12 Signs That Your Child is Being Too Self-Critical

Do Your Best but Don’t Dwell on the Negative

You teach your child that it’s admirable to do your best and attempt to be the best person she can be . It only makes sense to examine her negative results in life experience and try to do better the next time.  But it’s also easy to become too self-critical.  A high level of self-criticism holds her back from success and good mental health. Excessive self-criticism hurts her self-esteem and confidence.


   A high level of self-criticism is detrimental to success and good mental health.


12 Signs That Your Child is Being Too Self-Critical


   Consider these signs that your child might be too critical of himself:

   1)  He paralyzed.

One sign that your child is being overly critical toward himself is a lack of action.   If he’s been stuck in the same situation for an extended period of time, he’s too hard on himself.   Otherwise, he’d be out there making progress and making positive changes in his school, social and home life.

   2)  She’s slow to forgive others.

When you can’t forgive yourself, you’re unable to forgive others. When you can let go and forgive yourself, you can do the same for the other people in your life. Show her the way you use to forgive others and move forward.

   3)  He’s never pleased with his accomplishments.

It doesn’t matter to him that he shaved 10 points off his best game score or was graded an A on a test.  He’s bothered by the fact that he didn’t rate an even better score or that he had a B on a homework assignment.

   4)  She’s not assertive.

You have to be comfortable with yourself to feel comfortable with asserting yourself.  Assertiveness also brings the risk of rejection.  Being too self-critical can increase the fear of rejection from others.  I’m not telling you to teach your child to me mean or loud or rude.  I’m saying assertive enough to defend her position in a calm voice, stating the facts about her feelings and reasoning.

   5)  He consistently says bad things to himself.

There’s little harm in a small amount of negative self-talk.  But a constant barrage of self-criticism is highly damaging.  Imagine telling your child that he can’t do anything right and should give up trying.  It sounds crazy.  You would never do that. Teach him not to accept it either.  A criticizing tape playing over and over in your head is a terrible thing to live with.  Learn Tapping or see a hypnotherapist if this is too hard to handle on your own.

   6)  She’s a chronic underachiever.

Underachieving is both a symptom and a cause of self-criticism.  Consistent underachieving is a call to action!  If it’s schoolwork that is an issue, find a tutor for her. If she has a self-esteem issue, time to do some building up exercises to point out her strong suits and abilities.

  7)  Others feel comfortable being critical of him.

The average person isn’t comfortable criticizing others.  However, after they’ve heard you criticize yourself repeatedly, they’re likely to feel they can join in on the criticism.  A child who walks with his head down and a slumping posture, is showing a bully that he’s ready to be walked on.  If he’s consistently self-critical, then a bully feels it’s safe to pick on him.

   8)  She criticizes herself in general terms, rather than just for specifics.

There’s a difference between telling yourself that you’re not a good tennis player and telling yourself that you’re not good at anything.  General criticism is false and highly damaging.

  • A lack of success at a particular activity doesn’t make her flawed at everything. It’s illogical.
  • Point out her talents. She might be really good at finding good music to listen to.  Maybe she’s good at crafts or drawing.  She might be good with animals or writing.  Find her beautiful talents and remind her that it’s not fair to everyone else that she be good at everything.  She has her talents and they have theirs.

   9)  He keeps his opinions to himself.

While he has every reason to avoid telling your neighbor she looks fat in her dress, he should feel comfortable sharing the title of his favorite book.  If he doesn’t feel comfortable sharing his opinions freely, he’s too concerned about being judged by others or saying the wrong thing.  Allow him a safe place to express his opinions, likes and dislikes freely.  That means you have to be ready to listen to his complaining.  And that’s OK, as long as he speaks in a respectful tone of voice and manner to you.  If he gets too angry or starts a tantrum, send him to his room until he regains control.  Then allow him to tell you his feelings when calmer.

   10)  She spends too much time dwelling on her mistakes.

Can she move on quickly after a short period of self-reflection or does she dwell on her mistakes for an extended period of time?  Show her how to let go of mistakes.  And remind her that making a mistake means you’re getting very close to success.  After all didn’t Edison fail at 2774 experiments until he succeeded in finding the correct filament for the electric bulb?  Wasn’t Michael Jordan cut from the basketball team his first year?  Failures get you closer and closer to success.

   11)  He finds himself unable to ask for help.

It shouldn’t be difficult to ask for help.  In fact, the more help the better!  Is your child afraid of being viewed as dumb, stupid or incapable?  If so, he’s too critical of himself.  When learning to work through life’s problems, asking for help is one of the important steps to success.

   12)  She can’t give herself a single compliment.

Everyone is good at something.  Or maybe she knows she’s good at a few things but doesn’t think she deserves a compliment.  Either way, she’s being too hard on herself. Is she taking her cues from you, if so it’s time you set the example of how to accept yourself and accept a compliment.  Accepting yourself doesn’t mean you are perfect or never need to improve.  It only means that you can accept yourself just as you are in this moment, with all of your flaws and weaknesses, knowing you will continue to improve and learn as life goes on.

Your child is sabotaging himself by being overly self-critical.  He limits both his success and his happiness. Realize how much your child is harming himself with self-criticism.  Teach him to learn from his mistakes and apply the information with enthusiasm to find happiness every day.

About the Author Angie J. Hernandez, C.Ht.

A graduate of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, Angie J. Hernandez, C.Ht., has her private practice in Milford, Indiana. She is certified in hypnotherapy by the Hypnotherapist's Union Local 472. Angie is the author of "Weight Loss Epiphany: The Workbook" and "The Pretty & Smart Planner. You can find out more about Angie and how to schedule private sessions by calling (574) 658-4686.

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