Giving Feedback That Builds Self Image - Use Respect Not Ridicule

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Your intention is to motivate a child or employee to do better. You are clear in your mind what you want to achieve and the behavior that you want changed. You expect to be listened to and obeyed! You are right and they are wrong. Someday, they will be grateful that you cared enough to show them what they were doing incorrectly.

Sound familiar? When a situation calls for feedback, we tend to justify our position and come at the situation from a power standpoint. This tends to put the other person in a defensive status and what may have started out as a visit turns into a confrontation, with words and emotions expressed that are not helpful. The ridicule will actually not accomplish what you had hoped and will harm the relationship.

Ridicule or Contempt
Ridiculing someone is to mock by reducing or dismissing them in a contemptuous way. Sometimes the ridicule may be verbal as in a criticism; "You just can't get this through your thick head, can you?" The disrespect may be done in a completely non-verbal but powerful way; rolling your eyes, crossing your arms and leaning back, smirking or looking away when the other person is talking.

Non Verbal Language
Verbal or spoken language is the communication of information. Most people only remember about 20% of what is said. Non verbal or body language is the communication of relationships. People look at your facial expressions to see how you really feel about what you are saying and the person you are saying it to. They listen to your tone of voice to gauge how sincere you are.

Respect and Acknowledge Unique Styles
Your child and you are going to make mistakes. You are human. That is just how life goes as we learn from experiences on what works for us and when we need to find another solution. We can make mistakes but still be competent, worthwhile and intelligent people.

No one is going to be perfect, and to only settle for perfection is to set yourself and your child up for failure. If your children have never seen you acknowledge that you screwed up or made a mistake, they will be hesitant to take risks.

Feedback or Criticism
You may be embarrassed to talk about your own mistakes and errors in judgment. That is natural to be hesitant to appear vulnerable but it is unfair to your child to feel that he or she is not reaching your expectations and is a disappointment to you.

Perhaps you can say something like; "I know that you feel badly about the grade. I have felt that way when I worked hard on a project and it didn't go as well as I had planned. However, I found that the next time it went better for me when I wrote an agenda. What do you think might help you do better next time?

Respect and Tolerance Build Confidence and Self Image
Thank you for doing this important work to build communication in relationships. Others value your input and suggestions and will want to do the best they can. But when mistakes happen, remember; mistakes are never final and we all make them. It is how we learn.

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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