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Useless, Moron, Good for nothing, dumb-head, loser, failure… these words look disturbing when read or when we hear someone uttering such heart stabbing words. But will that be the same when we try to pronounce these while falling into some unfortunate circumstances? Unfortunate would be those circumstances if our children would be on the receiving end. Why do we at time indulge in a minor reprimanding with our kids? As they say “Parents scold us for our own good”, does scolding always mean for good? Or, could criticizing our child actually make them a better person? Introspective or say the perspective judgement of this condemning behaviour towards our offspring may result in certain changes in their behavioral pattern; either in childhood or in their adulthood which gives birth to various kinds of unpleasant experiences and traumatic patterns. Treating this is what is called as “Overcoming criticism” or the psychological resilience post the critical judgement.


According to the 2012 Lancet report, India is one of the most leading countries when it comes to the suicide rate of the young adults aged 15 to 29. The helplessness in accepting failure, inadequate parental guidance, enormous peer group pressure and the colossal continuation of heightened expectations are giving birth to some unwanted deaths. Low scores in the exams, lack of attention, inability to face the tougher situations, rejection from the trusted ones… these are the very few obvious reasons which could be opined from the news we hear about some tragic incidents happening with the youth of our nation.


Why is there a conflict?

  • Critical parenting: This is the usual excuse given by any parent who denies the fact that they criticise their children. Elders’ stress, troubled relationship, the workplace tension or the societal pressure. If a child does not behave in the expected manner, some parents criticise which eventually develops into a habit.
  • Comparision: This is when a child repeatedly compares him/herself to someone who is adored by others or is the one whom his/her parents always sing praises about. Comparing to someone superior is as good as criticising.
  • Unable to recognize limitations: There’s nobody in this world that does not possess a single talent, nor seldom will you encounter somebody who is good at everything. Each individual has his own personal strengths and weakness, skills and limitations. Anticipation of excellence is very subjective as each cannot be good and one cannot be bad always. The patience in recognizing the traits and inclinations is a challenge by itself for any parent. Ex: A father is expecting his daughter to be a doctor while she is secretly nurturing her dream of becoming a dancer. A conflict between the father and the child will result in a hypothetical situation, either bad or worse.


The adverse effects of constant criticism:

  • Loss of trust on the person whom he/she thought would care.
  • Blaming or judging oneself or others usually towards the pessimistic side.
  • Self pity with an inclination over shutting themselves up from external attention.
  • Self protecting and self disclosed nature. “I am good at nothing” attitude.
  • Constant feeling of agitation, fear and anger.
  • Distrust in a relationship or fear of making any new relationships.
  • Superfluous level of depression.

According to Dr. Kenneth Barish – “When frequent criticism persists, all other efforts to improve our family relationships are likely to fail.” So ‘better late than never’ it’s certainly not too late to save our sweethearts from falling prey for this mammoth mouth of depression.


Solving the criticism management problems

  • The weekend theory: No person can continuously deliver better results if under stress. Give your child a cushion space to sort his/her things on their own unique way. Helping your son to clean up the mess initially will evoke a sense of responsibility which compels him to do things on his own, involuntarily – giving no room for criticism. ‘Work as a team, grow as a group’. Giving time to do stuff their way, gradually advising them patiently about the things in which they frequently go wrong can help them build a mountain of trust on you.
  • Listening: Responding versus reacting can make a huge difference. Instead of becoming a referee try being a courtroom judge who listens to both sides of the story. Some things which look bad or nasty for us might actually mean something else for your child. Patience and frustration never gets along. A stress-free, cared and encouraged child will demonstrate a responsible behaviour who grows up to be a happy adult, less prone to depression. Ex: A bedtime story for your toddler or a grown up talk with your teenager can ease out a good chunk of mental dilemma.
  • Not wrong to be wrong: In the poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II – the poet Alexander Pope states that – “To err is human; to forgive, divine”. Making mistakes and learning from those is the way the world works. So the next time your child makes mistakes- ‘Take a chill pill’ and let it go. At the same time teach your kids to accept the mistake done by them as these criticisms/advise are just references for them to go back someday and contemplate about what’s right and what’s ‘not-acceptable’.

patience with the child







If at all the criticisms had impacted so much, we wouldn’t have had some great stalwarts who carved a niche for themselves over the years, overcoming their biggest fear – FAILURE. Albert Einstein, Milton Hershey, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney are some of the grand warriors who triumphed over this humongous ogre called REJECTION and are role models for those who thrive to project positivism out of criticism.

Personality Development for Kids

Categories: Parenting



Writer at Edustoke and Spectrum Ms Narasimhan is a senior educational professional with over 34 years of experience in the field of Education. Having trained as an IB professional in the Middle Year Programme (International Baccalaureate) for International schools, she has varied experience working in India and abroad teaching Economics, social studies and English. She has worked as an Education Development Specialist with leading organisations like Career launcher, S. Chand Harcourt and Universal Learn Today (an India Today Initiative). She has also authored the book Reasoning Skills for young children.

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