Criticism is an important part of life. It is through constructive criticism that we learn from our mistakes, determine ways to better ourselves, and help others grow. Kids will often experience constructive criticism at an early age as their parents and teachers guide and educate them. As they get older, they will be expected to be able to provide constructive criticism to their peers. Criticism can often be hard for a child to both take and give. So it is very important to teach your child how to give proper constructive criticism and learn to accept it.
What is Constructive Criticism?
Constructive criticism is feedback given to improve the quality of something by providing specific and helpful feedback to create a positive change. One of the primary ways in which constructive criticism differs from other criticism is the fact that it focuses on specific issues and ways to improve upon them.
An example of constructive feedback would be discussing a specific section of a paper that may be confusing to the audience and discuss ways in which it could be changed to be more clearly communicated. When delivering constructive criticism, it is often coupled with feedback about what is good and works in the piece before diving into areas that should be changed. This could be as simple as saying you like the overall tone of the paper before diving into areas you think need improvement.
Negative criticism would occur when someone says they simply don't like the paper without offering specific examples of where changes could be made to make it better. This type of criticism offers little value to the person being critiqued aside from disheartening them.
How to Teach Your Child About It
With constructive criticism being so vital to your child's growth and their interaction with those around them, it is important to guide your child on how to deliver constructive criticism as well as how to graciously receive it without feeling defeated.
Teach Them what Constructive Criticism Is
Explain to them that criticism is important as it allows them to learn from others and improve upon themselves. Most of the time children need something explained for them to fully understand it. By taking the time to explain something to your child, you are letting them know that you feel they are able to understand it.
Introduce Constructive Criticism Early in Their Life
While it is important to never criticize your child for trying to do things for themselves or when they are attempting to express themselves, it is important to correct them when they are wrong. If they call a giraffe an elephant, gently tell them that it is a giraffe and let them know they can tell by their long neck. It is essential for children to learn from a young age that they aren't always right and they don't always have to be.
Model Constrictive Criticism
When your children get older, ask them for their feedback and model appropriate behavior when you receive it. There is no better way to show a child how to provide constructive criticism and how it should be received than by modeling the behavior. You can ask your child to read the family Christmas letter and prompt them to provide you with specific feedback on what they think should be changed. When they give you the feedback thank them for it and tell them you think their corrections will help make it better.
Teaching your child how to give and receive criticism is not always easy. As a parent, you want to protect your child from having their feelings hurt at any time. But it is important to remember that constructive criticism is an essential part of their lives as they continue their education and grow into adults. By teaching them early you can prepare them for not only how to receive constructive criticism but also the correct way to give it.