Notice something great about their parenting (even if it’s a little thing) and tell them about it.
There is no more difficult job out there than being a parent. (If you care about being good at it, that is.) As they say, the days are long but the years are short. And those long days are often filled with doubt, uncertainty, fear, and a whole lot of second-guessing.
No matter how well intentioned you are, pointing out something that a parent could be doing better is not helping anything. At all. It’s just making those days longer. There is enough “constructive” criticism to go around already. (I’m looking at you, holier-than-thou Facebook updates, fear-selling magazine headlines in the checkout aisle, books by pointy-headed know-it-alls, and the lady with the raised eyebrows and sour puss face at the supermarket.)
Oh, and PLEASE refrain from those passive aggressive comments to the child that are clearly meant for the parent. You’re not fooling anyone and you come across as an ass.
Tip: If you really feel the need to point something out that could be improved, you’re not allowed until you’ve dished out at least five compliments spread out over multiple conversations. Try it any sooner and you’ll be ignored anyway.
This world doesn’t need more cynics, analysts, or commentators. What we need is more encouragers.
Making the day of a parent is not all that difficult. It’s just a shame that it happens so rarely.