It’s incredibly difficult to realize that you are a critical parent. I mean, every parent has a certain amount of criticism that they dole out to their kids on a regular basis, but there is a line you can cross and I’ve done it pretty regularly.
I come from a long line of critiquers personally. My Dad’s side of the family excels at it, almost competitively. Nobody is outside the lines of criticism that can come from my uncles or cousins when we get together as a group. And while the majority of it comes from the male side of the family, no one is immune. It’s strange to say, but we do this because we care about each other, we love each other and just have a terrible way of expressing it. Once you come to this realization it’s not too bad, but before you do it can be difficult to come to grips with.
I feel like this influenced me personally in what might actually be some positive ways. After all, I’ve been critiquing music for almost ten years now, and anyone that knows me well knows I have strong opinions about things that I feel educated about.
And so, when I became a parent, it didn’t take very long for me to begin to lob criticisms at my children. Of course I don’t mean to say that I told them they were fat, or ugly or bad at something they needed encouragement with. Instead most of my criticisms were veiled attempts to get them to improve themselves. Or at least that is what I tell myself.
But of course, that impressionable young mind can also take those thinly veiled critiques and turn them over in his head enough to where he decides that he, in fact IS whatever label you might have accidentally pasted onto him.
So I throw all of that out there to be honest and to just say that we can all improve and I am trying to do that myself right now.
I want to be more encouraging to my kids. I’m trying to be less critical of my kids because even though I’m not trying to be mean and I love them with all my heart, it’s not worth it if I’m misunderstood.
So today, do what I’m trying to do more. Tell your kids they are good enough, tell them they matter and tell them why. Tell them to try and do whatever they want to do and encourage their unique qualities whenever you get the chance.