Fault-finding or constant criticism can be damaging to your child’s emotional well-being. Here are some ways to avoid being a judgemental parent.
By Amrita Gracias
A judgemental attitude can be explained as being critical in a manner that is not helpful. Individuals who are judgmental are constantly engaged in finding faults. But, why are we judgmental? According to Arundhati Swamy, Counsellor and Head – Parent Engagement Programmes, ParentCircle, “We tend to judge others when they behave or do things differently from what we believe is right or best.” She further explains, “While we do want to teach and train our children well, we can choose to do so in a nurturing way, so that the child builds a positive image of himself.”
As parents, we have opinions about our children which we often share with them. But, how can we know that we aren’t being judgmental?
Children of judgmental parents feel emotionally insecure. They feel that their parents’ love for them is conditional—that is, they are loved only when they fulfil their parents’ expectations. Being judged at every step fills the child with negative thoughts, which affects his self-esteem. The child begins to suffer from a lack of motivation and feels reluctant to try and do new things, as he fears being criticised. Also, the child craves for his parents’ acceptance and approval. “It is natural for a child to make mistakes while learning and growing up, but when this process is interfered with, the child feels stuck and helpless,” says Ms Arundhati. All this emotional stress has a negative impact on the child’s academic performance and social relationships.
Judgmental parents cast a negative effect on their relationship with their child. To their child, they come across as someone who needs to be pleased all the time. This creates a sense of fear in the child’s mind and makes him resentful. “The relationship is not built on confidence but rather on expectations and fears”, Ms Arundhati says.
If you think that you are a judgmental parent, and now that you also know how your habit can adversely affect your child and your relationship with him, won’t you want to shun the habit? If yes, then, here are a few tips to help you in your endeavour to reform yourself.
You aren’t perfect and your child doesn’t have to be perfect either. “Instead of proving that you are a good parent to someone, use your energies to build your relationship with your child,” says Ms Arundhati.
Do your best to keep your criticism to the minimum and provide ample guidance instead. Although it may be difficult for you to not judge your child, be aware of the emotions your child would experience when he listens to your words of criticism. Remember, being judgemental does not contribute to healthy nurturing.
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