How to Respond When Family Critics Criticize Them

Receiving criticism from family members can be difficult, especially if it feels unwarranted or overly harsh. However, it’s important to remember that criticism can also be an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. Here are some tips for receiving criticism from family members:

Stay calm

When receiving criticism, it’s natural to feel defensive or hurt. However, it’s important to stay calm and listen objectively to what the person is saying. Take a deep breath, focus on your breathing, and try to stay present in the moment. This can help you better understand their perspective and respond constructively.

Ask questions

If you’re unsure of what the person is trying to communicate or if you need clarification, don’t hesitate to ask questions. This can help you gain more insight into their concerns and show that you’re interested in understanding their perspective.

Tips to handle criticism from family
Tips to handle criticism from family

Don’t interrupt

While it may be tempting to interrupt or defend yourself, it’s important to let the person finish speaking before responding. Interrupting can make the situation more confrontational and prevent you from truly understanding their perspective.

Listen actively

Active listening involves not only hearing the words the person is saying, Tips to handle criticism from family but also paying attention to their tone, body language, and underlying emotions. Try to listen actively by maintaining eye contact, nodding your head to show you’re engaged, and reflecting back on what they’ve said.

Don’t take it personally

It’s important to remember that the criticism is about your behavior or actions, not about you as a person. Try to separate the criticism from your identity and focus on the specific issue at hand. This can help you respond more constructively and avoid feeling personally attacked.

Look for the grain of truth

Even if you don’t agree with the criticism, try to look for the grain of truth in it. Is there any merit to what they’re saying? Is there something you could improve upon? This can be an opportunity for growth and self-reflection.

Consider the source

It’s important to consider the source of the criticism. Is it coming from someone who has your best interests at heart, or someone who is trying to bring you down? If it’s coming from a family member who loves and cares for you, their criticism may be well-intentioned, even if it’s hard to hear. However, if it’s coming from someone who has a history of being negative or critical, you may want to take their feedback with a grain of salt.

Respond constructively

When responding to criticism, it’s important to do so in a constructive manner. Thank the person for their feedback and let them know you appreciate their concern. Then, explain your perspective and how you plan to address their concerns. This can help diffuse the situation and show that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions.

Don’t get defensive

It’s natural to feel defensive when receiving criticism, especially from family members. However, getting defensive can prevent you from truly understanding their perspective and responding constructively. Try to stay open-minded and focus on the specific issue at hand.

Take time to process

After receiving criticism, it’s okay to take some time to process the feedback before responding. This can help you avoid saying something you may regret and give you time to reflect on the situation. Let the person know you appreciate their feedback and that you need some time to think about it before responding.

Practice self-care

Receiving criticism, especially from family members, can be emotionally draining. It’s important to practice self-care and take care of your emotional well-being. This may involve taking a break from the situation, engaging in activities that bring you joy, or seeking support from a therapist or trusted friend.


In conclusion, receiving criticism from family members can be challenging, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. When receiving criticism, it’s important to stay calm, listen actively, and respond constructively. Remembering to separate the criticism from the person, considering the source, and looking for the grain of truth can also be helpful in responding in a constructive manner. Taking time to process and practicing self-care can help you navigate difficult situations. Ultimately, learning from the experience and using the feedback as a way to improve can lead to stronger relationships and personal growth.

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