It can be harsh hearing criticism from your own children. After all, aren’t they supposed to be taking their cues from you? Aren’t you their role model?

When your children are little, you are the most important person in their life. They look up to you, depend on you. As they grow older, they grow into being their own separate individuals and start to differentiate themselves from you.

Even if you know it’s all part of raising children who can stand on their own two feet, hearing criticism from the child who once thought you were their hero can be challenging. Here are 5 lessons you can learn about handling criticism from your children.

1 – Listen to What They’re Saying

Sometimes your child’s criticism is valuable feedback on your parenting. Instead of reacting from the place of Always Right Parent, try listening to what they’re really saying. Maybe you’re not treating them in an age-appropriate way anymore. Maybe their needs have changed.

2 – Step Away from Your Ego

Being a parent doesn’t make you a demi-god. It’s okay for your kid to call you out sometimes. Let go of your ego and see if there is truth in their criticism.

3 – Give Them Feedback on How to Criticize Kindly

If your kid’s criticism is a bit too blunt, even rude, this is an opportunity to teach them about how to give constructive criticism. There are ways of providing advice that stay respectful and positive, and that’s a great life lesson for your child.

4 – Be a Good Role Model

Like so many other things, your children can learn how to offer constructive criticize from your example. So, take a look at how you speak to your child. Is it positive, supportive, and respectful? Is yelling involved?

Your kids internalize your values, your ways of interacting with people, and your patterns of behavior. Make sure you are setting a good example.

5 – Don’t Stop Being the Adult

However you deal with your child’s criticism, you need to stay in the adult role. You are still the parent, and they are still the kid. What you say goes while they’re under your roof.

So, while you should stay calm and respectful in how you deal with your child’s criticisms, don’t give up the parent role. Keep the parent/child boundaries clear and firm. Don’t allow rudeness or criticizing you in public. Don’t give up your power. Above all, set the tone for a relationship based on love, acceptance, and respect.