How to deal with criticism within your family?
- Jennifer Baxt, LMHC,LMFT, NCC, DCC
It can easily be forgotten that a family is supposed to work together and provide support to all of its members. It is with that support and caring atmosphere that can help the children to grow up healthy and prepared for life. A family whose bonds are weak, however, will lack in support and the children can grow up with an unhealthy idea of how to make friends, of how to be confident in their selves and be relatively unprepared for the life they will have to live on their own. Children who grow up in homes where their parents are overly critical and hard on the children can often damage the individuals self image and lower their level of confidence.
There are many parents out there who believe that being critical of their kid is the way to inspire them to try harder the next time; unfortunately, this is not the usual outcome of children who receive a lot of criticism on their marks, their talents or their difficulties. There might be a selective few who will take the criticism in stride and work to better their selves, but the majority of children will react in a negative way. They start to have doubts in their abilities, they feel they are too stupid to achieve the decent marks in school and just feel that they cant do anything right. This is not how a child should feel. A child should feel that their parents are there to help and support them when they need it. A child, especially a younger one, is very impressionable and they depend on their parents to teach them how to go about things in life, such as asking for help when something is not understood. One spouse being overly critical of the other is also extremely unhealthy. It has about the same impact on the other person as it does on the children; the result of the heavy criticism is only to bring the other person down and make them feel incompetent.
Whether the family is only two married people or the marriage includes children, the criticism should not be necessary. Being supportive and helpful will often yield more positive results that will only make everyone happy in the end. If a child just cant seem to understand that math, or they cant seem to hit those notes, the parent should be encouraging the child to keep working on it and seek the help that they need. Each spouse in a relationship should also be supportive and helpful, because heavy criticism will only threaten to break down the person on the receiving end or permanently damage the relationship to the point where it just no longer exists. Criticism usually brings negative results and emotions including poor performance than before, low confidence and resentfulness toward the person who is dealing out the criticism.
A family therapist or counselor can help to change this kind of behavior, whether it is intentional or not, and teach the family to be more supportive instead. This can easily be done through online therapy, which is far more convenient because the family doesnt have to take time out of their day to try and get down to the office; instead, the family can have online sessions with the online family therapist from the comfort of their own home.