Proper use of criticism as a parenting strategy

The brace of endless love is a parent with an unshakable resolve to continuously remain supportive to all aspects of the child’s development until the child develops into a disciplined adult. This therefore implies that a great parent is always close enough to observe and evaluate a child’s opinion, behaviour and contribution on all issues of life as a feedback for proper follow up. A parent’s feelings, opinion, commendation or reservation about a child’s behaviour must necessarily be properly and effectively communicated to provide guidance for proper development of the child. Criticism is therefore an essential instrument in a healthy parenting process.

If properly applied in its pure form, criticism is constructive otherwise, it can be destructive.The following contrasts are noteworthy.

  Healthy Criticism (Pure) Unhealthy Criticism (Impure)
1 Communication is interactive Communication is overbearing
2 It is done hopefully and faithfully It is done with despair.
3 It is done with self-control. Communication is clogged with manifestation of negative emotions.
4 Expectation of the parent from the child is realistic and corresponds with the child’s ability. Parent’s expectation from the child is unrealistic
5 The parent patiently explains a better approach or process in the language the child will understand Parents have little or no time for detailed explanation.
6 It does not condemn the child. The wrong action is condemned. The child is condemned and described with negative words.
7 It recognises that every child is unique and lives a space for the unique and positive expression of the child’s unique personality disposition. It expects every child to fit into the same personality mold.
8 It does not withhold praise or commendation when it is earned. It criticises almost everything the child does.
9 Achieves great parenting results with disciplined children. Creates resentment and rebellion. The child’s  situation usually worsens.


A parent’s ability to handle the instrument of criticism can make or mar a child’s future. Great parents criticise wisely for proper mental, social, physical and spiritual development of their children.

-Uchenna N. Nduka


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