Problem: Kids and teens often feel criticized when their parents evaluate, correct, or grade their writing.
Solution: Use editing and grading tools that encourage you to objectively correct the writing without criticizing your child.
When it comes to chores, character training, and schoolwork, you can’t always be the nice guy, the friend. Nope. You’ve got to be the parent. That means it falls to you to judge and correct your kids’ work—including writing assignments. But if you don’t do it with wisdom and purpose, you can unwittingly set them up for another stumbling block to writing success.
Worry about criticism from Mom or Dad is a huge issue for children. Knowing their paper isn’t perfect, they brace themselves for disapproval and harsh judgment. You might not react this way at all! But since kids see their writing as an extension of themselves, they project their fears on you.
Our children’s reaction to feedback can be summed up like this: If you criticize my writing, you criticize me.
Many kids feel personally affronted to see marks on their formerly unspoiled pages, It’s a dilemma for sure! But despite your child’s hypersensitivity, you still have to evaluate, edit, and grade.
What’s the solution?
Objective Tools Help You Correct Writing without Criticizing the Writer
An equipped parent is a confident parent!
Nothing makes the editing and grading chore easier and more pleasant than objective tools that equip you for the task. Your student can sense your confidence. She knows you’ll be consistent, and she won’t worry that you’ll be capricious or unpredictable with your remarks and suggestions. This kind of objectivity and consistency builds a lot of trust.
It’s as simple as using a good editing checklist that pinpoints particular things you can watch for in each paper. Now your student can see that your comments are not based on whim or mood, but on specific lesson expectations she accomplished—or failed to meet.
As you review the writing assignment, this impartial checklist lets you comment in a way that helps your child feel less criticized. Ultimately, when editing and grading become consistent and purposeful rather than arbitrary or illogical, you’ll see a big change in your kids’ attitude—and yours!
RELATED >> Check out Editing Tips for the Faint of Heart for specific ideas
Sincere Praise Helps Your Kids Accept Writing Feedback
Correcting without criticizing means first noticing your child’s writing efforts. Only then should you make gentle suggestions, along with generous servings of helpful comments and kudos. In this way, you’ll encourage improved writing without bruising that sensitive spirit.
When you give a final grade, laud your child with genuine praise. Again, make a point of identifying things done well and correctly, such as writing an interesting topic sentence or using a powerful action verb. And remember: if you use an objective grading rubric, you’ll know what these things are!
Is parent criticism a stumbling block for your children? What objections do you face when you edit or grade their writing assignments?
Checklists build confidence by ensuring that you only hold your kids responsible for the writing skills they’ve learned. Are you looking for a homeschool writing curriculum that provides you with specific editing and grading rubrics so you can correct their work without criticizing? If so, you’ll appreciate WriteShop Junior for grades 4-7 and WriteShop I and II for teens.