Last night we had a stressful dinner. Dinner? How can dinner be stressful? As a parent of 2 young boys, dinner time can be stressful especially when they don't want to eat or spill things. Last night, my son, Avery spilled his milk and made a mess dishing out his applesauce. My husband immediately criticized him for making the mess. After observing this situation, I came to realize how critical we can be as parents. We have lots of expectations for our children that really are unrealistic. How can we expect our 8 year old son to not make a mess when we have situations where we make unintended messes too? Watching Avery clean up his spilt milk, I was able to look into his eyes and see the disappointment. He clearly was remorseful for spilling the milk, but he also exhibited shame. Shame is not an emotion that an 8 year old should be showing after spilling his milk. Avery certainly showed this emotion after being criticized. Parenting is a tough job, but we need to take time to really learn about our children and their development. Life is tough enough and being critical has no business in our parenting toolbox. Think about how you are critical. Maybe you're not a parent, but are you being critical to others in your life? Is it really worth criticizing someone? Could it be that you have some unresolved issues that you need to be aware of?