Critical Feedback

Steve didn’t like how his wife Kate was dealing with their teenage son in the morning. Tommy was reluctant to get up for school in the morning and Steve thought Kate was too rough with him. Steve’s intention was to give Kate feedback about her approach, but when he did, it was actually criticism. Kate reacted defensively to the criticism. In addition, Steve was also telling her how to deal with Tommy—advice giving.

Feedback would be telling Kate how her behavior was impacting him, e.g., “When you call Tommy names for not wanting to get up, it really bothers me.” In this case, Steve is giving feedback by sharing his experience of how Kate’s behavior is impacting him rather than criticizing or correcting her approach.

Criticism is not feedback and feedback is not critical.