#1: Don’t criticize. It’s hard. Most of us who are old enough to have adult children were raised with plenty of it. It’s our default modus operandi.
Here’s the motivation to make an effort to break the habit:
–Think of times when you were able to shift a less than stellar behavior; what caused the shift? a caring friend? AA? a book? a class? a good teacher? Mostly, if not 100%, it wasn’t from even accurate criticism. Our parents and less exemplary teachers’ habits of attack are not the treasured traditions we should feel compelled to follow.
And here’s some suggestions on how to break the habit:
–I’ve got a friend who writes down every critical thought that comes to mind and then burns it.
–When I first started practicing this when my children were young, a wise parent educator told us to cry when we wanted to yell at our children. It’s a good idea for several reasons. Our crying doesn’t undermine our children’s self-esteem (as long as we’re careful to let them know it has nothing to do with them) and it unloads the actual feelings that pull us to attack.
–call a friend who will not confuse your critical feelings with the defect of the young people and will just listen.
I’m calling myself an expert here as three of my four adult children chose to live very close to me and their father with their families and the fourth WISHES she did. There may have been a few other factors but I am convinced this one is the deal breaker.