Children who are hyperactive or suffer from
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have a lot of trouble handling
criticism. They tend to be emotionally high-strung and overreact to things.
They also are more likely to receive criticism and negative feedback from
adults. All this adds to their frustration and stress to make it harder for
them to handle criticism. They may experience criticism much like everyone
else. They just do not hide their feelings as well.
Children who need to be too perfect also have
trouble with criticism. For them, even a small comment or suggestion may be
hard to handle. They see it as an attack on them personally. If their work is
not perfect, they see it as totally wrong. You might see one of these children
destroy all the work he has done on a project if someone finds fault or
suggests a way of improving it. It is perfect or it is junk. This is the
extreme; but degrees of the problem are not uncommon.
If your child can handle criticism, he can
manage almost any problem, including most learning problems. If he cannot
handle criticism, helping him is tough no matter what his problem is.
Talk with him about the problem. Try to see how
criticism feels to him. See what he thinks and feels when someone criticizes.
Until you and he get past the problem, it will be hard to help, hard to deal
This is the bind. Talking with him about the
problem is itself criticism. You are criticizing how he handles criticism.
This might work. “You have me in a real bind.
I have experience and know some good stuff. I learned most of it by doing
things wrong and making mistakes. Here is my problem. Sometimes I see you learning
the way I did. I see you are doing something wrong or in a way that doesn’t
work very well. I think it would be easier for you if I told you what I’d
learned; but when I do, you get upset or bent out of shape. That makes me feel
like ‘Why bother?’ Should I say something or just let you learn the hard way?”