Once Upon a Time, I had a blog. . . . . when my kids were still in preschool, kindergarten & elementary school. These are "diary entries" from then. I'm so happy that I documented along the way. These memories and thoughts are precious to me. They'll be mixed in with modern day musings as well. I hope it helps you know that all mothers are both perfect & imperfect in their own ways. . . . . and we're all just doing our best and trying to raise productive, happy humans.

Stopping My Inner Critic

Diary Entry from January 9, 2011

There is a saying that goes “You are your own worst critic”. And I’m sure it’s true. In fact, if you type the words “You are your” into a search engine, one of the searches that comes up, is—“You are your own worst critic”. See what I did there? You don’t even have to put the words “worst critic” and it already knows what you’re looking for! And there are countless websites, blogs and articles that appear. Apparently everyone really does say it!

But, I really am my own worst critic. And unfortunately that critical mindset overflows onto my kids. I find myself a lot of times telling them what they’re doing wrong. And I can hear myself. I just can’t stop myself before I say whatever it is. It’s not constructive criticism. It’s just criticism.

In hindsight, I know that I should be telling them how to do it differently. Better. I need to tell them how to do something so that they don’t make the same mistake again. Now, in opposition, I do actually praise them when they do something well. I try to encourage them if they’re doing something and they get discouraged. I’m good at praise! But, I also am critical if they’re not doing things to the standard that I think they should be done. What I need to remember is that they are 4 and 6.

I think that this critical mindset comes from growing up with a father that always expected more of me. I love my father. Don’t get me wrong. He really only wanted what was best for me. And truthfully, he was probably raised the same way. Don’t you find that no matter how much you say you won’t be like your parents, there are still some ways that you are like them? Well, when I was younger, if I made a 99% on a test, my dad would ask why I didn’t make 100%. And that’s the way everything always was. The only reason I cried at my high school graduation was because he told me that he was proud of me. I think it might have been the first time he said it. At least it was the first time I remember him saying it.

I am 40 years old, and to this day, I still don’t know if I have my father’s approval for anything that I’ve done in my life. I do know that he loves me. Dearly. But, I still hear that inner critic in my head. And I criticize myself before anyone else can. I don’t want my kids to feel that way.

So, as part of my continuing efforts to build better relationships with my children this year, I’ve added another new rule.

#3—Try to be less critical and more helpful. Keep praising them when they do something well, but stop criticizing when they don’t.

Do you have an inner critic and do you think it affects your children?

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