Days 4 and 5 of the No Criticism project have not been easy.
I couldn’t help recalling that when I a read an example of this in a book, it involved a father and a teenage daughter. It did not involve homeschool, and it did not involve younger children who need a fair amount of guidance and reminders throughout the day, plus some correction of errors.
The reason I couldn’t help recalling this was because yesterday I found myself frequently getting annoyed with children who were not doing what they were supposed to and were in desperate need of parental guidance, which has been in short supply over the last few weeks what with all the parental sickness.
When I am busy but my children don’t have anything in particular they are supposed to be doing, we have potential problems. Yes, of course they will play together, but then they will fight, and then they will say terrible things to each other and behave very poorly, and then they will loudly attempt to justify that behavior. In such a situation, when I am trying to accomplish other things (e.g., earn the house payment or meet a looming deadline), a harsh or critical tone is nearly impossible to avoid.
Right now, between deadlines, upcoming travel, and lingering illness, there’s not a lot to do about that, but in the long term the lesson is Routines Routines Routines, and frequent fill-ups of parental attention, especially for the 6yo.
Another key lesson: Six year olds cannot be ten year olds, no matter how clever or articulate they may seem. There is a reason this point is repeated in the educational literature over and over: It is totally obvious, yet very very easy to forget. In other words, inappropriate parental expectations may lead to excessive criticism.
I won’t even get into trying not to criticize my husband! Like many married couples, we tease a lot. And like many married couples, sometimes we hide criticism under the teasing. Predictably, sometimes the teasing doesn’t quite cover the barb underneath, and then, look out!