Why do parents criticize and compare?
I saw a question online once, which turned out to be rather difficult to answer, that’s why I kept postponing this post for a very long time. The question was:
“My parents are constantly criticizing me and comparing me with others. I’m not a child anymore, but it’s very unpleasant for me. Why is this happening?”
There are topics that are psychologically difficult to describe, and this is one of them. It is difficult to destroy the illusions of some people, and when answering this question, many illusions will fall.
I will describe the answer to the question on the example of several situations:
Sometimes our parents are losers. It sounds terrible, but we have to accept this formulation. Not all parents are perfect and not everyone can overcome weaknesses in life. I will not talk about the alcoholic, lazy bone or cheating parents. I think those who had to face such a situation do not comfort themselves with the self lie that their parents are saints. I am now talking about average people and families. Most people in their youth have many ambitions, but there are many more weaknesses that prevent them from fulfilling all these ambitions. Someone wants to become an oligarch, someone a celebrity, someone an official, but alas they become an average office person. These people will sooner or later have their children, and then they will decide to implement all their plans in someone else’s life – the lives of their children. But children often have enough of their own ambitions, why do they need broken hopes and dreams of their parents? This is where the conflict occurs. The parent is not satisfied with the way of life, chosen by the child. Next, you know what – criticism of everything and everyone. Unreasonable, inadequate and sometimes mixed with irritability.
The advice here is simple – do not let others’ influence interfere with the achievement of your goals. Your goals are the basis of your life, even our parents are not able to live it for us. Be strong and purposeful. Analyze the harm/benefit of everything you are told.
And sometimes parents don’t put any hope in the child at all. For example, they see a huge potential in one of the children, and the second one is left all by himself, suffering from the lack of attention. And, suddenly (though there are no”suddenly” and all events are not accidental, but let’s skip it for now…) this most imperceptible child becomes successful. He is noticed at school/work/sports, etc and his achievements are recognized and commended by others. An “inconspicuous” child receives recognition, and a “noticeable” child remains special only for his parents. Do you think parents will reconsider their attitude to the “invisible”? The probability of such turn of the events is very low (although it does exist), most likely, he will be subject to unreasonable criticism for all sorts of trifles and underestimated after achieving complex goals. On the contrary, the “noticeable” child will be praised for every little thing, and all his negative actions will be justified. It is hard to believe in this situation, but it is very common in multi-child families (especially if they are half-brothers/sisters).
I can only advise you to be patient. It will be useless to break loose and prove something. Blind love of parents is a difficult and indestructible thing. Learn not to wait for praise from parents. Achieve your goals and develop for yourself, not for your parents or someone else.
It happens that our family members are jealous of us. It happens that they are extremely jealous. Believe me, even parents can be jealous. And there are plenty of reasons: you still have the whole life ahead, youth, beauty, education, friends are more reliable, wife is more beautiful, husband is more wealthy, etc. Parents are also people and not all of them have the wisdom and high moral level to rejoice for the children. Do not blame them for this, try to make every effort not to become like them, and make sure you are able to rejoice sincerely for your children. Be strong and do not store negative feelings in your mind.
There are people who like to dictate life rules to other family members. And here you should not even try to please all the rules of the dictator – that is simply impossible. If the person who criticizes you is eternally (or often) irritated, angry, dissatisfied with everything, you have to know that you are a target, who is used as a punching bag to cool off. It’s hard to fight such people, especially if it’s your mother, and you’re 15 years old. But trying to deliver and explain your worries and pain to this person is worth the try.
Maybe you’re just different. Sometimes children grow up with a completely different view of life than their parents. In that case, it will be hard for you to understand each other. Sometimes children’s cultural level is an order of magnitude higher than that of their parents, and this can be due to the influence of teachers at school or university teachers. For example, your parents are from a small village, and you have been able to go to a prestigious university, and you will no longer be able to share the same views on your parents’ lives. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone has their own way. It just needs understanding and tolerance.
It is important to know: Criticism is not always bad. Maybe you really have something to be criticized for? Maybe you don’t like the way parents comment on you, but what if they are right? Maybe there is really something to work on? Think about it, put aside resentment and other emotions. In cold blood, evaluate the essence of the criticism, not the manner in which it was presented. Analyze the criticisms from A to Z. If you don’t find common sense in it, reread the situations described above and draw your own conclusions.
Comparison with other children: This is a way of manipulating. It is a negative motivation for you, aimed to make you feel different, bad. A wise mom or dad will never try to motivate his child this way. It’s a dirty trick. Don’t ever be offended by the comparisons. And most importantly – don’t take them close to your heart. Be smarter. Only children fall for simple manipulation. But they are immature individuals, they can be forgiven.