The Parent Who Constantly Finds Fault
There are warm and supportive parents who love their children unconditionally no matter what mistakes their children make. These parents believe in accepting their children as whole beings. These parents know that their children are not perfect and they must go through certain phases in order to mature and grow.
These parents do not harp on their children if they fall short of a goal. They accept that their children will sometimes fall short of a goal whether it is a C in math or failure to make the soccer team. They see that this is a part of life and that their children are smart and worthy of their love no matter what. They further do not go into hysterical histrionics if their children does err, they just brush it off and encourage their children to try again. These parents really practice the art of unconditional love.
Then there are parents who love their children only when they fit the parental criteria. This criteria can be making straight As, always being in first place, and being an unobtrusive as possible. Critical parents are always seeing something wrong with their children. It is these parents' mantra that they as parents are obligated to correct their children when they make mistakes in order to prepare them for school and later for life.
Critical parents, like perfectionistic parents, believe that their children should be as unblemished as possible. Of course they know that people make mistakes; however, they believe that it is their duty to have their children make as little mistakes as possible. To the critical parent, mistakes make a child flawed and less likely to succeed in whatever endeavor he/she may undertake.
Critical parents maintain that their children are a reflection and extension of them, not individual beings in their own right. To the critical parent, their children are to be guided as to the correct and approximate behaviors, output, and mannerisms. For example, critical parents would critique their child even though his/her report child has 5 As if there is one C. Critical parents will concentrate on the C instead of congratulating the child for the five As. The critical parent will view his/her child as grossly insufficient and began to badger the child about the C. Even though the child may explain that the subject was somewhat difficult and he/she did the best that he/she knew how, this parent maintained that the child's efforts was insufficient to say the least. As you see, critical parents never see what is right with their children, only what is wrong. These parents will criticize their children even for their best efforts.
Such parents have unrealistic and fantastical expectations that their children are not to fail and/or err in any way. They fail to believe that part of being human and a child is to explore and fail. Failure is a necessary part of life and a learning process. When one fails or makes an error, one just brushes oneself off, starting all over again. Failure is not a mortal sin.
Critical parents believe that their environment should be as smooth and stressfree as possible. They believe that mistakes and human error often complicate matters and make them worse. This is why they want their world, including their children to be well-functioning and well-ordered. Critical parents could be quite damaging towards their children for making common human errors.
Children of critical parents often lose their initiative and become risk aversive. They feel that since they will be critiqued no matter what they do, why try to make an effort. Many children of critical parents furthermore believe that they feel that they are constantly under a radar, watching every minute move that they make. They often develop an extremely low self-esteem, feeling like they are failures and never good enough. Others, who are more defiant and rebellious, assert that since they always give them only negative feedback and attention, they might as well act negatively- a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Critical parents are often unforgiving parents. They do not believe in letting go of their children's mistakes. They, like perfectionistic parents, constantly bring up their children's mistakes each time they wish to attempt something new. These parents are one of the most soul destroying parents around. Instead of encouraging and enhancing their children's self-esteem and self-worth, these parents demolish and even destroy their children's sense of worth.
Many parents are critical because they, too, had critical parents in their early familial environment. They are only continuing and acting upon their familial environment. There are many critical parents who had lackadaisical or laissez faire parents who were uninterested in their development. They were not as successful in life as they wish to be. They decided to be the exact opposite as parents-they want their children to be successful by any means necessary. Still other critical parents had severely permissive and indulgent parents who never corrected them and coddled them from life's travails. These parents believed that as a result of this rearing, they were damaged and unable to cope. They decided to be tougher parents to their children in order for them to right their utmost human potential.
Although critical parents believe themselves to be well meaning, they are not. They are damaging and destroying their children's self-esteem in more ways than one. By their constant criticism, they are causing their children's initiative, causing them to be fearful and dependent upon others. Many children become underachievers because of critical parents. These children believe that it is futile to strive and achieve lest they fail- and failure is not an option to their parents.
Many critical parents complain that their children often are failures, underachievers, and have no initiative. These parents adamantly refuse to acknowledge that their constant criticism destroyed their children's spark and they have created a monster. If a child is constantly criticized for what he/she did wrong and seldom or never praised for what they do right, they become that they are worthless failures. Critical parents are just as bad as the worst abusive parent. In fact, critical parents are abusive but they do not know it!
As Dr. Wayne W. Dyer stated that one of the worst things a parents does to a child is to criticize the child. Dr. Dyer maintains that parental criticism destroys the child emotionally and psychologically. Dr. Dyer further advises parents to order to make a child more self-confident and independent, always find something right with him/her instead of finding something ALWAYS wrong with the child.
In summation, critical parents believe that when they correct their children, they are doing it in their children's best interest. These parents believe that they want their children to be as mistake-free as possible in order to be successful. These parents contend that mistakes and failures deter from their children's present and future success. Even though these parents believe that they have their children's best interests at heart, they are, in fact, damaging and destroying their children's creativity, independence, initiative, and self-esteem by their constant criticism. Remember, the road to hell is often paved with the best of intentions!
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams
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