If you feel better than other person in any relationship -be it parent child, marriage or friendship, all you are doing is projecting CONTEMPT.
Criticism for long time clubbed with heavy intensity develops negative thoughts about other and leads to contempt.
Ways we communicate with contempt, when
• Treat with disrespect
• mock them with sarcasm
• hostile humor
• body language such as eye-rolling and sneering.
In whatever form, contempt is a poison in any relationship because it conveys disgust and superiority.
With young children, it may develop sense of unworthiness and low self-esteem and with teenagers it might lead to shut down, withdrawal or tuning out.
We as parents, do feel superior in practical aspects of life, just because we have been there and done that (be it academics or social skills). It gets coupled with parenting responsibility and guilt.
Most common objections parents have whenever I discuss this are:
“If I don’t teach her than who will “?
“They need to learn how to handle it themselves as world is not just praise?”
But what we miss out on always is the understanding of child’s emotions which doesn’t have any superiority in relationship.
How about operating from understanding of your emotions around situation first and then responding?
How about acknowledging child’s emotion and stating your feelings and needs around the situation?
How about questioning your beliefs patterns and slowing down on criticism?
One can try stating one’s feelings and need around the situation, as a start for short term antidote.
“I’m feeling anxious about your procrastination and I need to make sure that it doesn’t affect you later. Can we talk about how to make that happen, so it works for both of us?”
For being punctual:
“It’s very important to me to be on time. Can you please help me with figuring out a way to be on time to school?”
For long term, we need to work around our beliefs which triggers contempt and criticism, need to question our fears, develop habit of doing small positive things for others and most importantly be consistent to build deeper compassionate connections.
Whenever I work with parents, they look out for short term benefits with short term antidote but miss out on consistency, leading to more messier situations.
I encourage you to journal about small, positive things for your , child , partner or friend every day, create that system and be consistent to defeat Contempt .