Parents are accustomed to listening to suggestions on how to be better parents. But how do parents tend to respond to all kinds of criticism from different people, and is it actually helpful? A new survey conducted by the CS Mott Children’s Hospital may have the answer. According to the study, many parents respond well to criticism, but other parents do not – and that can have very negative consequences. “While some parents say criticism encourages them to seek more information about good practices, too much contempt can make parents feel demoralized about their fatherly role,” explains Mott’s survey co-director, Sarah Clark. “Parents who love and commit can have a positive impact on the development and well-being of their children, but different family members should be willing to recognize that there are different parenting styles without necessarily being wrong or harmful,” she adds.
According to the researchers, the hardest type of criticism that parents face is how to discipline their children, and it is also very common for a husband and wife to argue about when their child should start to receive proper discipline. “Addressing misconduct is one of the biggest challenges of raising children, and parents are not always on the same page when it comes to expectations and consequences,” the researcher acknowledges.
Other than on how to discipline children, how are parents often criticized? One interesting point is that it is often the father, not the mother, who tends to be seen as the incompetent parent, according to the results of the survey. Often, a father playing with their child may be criticized for not properly protecting the child from injuries, for example. Clark comments on this as follows: “In some cases, this may be a reflection of historical gender roles, where mothers are considered born caregivers, while fathers bear the prejudice of having a limited parenting capacity and need supervision or correction.“
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