happening around them. For example, my son, who is four years old, is quite sensitive. If we scold him, he reacts in a negative manner. We have to be very cautious in dealing with him in order to correct his mistakes, and we correct him through constructive criticism.

What is constructive criticism?

Constructive criticism is criticism without judgement that is expressed in a friendly manner, and is valued to be reasonable, logical and effective. These opinions are based on an individual’s work and have the blending of both positive and negative observations. The main purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the result of the individual’s work. For example, when you cook a meal for the first time, you ask your partner for their opinions. Instead of simply hearing, “This tastes so heavenly”, you would rather prefer constructive criticism like “Just add a little bit of salt and bake it for another 10 minutes, I think it’ll taste better”. As much as this is applicable to you, it is equally important to apply this to educate your children.

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How to provide constructive criticism to your children?

When we see our kids doing something wrong or dangerous, we often scold them straight away. But please remember that raising voices, calling them names, or even threatening them are not the ideal ways to bring up your kids. Blaming your children may instantly vent your anger and frustration, but this will hamper your relationship with them in the long-term. For example, if your kids refuse to listen to you and do something opposing, instead of yelling at them and calling them ‘stupid’, you can simply say, “I don’t like what you are doing because it may hurt you. Kindly stop doing it because I love you.”

Does this kind of constructive criticism help? Yes, it does. It highlights what is right and what is wrong in a positive manner, and it should be like the hamburger below formed by compliment and criticism.

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    Here are 6 ways in which you can educate your kid with constructive criticism:

    1. Point out the problem by using descriptive statement instead of language with judgement

    As I have previously mentioned, there is no point in scolding your kids for their mistakes. It will only worsen the situation. Using language with judgement, such as ‘how stupid you are’, or ‘you are behaving like a maniac’ won’t help either. The best solution is to recognize your kids’ previous effort and achievement 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 Mathematics, instead of scolding him, tell him “I understand you are good at other subjects, but not Maths. Don’t worry, just practice harder. I think you will achieve a better result next time. If you have any problems in your learning, I can talk to your teacher or I’ll help you with it. I hope to see you having some improvement in the next test.”

    2. Figure out the root of the problem before criticising

    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 constructive criticism is always more useful than emotional outburst. Let’s continue with your boy’s Maths problem. Maybe he has some problems in the class. Maybe he’s nervous during the test. Just dig deep to find out the root cause and come up with corresponding solutions. Good problem-solving skills are what all parents have to master.

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    3. Control your anger

    Don’t let your anger take the upper hand. You are dealing with a child, not an adult. Remember, children have feelings too. No one likes hearing criticism in an a hostile manner. Next time before 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.

    4. Tell your children about the consequences of their mistakes

    Another important point is to only criticise about the wrongdoing, but not your child. When you are delivering your criticism, make sure your kids understand that what distresses you is their behaviour but not themselves. For example, if your children get hooked to television or tablet, tell them that you are worried because watching too much may lead to troubled eyesights. 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.

    5. 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 to embarrass or punish them. Think before you deliver.

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    6. Give your children 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 of 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 of your children.

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    Sumaiya Kabir

    Sumaiya is a passionate writer who shares thoughts and ideas to help people improve themselves.

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    Published on February 11, 2021

    3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

    3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

    I’m old enough to remember how the cane at school was used for punishment. My dad is old enough to think that banning corporal punishment in schools resulted in today’s poorly disciplined youth. With all of this as my early experiences, there was a time when I would have been better assigned to write about how to negatively discipline your child.

    What changed? Thankfully, my wife showed me different approaches for discipline that were very positive. Plus, I was open to learning.

    What has not changed is that kids are full of problems with impulses and emotions that flip from sad to happy, then angry in a moment. Though we’re not that different as adults with stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and stimulants such as sugar and caffeine in our diets.

    Punishment as Discipline?

    What this means is that we usually take the easy path when a child misbehaves and punish them. Punishment may solve an isolated problem, but it’s not really teaching the kids anything useful in the long term.

    Probably it’s time for me to be clear about what I mean by punishment and discipline as these terms are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different.

    Discipline VS. Punishment

    Punishment is where we inflict pain or suffering on our child as a penalty. Discipline means to teach. They’re quite the opposite, but you’ll notice that teachers, parents, and coaches often confuse the two words.

    So, as parents, we have to have clear goals to teach our kids. It’s a long-term plan—using strategies that will have the longest-lasting impact on our kids are the best use of our time and energy.

    If you’re clear about what you want to achieve, then it becomes easier to find the best strategy. The better we are at responding when our kids misbehave or do not follow our guidance, the better the results are going to be.

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    3 Positive Discipline Strategies for Your Child

    Stay with me as I appreciate that a lot of people who read these blogs do not always have children with impulse control. We’ve had a lot of kids in our martial arts classes that were the complete opposite. They had concentration issues, hyperactive, and disruptive to the other children.

    The easy solution is to punish their parents by removing the kids from the class or punish the child with penalties such as time outs and burpees. Yes, it was tempting to do all of this, but one of our club values is that we pull you up rather than push you down.

    This means it’s a long-term gain to build trust and confidence, which is destroyed by constant punishments.

