When parents remain mostly positive with children, they are ready to receive feedback. Kids who are ready to hear criticism when necessary, are more likely to learn and adjust behaviors, rather than shutting down in the face of a hard conversation. You can use these “kid-friendly criticism” tips:
Avoid non-teachable moments: Your child may not be ready to hear feedback after missing a goal or striking out. Choose your time for criticism wisely by staying in tune with your child's emotions.
Criticize in private: Avoid embarrassing your children by giving feedback in front of others, especially their peers.
Ask permission: Instead of assuming your children want to hear your feedback on their behavior or play, ask them first. If they agree to hear you out, that is clue that you’re more likely to get the desired response.
If-then statements: Lead your child to understand how a change in behavior could have a positive outcome. ("If you do this then that is likely to happen.")
Criticism sandwich: Keep your child emotionally ready for feedback by giving truthful and specific positives before and after any criticism. This tool works especially well when combined with if-then statements.
For more details on these “kid-friendly criticism” techniques, download the book excerpt below.
These books are used in PCA’s live workshops. To learn more about our interactive parent workshops, click here.