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10 Things You Shouldn’t Do To Your Children That You Think Are Acts of Love

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do To Your Children That You Think Are Acts of Love

Quite possibly, the most difficult job on Earth is being a parent. It doesn’t require any sort of licensure, schooling, or previous experience, and yet, we’re supposed to be masters at it. Not only is there no one right way to raise a child, but there are also tons of advice columns and websites offering contrasting opinions. Some long-held parenting philosophies can actually be detrimental to a child’s upbringing, such as those detailed in the following list.

1. Making your child the center of your world

Okay, newborn babies should definitely be the center of a parent’s world. As they grow, it becomes increasingly important to allow them time to grow as individuals. Not only that, but they must also come to the realization that you have a life outside of them. If you’re constantly dropping what you’re doing to cater to their needs (or more specifically, their wants), they’ll end up relying on you for everything. As they grow into young adults who are more than capable of fending for themselves most of the time, it’s important you let them do just that.

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2. Ignoring positive behavior

Children need positive reinforcement on a constant basis. For the most part, they honestly do not know right from wrong until it’s taught to them. I know in the real world you’ll never get pulled over by a cop and given money for stopping correctly at a stop sign, but you need to praise your children for a job well done — every time. Something as simple as, “Thank you so much for washing the dishes,” can go a long way. You can’t just assume your kid knows they’re doing a good job. Letting them know will build self-confidence within them, and they will ultimately end up doing good without needing praise.

3. Acknowledging negative behavior in unproductive ways

On the other hand, whenever your child does something they shouldn’t have, the knee-jerk reaction is to lay into them. While it definitely is important to respond to negative behavior and correct it, it should be done in an emotionless manner. Instead of flying off the handle, calmly state what was done wrong, remove the stimulus from the child (or the child from the stimulating area), and move on. If a child is constantly being yelled at, they will simply get used to it, and not really care whenever it happens. Being calm and rational in the face of negative behavior is the best way to nip it quickly in the bud.

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4. Not limiting behavior

You want your children to enjoy life as much as they possibly can, but as a parent, it’s your job to teach your children how to act in different situations. It’s definitely okay to put on old clothes and go splash in a puddle; however, it’s not okay to do this in your church clothes. It’s okay to talk while watching TV at home, but not while out at a movie. The best way to teach children about proper “time and place” is by demonstrating it yourself. They’ll always follow your lead, so make sure you set a good example.

5. Bending the rules or being lenient

If you have a set of rules for your household, it’s incredibly important that you always follow through with the consequences if the rules are broken, no matter what the case may be. If one parent bends the rules just once, the other will forever be known as the “bad guy”. This will cause more problems in the long run for the child, as well as the adult relationship. You have to be consistent in your punishments, or your child will learn that they might be able to get away with something at certain times, and not others. Put your foot down, and make sure they know who’s boss!

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6. Picking unwinnable fights

We all have heard the saying “choose your battles.” With children, this is of utmost importance. You should never stoop to a child’s level when a point of argument arises. Putting up a defense against a childish argument will only entice them more. Simply explain that you will not fight about whatever it is they want to argue about. It’s that simple: they want to argue, and you won’t stand for it. If they won’t eat their dinner, that’s totally fine. Eventually, they will if they get hungry enough. If they won’t do their homework, that’s fine; but there’s no Wii U tonight. Again, emotionless responses work the best to avoid escalating an already tough situation.

7. Not holding them accountable

I know we want to protect our children, and we usually see them as perfect angels. However, that’s not always the case, of course. They will cause trouble at some point in their young lives. Make sure they understand the consequences of their actions. This goes along with being consistent, but it even goes a bit farther. Look at the situation objectively. Understand that, though they are your children, their actions affect others that don’t care about them as much as you do, and will not think twice about punishing them for negative actions. Be sure to make them understand this as well.

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8. Giving in to what they want

Again, going along with staying consistent, you must never give in to their demands. In fact, children should never demand anything from their parents. No matter how much they pester you, it’s essential to remain persistent that your first ruling will be your final ruling. If you give in at some point, they’ll simply learn what your breaking point is, and skip right to it whenever they want something. If you say “No”, mean it!

9. Rewarding them incorrectly

Okay, I’m all for letting kids have some ice cream as a reward once in a while, but they can’t learn that tangible rewards come with every accomplishment. Doing so only makes them work for the reward. Instead, help them focus on how much they grew while completing whatever task they were working on. The reward should be their improvement, and the pleasure that comes from a job well done. Like I said, though: there’s nothing wrong with a little pick-me-up here and there!

10. Staying out of their lives

As children grow into adolescents, they often just want to be left alone. Unfortunately, this will simply further the divide between parent and child. While it’s important to give them space, it’s also important to be there for them, even when they say they don’t want you to be. Showing unconditional love is the best way to ensure a strong relationship with your child as they grow into an adult. They might screw up once in a while, and you might be just as upset with them as they are with you. However, these are the times you need to be there the most for your child, to ensure they grow up knowing they’ll always have your love and support.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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