    Here are the discipline strategies we used to build trust and confidence with these hyperactive kids.

    1. Patience

    The first positive discipline strategy is to simply be patient. The more patient you are, the more likely you are to get results. Remember I said that we need to build trust and connection. You’ll get further with this goal using patience.

    As a coach, sometimes I was not the best person for this role, but we had other coaches in the club that could step in here. As a parent, you may not have this luxury, so it’s really important to recognize any improvements that you see and celebrate them.

    2. Redirection

    The second strategy we use is redirection. It’s important with a redirection to take “no” out of the equation. Choices are a great alternative.

    Imagine a scenario where you’re in a restaurant and your kid is wailing. The hard part here is getting your child to stop screaming long enough for you to build a connection. Most parents have calming strategies and if you practice them with your child, they are more likely to be effective.

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    In the first moment of calm, you can say “Your choice to scream and cry in public is not a good one. It would be best to say, Dad. What can I do to get ice-cream?” You can replace this with an appropriate option.

    The challenge with being calm and redirecting is that we need to be clear-minded, focused, and really engaged at the moment. If you’re on your phone, talking with friends or family, thinking about work or the bills, you’ll miss this opportunity to discipline in a way that has long-term benefits.

    3. Repair and Ground Rules

    The third positive discipline strategy is to repair and use ground rules. Once you’ve given the better option and it has been taken, you have a chance to repair this behavior to lessen its occurrence to better yet, prevent it from happening again. And by setting appropriate ground rules, you can make this a long-term win by helping your child improve their behavior.

    It’s these ground rules that help you correct the poor choices of your child and direct the behavior that you want to see.

    Consequences Versus Ultimatums

    When I was a child and being punished. My parents worked in a busy business for long hours, so their default was to go to ultimatums. “Do that again and you’re grounded for a week,” or “If I catch you doing X, you’ll go to bed without dinner”.

    Looking back, this worked to a point. But the flip side is that I remembered more of the ultimatums than the happier times. I’ve learned through trial and error with my own kids that consequences are more effective while not breaking down trust.

    What to Do When Ground Rules Get Broken?

    It’s on the consequences that you use when the ground rules are broken.

    In the martial arts class, when the hyperactive student breaks the ground rules. They would miss a turn in a game or go to the back of the line in a queue. We do not want to shame the child by isolating them. But on the flip side, there should be clear ground rules and proportionate consequences.

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    Yes, there are times when we would like to exclude the student from the class, the club, and even the universe. Again, it’s here that patience is so important and probably impulse control too. With an attainable consequence, you can maintain trust and you’re more likely to get the long-term behavior that you’re looking to achieve.

    Interestingly, we would occasionally hear a strategy from parents that little Kevin has been misbehaving at home with his sister or something similar. He likes martial arts training, so the parent would react by removing Kevin from the martial arts class as a punishment.

    We would suggest that this would remove Kevin from an environment where he is behaving positively. Removing him from this is likely to be detrimental to the change you would like to see. He may even feel shame when he returns to the class and loses all the progress he’s made.

    Alternatives to Punishment

    Another option is to tell Kevin to write a letter to his sister, apologizing for his behavior, and explaining how he is going to behave in the future.

    If your child is too young to write, give the apology face to face. For the apology to feel sincere, there is some value to pre-framing or practicing this between yourself and your child before they give it to the intended person.

    Don’t expect them to know the ground rules or what you’re thinking! It will be clearer to your child and better received with some practice. You can practice along the lines of: “X is the behavior I did, Y is what I should have done, and Z is my promise to you for how I’m going to act in the future.” You can replace XYZ with the appropriate actions.

    It does not need to be a letter or in person, it can even be a video. But there has to be an intention to repair the broken ground rule. If you try these strategies, that is become fully engaged with them and you’re still getting nowhere.

    But what to do if these strategies do not work? Then there is plenty to gain by seeking the help of an expert. Chances are that something is interfering or limiting their development.

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    This does not mean that your child has a neurological deficiency, although this may be the root cause. But it means that you can get an objective view and help on how to create the changes that you would like to see. Remember that using positive discipline strategies is better than mere punishment.

    There are groups that you can chat with for help. Family Lives UK has the aim of ensuring that all parents have somewhere to turn before they reached a crisis point. The NSPCC also provides a useful guide to positive parenting that you can download.[1]

    Bottom Line

    So, there your go, the three takeaways on strategies you can use for positively disciplining your child. The first one is about you! Be patient, be present, and think about what is best for the long term. AKA, avoid ultimatums and punishment. The second is to use a redirect, then repair and repeat (ground rules) as your 3-step method of discipline.

    Using these positive discipline strategies require you to be fully engaged with your child. Again, being impulsive breaks trust and you lose some of the gains you’ve both worked hard to achieve.

    Lastly, consequences are better than punishment. Plus, avoid shaming, especially in public at all costs.

    I hope this blog has been useful, and remember that you should be more focused on repairing bad behavior because being proactive and encouraging good behavior with rewards, fun, and positive emotions takes less effort than repairing the bad.

    More Tips on How To Discipline Your Child

    Featured photo credit: Leo Rivas via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] NSPCC Learning: Positive parenting

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