Nobody likes being criticised but receiving feedback on how we have performed in a particular task is something that your child will encounter frequently in their life. Learning how to accept criticism well, with grace and humility, instead of getting angry and feeling attacked, is a very important life skill. Here are some ways in which feedback is useful and how to help your child deal with it:
It’s essential for their personal growth
Criticism can hurt, which is why we don’t like it – it can feel like we are being told that we are flawed. Your child’s identity is kept stable most of the time, when they are working hard they are probably (and rightly so) being praised for this – it’s when they receive feedback that this balance is disrupted. By suggesting that there are things to improve, it reaffirms that they are not perfect and even though they may know this it can still hurt the ego and make them feel inadequate. But this feeling of inadequacy, though unbearable as it may seem, can be seen as a positive as it is when your child’s growth and personal development happens. When your child feels inadequate in their ability they have two options: they can either become angry and risk hearing the same feedback or learn from it and improve themselves. Accepting the importance of feedback to their growth will make it a little easier for your child to swallow.
Remind them it’s not personal
The cut of criticism can sting less when we acknowledge that it’s not personal. Remind your child that feedback or constructive criticism is not an attack on their character or person. They, as an individual, are not being judged so they should detach their feedback from themselves and instead remember that it is about their work – which is what is being assessed. This means that it was their performance that was a little flawed, not that they are a failure, this distinction may seem obvious to you but sometimes your child may need the reassurance.
You should also let your child know that they shouldn’t take it personally from the person giving them the advice – they are not giving the feedback as their friend but rather as their teacher, boss etc. The criticism is not their personal opinion of your child but their professional assessment of your performance.
They can ask for clarity
Sometimes we may receive feedback that we may not necessarily agree with or believe is fair. If this is the case for your child they should speak to the person who has given the feedback and discuss why they have assessed you in a particular way or ask for further clarification, it’s important they do not approach them aggressively. Hearing out their justification gives the person who has provided feedback the opportunity to explain how you can improve which will help your child out in future assessments.
This is sponsored post by Performance Learning, pioneering behaviour change in schools.