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"Criticism is a hard pill to swallow..."

 Thursday, January 19, 2012

“You may not want to hear it...but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you....and want to make you better..."

Everyone has had to deal with it at one point or another, most on a daily basis....whether it's how you perform your job at work... how you raise your children...how clean you keep your house...how you speak...how you treat people...how health concious you are. Regardless of what the situation is...we all have to deal with criticism...As humans, we tend to get our feelings hurt when this happens..because let's face it....nobody likes to be told they are doing something wrong or there is room for improvement. Some handle this better than others...while others just don't deal with it at all...At the end of the day, most of us teach ourselves to"Put our big girl panties on and deal with it"...we apply the newfound information to our life..and choose to improve ourself.... but I have recently come across something that I am having difficulty with....How do you teach a 10 year old how to deal with criticism??

Khristian by nature is a sensative child...he get's his feelings hurt easily...but also by the same standard, he is very stubborn...like most children he thinks his way is best and he knows way more than Travis and I could ever teach him. There are times when Travis and I just have to lay things out boldly for him to understand the point that we are tying to get across to him... This often times leads to hurt feeling and him sulking off into his bedroom thinking that it us against him....It is hard to get across to him that we are not telling him these things to hurt him...we tell him these things to help him improve himself...Travis is by far harder of him that I am...especially in sports and things of that nature...I am harder on him when it comes to what he is capable of in school and what is asked of him in the house such as chores...

A episode one morning last week resulted in a very long conversation between Travis, Khristian, and I...Khristian knows that when he wakes up in the morning he is to get dressed for school, clean his room, make his bed, straighten up his bathroom, and brush his hair before he can turn on the TV or play his X-box 360...also, if Travis has placed some clothes of his in his room to fold (Yes, we make him fold and put up his own clothes because we feel that it teaches him responsibility) he has to make sure those are folded/hung before the TV comes on...All of this can be done within 25 minutes and he still has 30-40 minutes of free time before we leave the house...on this particular morning he ran through all of his chores barely..the clothes basket that was full of his "clean" clothes was laying on his floor now mixed with clean and dirty clothes in it and stuffed in his closet...his bed was half made..his bathroom still had dirty clothes laying in the floor..and there he was... sitting on the couch eating his sausage biscuit..watching TV...

There had been several other instances that also lead to the talk we had with him but this was the one that broke the camel's back...The talk started out like most we have had consisting of "You have to do your chores" and "You can't half do things"..."You have to start being more responsible" and blah blah blah...you all know the talk...we got them from our parents and in return we have them with our kids...well, this particular talk started to take a different turn very quickly... Khristian made the statement "I can't be who you want me to be" ... Now for those that do not know Khristian very well..he tends to be a little on the dramatic side... so my first thought was "Did my 10 year old really just say that?" .. I had to take a step back for a second and think about that one....When I finally found my voice I simply said "Khristian, that is a cop-out..." ... I explained to him that its simply not about who I want him to be...its what he is choosing to be...It is mine and his daddy's job to push him, correct him, and make sure that he lives up to what we know he is capable of...and when we correct him and give him criticism...its not because its us against him...it's us, his parents..working with him to help him...and instead of him getting his feelings hurt when we give him positive criticism he needs to take a step back...think about what we are telling him....and apply it...

Oddly enough, through out this whole entire conversation with him...the one thing that finally got through to him was this... I told him that his daddy would never lie to him...I was using this as more of a example than anything but its what finally turned the light bulb on for him...Travis is very hard on Khrisitan in sports...He does not sugar coat it for him in the least little bit..he basically tells it like it is...if Khristian does something good, Travis tells him...if he does something bad, Travis tells him...if Khristian is out there on the football field and he misses a block which results in the other team getting a first down or even a touchdown...Travis rips into him....if he recovers a fumble...Travis will be the first on the field to pick him up for a hug and tell him great job....and here is why...If he is constantly telling Khristian how good he is and never corrects him and what he is doing wrong or what he can improve on...then he is cripling Khristian in the long run...he is not helping him become the athlete or the man that Travis knows he can become...so when I put it in those terms to Khristian...and told him "Your daddy will never lie to you..he will never tell you what you want to hear...instead, he is going to tell you what you need to hear because he knows that you can be the best" ... It clicked with him...and he finally understood what it meant to take criticism...and why we do it... In Khristians words he said "So thats why Coach Saban yells at his players alot...because he knows they are capable of doing better!" ..my son is definatly sports minded..

On a closing note, I think we as adults (myself included) need to remind ourselves of this same lesson...criticism is a hard pill to swallow sometimes...but in the long run, it only allows us as humans to become better employees..mothers...wives...family members...friends...and overall better as a whole... =)

1 comments:

Jen January 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM  

I am so glad you made this post. This is something I am struggling to teach Matthias. I am constantly having to stop him (when he gets in trouble) and ask what HIS responsibility was in the matter. Or why he didn't pick up his toys when he was told to do so because they are his responsibility. He is also very sensitive (and spoiled!) so when he's told no, he resorts to whining. I realize that this is a phase, but it often makes me wonder about my parenting. Although, Khristian is older than Matthias--I think teaching responsibility and TAKING responsibility should start at a young age. We've managed to start a color system that seems to cut down on the whining and tantrums. I've also had to explain to Matthias that I'm not criticizing him or making him do chores to be mean--I'm actually trying to help him. It was some time ago when I would take criticism very personally and would be very upset at every slight. Then it finally occurred to me, someone was only pointing out that I wasn't doing my best. You're right, it's a hard pill to swallow--but once you let go of Ego (and we know kids are FULL of Ego) criticism can become a driving force.

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