One of the most important life lessons for kids to learn is to be open and accepting of constructive criticism. It’s something that they will get their entire lives and should know how to use it to their benefit.
It’s also a concept that a lot of people don’t understand, even as adults. Surely you have come across people who get really defensive or upset when you make a suggestion to them, knowing good and well you are coming from a good place. Sometimes there’s just no reasoning.
Unfortunately, I was 30 something when I learned this concept. I was always the one getting my feelings hurt as a child. What can I say, I’m extra sensitive, lol. It wasn’t until I started nursing school that I finally understood what constructive criticism is all about. I had a professor tell me “now we are going to be giving you feedback and correcting you on what you are doing wrong.
If you do something wrong we’re gonna let you know. It’s not anything against you, don’t take it personally. But as a nurse, you have your patient’s lives in your hands and you have to know what you are doing at all times.” And when she said that, it clicked. When people correct you when you are doing something wrong, it’s not to make you feel bad or inadequate, its to make you a better person at whatever it is you’re doing. You don’t want to just let someone keep doing something the wrong way, just to spare their feelings. That’s not helping that person at all, it’s actually hurting them in the long run.
But this can be a hard concept for children to understand. Just teach them about it early on, and keep reinforcing it as they grow. Look for “teachable moments” that you can use to help them understand.
Teach them what constructive criticism is and is not.
Kids can be cruel and say things just to be hurtful and that is not OK. Constructive criticism is not hurtful, malicious, or rude. It’s said in a way that is helpful so you can take that feedback and apply it to what you are doing. Realize it is to help you and not to hurt your feelings.
Teach them to be open-minded and accepting of feedback.
Teachers at school are there to do just that, teach. Their job is to teach students the right way of doing things and correct what is wrong; whether it is to raise your hand before talking so as not to interrupt someone else, how to work together with others, or how to do a math problem and get the right answer. Children will get a lot of constructive feedback from their teachers and a lot of other people throughout their lives. So tell them how valuable that feedback is and learn to accept it.
Teach them how to use it, not lose it.
Explain to your child that if they want to improve or get better at doing something, they should take that feedback and use it. When someone corrects them in a helpful way, that is a great opportunity for improvement!
Help your child to be the best version of themselves. Teach them the value of constructive feedback as a learning opportunity for improvement. It is something they will use the rest of their lives.