This morning on Good Morning America, I saw a segment about a mother who stopped criticizing her children and focused on positive reinforcement. Some people may think, “Duh!” But step back and think about the way you parent. I believe this idea really is groundbreaking for some because criticism is so common in all relationships.
After more than 35 years of research, Dr. John Gottman found that criticism also degrades marital relationships. Criticizing loved ones drains the relationship of positive interaction and then of trust. If someone feels constantly judged, how could they feel safe in the relationship? Gottman considers this a gateway behavior in relationships that can lead to even more negativity and eventually contempt.
So why not scrap criticism from your family and relationships entirely? Most people don’t understand what criticism is and how to swap it out for more positive behavior-based conversation. Moving away from criticism doesn’t mean only saying great things about everyone, it simply means that the focus should be on behavior and not on the individual value of those involved.
Here are 5 steps to create a criticism-free home.
- Don’t Personalize. So much of the time, we evaluate others’ behavior by how it makes us feel and react from that emotion. If you feel upset, first calm down. I hate to break it to you… but most of the time, it’s not actually about you.
- Speak From Values… (More)