What is the opposite of criticism? Is it praise? I doubt this. Praise is about building someone up and can be superficial. Criticism is about identifying problems that need fixing, at least in the eye of the beholder.
The Opposite of Criticism
No, I think the opposite of criticism is compassion. Compassion means to be with someone in their emotion. Compassion also seems to hold an idea of looking at someone, seeing their faults and caring for them with mercy anyway. It implies understanding. It says “I am with you,” not “you need to do it this way.”
As we step out of the ShouldStorm of criticism and the anxiety it produces in us and our kids, we move into a connected place with our kids. But compassion does NOT mean anything goes. Compassion means I care about you. Compassionate parenting says “I expect things of you, but I don’t judge you when you fail. I think the best of you and I know you can do better. I am with you as you do better.”
I saw the most amazing example of this a few months ago. I was so inspired by this mom, and how she was with her son. He was so sick, just not feeling good at all. He said something very grumpy and rude. This is what his mother said: “I know you’re not feeling good and I know your body is sick. But I know that your manners aren’t sick.” Her son said “I’m sorry Mommy,” and then rephrased what he was saying in a polite way.
That is compassionate parenting!
Disclaimer: This article represents general education and does not constitute medical advice. My ideas are mine alone.