Are parents who are negative about their children's progress bad parents?

India
April 11, 2007 6:37am CST
I have been brought up by parents who have been extremely demanding. My father especially has always been extremely critical about my performance and progress and he would always compare my performance with that of his friends' children or with the other kids in the neighborhood. He never respected my own individuality and I used to hate him for that. During one of my outbursts, I accused him of putting me down at every opportunity. While he admitted to it, he said that I was supposed to take the criticism positively and work to improve myself instead of getting demotivated. Does this type of negative criticism actually help anybody? Are parents who do this bad parents?
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4 responses
@maximax8 (27056)
11 Apr 07
I think positive comments from parents help children most. When a parent needs to say something it should be constructive rather than damaging to the child's confidence. They could start by saying they like the way their child has done something but to make it even better they could do one more thing and say what this is. It is not awfully nice tho compare children. For instance one of my nephews is outgoing and talkative but my other nephew is shy and very quiet. praise builds self esteem. Putting a child down at every opportunity may lead to him/her hating him/herself. It is very sad to hear that a child thinks he/she is worthless and that they hate themself. It is terrible to hear that they can't do something, all they need is the confidence to try. A few words of encouragement would be valuable. I guess that a parent does the best job they can. They may not see that they are hurting their child's emotions. They may just see that they are building their ability.
• India
11 Apr 07
Thanks for your thoughts. To make things worser, parents such as mine even have an ability to come up with examples of children who have gone on to achieve great things after being subject to negative criticism! Fact or not, these are more the exceptions rather than the rule. I certainly wouldn't do that to my own children, when I have them someday. God bless!
11 Apr 07
My mother never seemed to have a good word for me, and I felt I could never please her. Like you, I was told it was for my own good and that I should take the negative comments as a proverbial kick in the pants to do better. Unfortunately all her negative comments actually produced was a total lack of self-esteem and confidence. Her constant criticism totally demotivated me and, even today, she can upset me with a single word. I don't think she was a bad parent though, more a misguided parent.
• India
11 Apr 07
Thanks for your reply. You seem to have gone through the same circumstances more or less, but I no longer give my parents the opportunity to put me down. I have taken charge of my own life and I believe that I'm fine the way I am. God made me, me. If I'm good enough for God, I'm good enough for myself. I can live with that.
@Ravenladyj (22993)
• United States
11 Apr 07
I'm sorry but that is such a copout load of crap...and a line I've heard myself in my life and bottomline, the negative, hurtful comparisons are DAMAGING NOT CONSTRUCTIVE.....Being constructive doesnt make a person feel like crap...it DOES motivate someone (or can), it helps them to see things from a different perspective....being told you arent as good as so and so or "why cant you be more like so and so" IS NOT constructive...its hurtful, its demeaning, its giving the impression you arent as smart/pretty/WORTHY and so on as others...
• India
11 Apr 07
I guess you are right. I would never put my own children through something like that. I mean, each and every individual is smart and gifted in his/her own way and doesn't need to conform to someone else's standards to be acknowledged as good. I used to hate by parents for putting me through that, but I have learned that it is cathartic to forgive them instead of carrying that grouse against them. My sister too has been through a lot of trials too. While she was an excellent student right through, her home-making skills have come under the scanner of my parents and it causes her a lot of anguish. I tell her to do what I do. Ignore them.
@Bizziebod (3527)
12 Apr 07
Hi, I don't think your parents are bad as they believe that it is for the good of you if that makes sense. Some people believe that by critisizing every thing you do it, then you will learn from your mistakes. Personally I don't think that at all and agree with you that you will end up with low self esteem.
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