6 Tips to criticize children without hurting their feelings.

6 Tips to criticize children without hurting their feelings.

Marc is 7 years old.  He likes to play, watch TV and eat at McDonald’s.  His room is a mess; mother criticize him to keep it clean all the time.  His father rebuke him for his studies.  He is happy with his life, but criticism hurts.

Recently when everyone was talking about his grades at school,  he was feeling lonely. He consider himself worthless, because he doesn’t gets an A+ in mathematics. He feels as if nobody loves him because he is a bad boy.  Marc doesn’t eat properly so he is lean, but who cares.

Marc is a typical boy, who endures too much criticism for his little mind. He doesn’t understand much as to  why his parents criticize him. He understands only that he is a bad boy.

Children have delicate heart,  parents criticism hurt their feeling without yielding intended results, such as in the case of Marc.


But we can make our criticism constructive when we assimilate these tips to criticize children. It will yield desired results without burdening our little darlings.

6 tips to criticize children without hurting their feelings
Photo by storyvillegirl

Focus on a child’s effort, not the outcome

With increasing competition of life, we are becoming goal oriented.  No desirous results,  means no value of efforts; a hard reality of adult world.

As parents we get afraid of children’s career; our focus shifts from efforts to outcome. Children need appreciation for their efforts,  encouragement helps them to stay motivated for development, but when we focus only on outcome, criticizing kids for not achieving results, they feel desolate. It hurts their self esteem.  Kids may even question us if we cannot see their efforts.

Children's world is different. We should not make their playground the battle ground of our aspirations. Click To Tweet

Children’s world is different. We should not make their playground,  the battle ground of our aspirations. It is not wise to throw them in competitive world without preparation.  Let them commit mistakes and than learn from it. If they don’t commit mistake,  how will they learn to correct them, when they will confront real world problems.

Being parent,  it is our responsibility to show them the right path, encourage our children  &nbsp, when they get disappointed,&nbsp. But, when we discourage children by criticizing for not achieving good grades in school and extra curriculum, it hurts their feelings.

Instead of focusing on their personal trait, focus on how much efforts they put to tap their potential.  If a child has ordinary intellect,  endless criticism cannot make him next Einstein. But to achieve success in life,  we need ordinary intellect rest depends on our hard work.  When we bring this discussion to table,  it exonerate our kids from undue pressure of failure. They will be motivated to work hard, as they learn the art of self assurance.

Teach them the art of self evaluation

But what if we criticize children for lack of efforts, not for the outcome, but for their carelessness or laziness.

when giving constructive feedback, we should remember that we are the best evaluator of our performance. We should advocate the path of self evaluation to children.

Before offering any feedback,  ask them for their learnings from the situation.  If they are satisfied with their performance? How could they have performed better?  With such constructive questions motivate them for self evaluation. Self evaluation brings willingness to change, because when children reach to a conclusion themselves, they will take it in positive spirit. When kids evaluate themselves. they will offer solutions,  we wanted to hear,  And If they miss something,  we can always include it in our constructive feedback.

When parents criticize children, it is an external evaluation, which may be judged as personal attack — Our benevolent intentions are lost in the darkness of our child’s self doubt. Criticism by parents works as external force, which may yield results,  but the cost is resentment.

Ask children feedback on their negative behavior.

Before we criticize children for any negative behavior, scrutinize why do kids behave negatively? Ask them, how do they feel getting angry with parents,  reacting aggressively?

#PersonalDevelopment: Before criticizing for any negative behavior, scrutinize why do kids behave negatively? Click To Tweet

Children feel bad, they are unhappy for their negative behavior. But what makes them defensive and aggressive is negativity bias, which is the tendency to give priority to negativity when analyzing information.  They will improve behavior, only when we prevent their defensiveness. Kids get defensive to hide the feeling of wrongdoing: It is difficult for a child to accept openly that he is wrong.

Instead of criticizing children, if we make kids realize their feelings on misbehavior, their discomfort on negativity; they will be open to admit their mistake without getting defensive. Once they admit by heart that they committed mistake,  it opens the path for correction and improvement.

Tell them how do we feel as parents

When children misbehave,  it hurts us.  Even though our bitter words express anger, we want their good at heart.  But children pay attention to words,  they fail  to interpret our hidden concerns. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about our feelings; in fact, children have inherent desire to please their parents.

Kids know when they have committed mistake and they get defensive to avoid  punishment,  but deep inside they know they have made a mistake. When we express our feelings openly,  it forces them to take corrective action to please parents.


Instead of expressing unhappiness in bitter words, criticizing children, if we tell kids how it hurts parents when children commit mistakes, it will constructively impact them than any criticism.  On face, they may show reluctance,  but we can notice change in their behavior.

Rephrase criticism in child’s language.

The best way to make a man understand is to talk in his own language. When we talk to children we should bring simplicity in our discussion, because kids don’t grasp many problems at once, they feel daunted. A children’s mind is simple, so they want simplicity in their world. Our morale driven lectures fail,  when we don’t rephrase sentences that our kids understand. We should focus on only one thing at a time to make the matter simple and comprehensible.

#PersonalDevelopment: The best way to make a child understand is to talk in his own language. Click To Tweet

Children cannot come up to adult maturity level, they don’t  judge actions in the same light as adults. Kids take criticism verbatim, when we say, “they are bad” ,  they take it as, “they are bad”.  Be aware that kids take criticism personally and we should be gentle in words in offering criticism.  Rephrasing criticism constructively with positive words will help.

Don’t withdraw love as a punishment.

We all commit mistakes. We are human and humans are bound to commit mistakes. Children learn hundred of new things daily,  mistakes are obvious. But how correct is it to withdraw love as a punishment?

Withdrawal of love make kids lonely,  which is a dangerous state for a growing mind.
When kids are devoid of love,  it severely injures their self esteem and self worth.  Resentment escalate in heart,  because they are not some product with an achievement tag as price.  people are good, only when they achieve their goals may be correct in sales, but don’t bring this concept in family.

Trust kids abilities. Trust in children develop their confidence and positive self esteem; they don’t seek outside approval to decide their self worth. Only in this conductive atmosphere, we can expect children to take criticism positively and act on it.

#PersonalDevelopment: When love is conditional, it looses the warmth that builds lasting relationships. Click To Tweet

When love is conditional,  it looses the warmth that builds lasting relationships. Everyone deserves unconditional love; don’t refrain kids from the love they deserve.  We advocate corrective action, but not at the cost of love. Whether they perform good or bad in exams, sports or household task, they should be special to their parents.


In conclusion, we observe that kids will see our criticism in positive light, if we focus on their efforts, try to know why do they behave negatively, give them unconditional love without regards to their success or failure. When they commit mistake show them the right path with explanation of consequences and our feelings on their reluctance. Criticizing children to bring them on the right track is essential for parenting,  but rephrasing criticism with positive words is equally important.

When the delivery is correct, criticism will not only yield the intended results, but will make children responsible as we want.

With changing generations, methods of up bringing is changing a well. The competition needs us to take child development more seriously. When we criticize children constructively, we prepare them for tomorrow without hurting their feelings.

6 Tips to criticize children without hurting their feelings.
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