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Accepting Criticism: A Life Skill

Most Tweens think they know everything, and it is often very difficult for them to accept criticism. Although you may find this frustrating, it is developmentally appropriate for a child at this stage of development. One way you can help your child be successful at dealing with teachers and other authority figures is by teaching him or her how to accept criticism. Here is a guide for talking to your child about this subject.
When others give advice on how they think you can improve, they are giving criticism.

When you accept criticism, you need to

  1. Look at the person. Don't give negative facial expressions.
  2. Stay calm and quiet while the person is talking.
  3. Show you understand ("okay" or "I understand").
  4. Try to correct the problem. If you are asked to do something, do it. If you are asked to stop doing something, stop it. If you can't give a positive response, at least give one that will not get you into trouble ("Okay," "I understand," or "Thanks").

Being able to accept criticism shows maturity and prevents problems with people in authority. If you can control yourself and listen to what others have to say about how you can improve, you will have fewer problems. And the criticism may really help you!

Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind when learning this skill.

  • It is most important that you stay calm. Take a deep breath, if necessary.
  • Criticizing, becoming angry, or making negative facial expressions will only get you into more trouble.
  • When you respond to the person who is giving you criticism, use as pleasant a voice tone as possible. You will receive criticism for the rest of your life; all people do. The way you handle it determines how others treat you.
  • Most criticism is designed to help you; however, sometimes it is difficult to accept. If you don't agree with the criticism, ask me or another trusted adult.
  • Always ask questions if you don't understand. (But don't play games by asking questions when you do understand and are just being stubborn.) Give yourself a chance to improve!

Burke, Ray and Herron, Ron. Common Sense Parenting.