Promoting positive behaviour through constructive criticism
Promoting Positive Behaviour through constructive criticism
Unless children are doing something that poses a high risk of disastrous results, sometimes it’s best to let them figure things out on their own and learn through the experience rather than telling them step-by-step what they should or shouldn’t have done or could have done better. Experience is sometimes the best teacher. “Constructive criticism” should be encouraging, helpful, and timely – not negative. When offering children constructive criticism about their work, behaviors, or attempts at doing things on their own, think about the following:
Even though a parent may be frustrated with a child’s behaviour, they should not use belittling language, an angry or frustrated tone of voice, or making fun of a child’s honest mistakes.
When there is a need to critique, be ready to teach. A parent should have a child’s undivided attention before voicing their concerns. Direct constructive criticisms toward the behaviour or mistake, not the child. Parents should set the example of what they want their children to learn by taking the time to show them. Ask “May I tell/show you what usually works for me?” “Let me show you what helps me…” Offer the child an opportunity to correct his/ her mistake whether it’s repeating a chore that wasn’t done properly or correcting an inappropriate or incorrect behavior.
Never make one-sided, hurtful comments; be ready to address specific actions or behaviors with a lesson or helpful and thoughtful suggestion. Using positive words yields positive results. “You really do __________ well. Next time, you might also try…” “This way helped me a lot when I was learning to…”
Never use name-calling or label, even in jest, as it is really hurtful for a child and will affect their self-esteem. Never openly criticize children in front of others. It’s hard enough to accept criticism, even constructive criticism, when there is an audience present.
Take advantage of teachable moments by offering help and constructive criticism – unless it really just isn’t the time or place to do so. Timing is everything; a parent should not wait until the child has forgotten the incident or mistake. A parent needs to make it clear to a child that they are offering suggestions and constructive criticism so he/she can do better next time. Don’t dwell on a child’s past mistakes. Constructive criticism is for the future, not the past.
Parents should use a voice that has the tone of a helpful attitude. A knee-jerk reaction of screaming and yelling or using other derogatory remarks deflates self-esteem and falls on deaf ears. If a child hears an angry voice, that’s all he/she will hear. Our goal as parents is to give constructive criticism as painlessly and tactfully as possible so the child will receive it properly and learn from it.
Remember, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. When children realize their own mistakes, they are less likely to repeat them. There is nothing to gain by pointing out and dwelling on their mistakes when it’s obvious they learned something from them.
Safer Internet Day takes place next Tuesday, 7th February 2023. Sadly more than 1 in 4 young people in Ireland have experienced cyberbullying, yet only 60% of victims tell their parents. As teenagers and children spend more time on the internet, ensuring it's a safe space is ever more important.
To encourage conversation about life online and help parents keep their children safe, I'd like to share a free resource created by Switcher.ie.
It's a comprehensive guide which includes things like:
How to reduce the risks online
How to recognise cyber bullying and grooming
How to educate children on cyber safety
How to set up parental controls on devices
I thought it may be useful to share the link to the guide - https://switcher.ie/broadband/guides/how-to-keep-your-children-safe-online/ - which you can include on your website ahead of Safer Internet Day, to help parents and children who may need some extra support.
We've also put together some handy top tips you can use on your website:
10 tips to keep your children safe online
Talk about it:Make time to chat about online risks and how to use the internet safelyas soon as they're old enough to go online. Encourage your children to speak to you about what they view online and empower them to act if they're worried about anything.
Recognise the risks: Educate yourself about the potential dangers children could face online so it’s easier to spot warning signs. Get to know what platforms your children use, and learn about dangers such as phishing, grooming and cyberbullying.
Teach the do's and don'ts: Be clear about the non-negotiables. For example, teach your child not to share personal details or photos with strangers and instruct them not to click on links to unknown websites or texts. Do encourage your child to question what they see and only accept friend requests from people they know.
Spot the signs: Pay attention to your children's behaviour whilst on and off their devices. Being alert to changes in your child can help prevent problems from escalating. Some warning signs are withdrawing from friends or family, sleeping and eating problems or losing interest in previously loved hobbies or interests.
Set boundaries:Let your children know what they can and can't do on the internet from the get-go. Agree on what devices they can use, when, and how long they can spend online. As they get older, explaining and negotiating boundaries may be more effective.
Take 'parental' control: These ready-made boundaries put parents in control of what children can see online. They can be set up through your internet provider at device level to block specific websites and filter out inappropriate content.
Be social media savvy: The popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat makes it harder to keep track of what your child is accessing online. Fortunately, each social media platform has its own privacy settings and safety tips for parents. Check them out before you let children have their own accounts.
Protect from harm:Install antivirus software on family devices to minimise the risk of cyber attacks or scams. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for extra security on your online accounts. This can also stop children from signing into services they're not allowed to use.
Set a great example: You're the greatest 'influencer' in your children's lives when they're young. Limiting your time online, discussing dangers you've come across, and questioning what you view can help reinforce the rules you are setting for your children and, in turn, influence their online behaviour.
Seek support:The more you learn about online dangers, the better equipped you'll be to handle them. There are some great resources like webwise.ie, internetmatters.organd cybersafekids.ie to help you recognise and reduce online dangers and seek advice if you think your child is experiencing cyberbullying or is at risk online.
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.
This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services.
What is infant mental health?
Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.
The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.
The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also onwww.MyChild.iewhere key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.
In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of threeeLearning units which are now available onHSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.
Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)
In additionThe National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.iewebsite.
These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).
These new video resources are availableherewhile lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found atwww.mychild.ie
There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from firstname.lastname@example.org