"Your hair is a mess." "Why can't you do better in school?" "Do you ever watch where you're going? Are you constantly criticizing your children to the point where even you're beginning to wonder if you're too hard on them? By now you've likely heard the notion of choosing your battles. However, when you're caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it may seem as if you're always confronted with a new battle. The truth of the matter is it's never too late to change. Before you even open your mouth, put yourself in your child's shoes. Think about how you would feel if someone were saying these things to you. More than likely, you probably cringe just imagining it.
Let your child know that things are going to change. Although it's hard eating crow, explain to your child that you've made a mistake and have been too critical with him. Let him know that you're no longer going to handle things in the same fashion. Apologize for how you've done things in the past. Once your promise to turn over a new leaf, stick to it. Think before you speak, especially if you're going to be critical. Try to look at the situation through a child's eyes. Remember what it was like when you were young. As often as possible, plan out what you're going to say to child before you actually do it. Avoid an overreaction. For example, does a lost jacket really warrant a complete meltdown on your part? Think about how many things you've lost in the past. Choose your battles. Decide what really warrants criticism and what doesn't.