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8 Things Only People With Strict Parents Would Understand

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8 Things Only People With Strict Parents Would Understand

If you grew up in a home where your parents ruled the roost with an iron fist, you may look back at it with a mixture of indignation and respect. Strict parents are usually authoritarian and show little warmth and affection, which is probably the one thing you wanted from them most of all.

Maybe your strict parents would be surprised and a little uneasy about research published in the University of New Hampshire, which claims that authoritarian parenting often results in delinquent behavior such as stealing and substance abuse.

Looking back on your own childhood, you see both the negative and positive effects of strict parenting. The question is, will you do it differently when you raise your own children?

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Here are 10 things your strict parents may have done.

1. They always regarded sleepovers with deep suspicion

As soon as the word sleepover was mentioned, all sorts of scary scenarios used to play out in their minds. If your parents were overly strict, this was a definite no-no. Even less strict parents made endless phone calls to your friends’ parents about the arrangements to be made. These parents had to be vetted. Even though you know they had your safety in mind as their top priority, you despised having to tell your best friend that you were forbidden to attend a totally harmless sleepover.

2. They thought academic success was very important

One of the great advantages of strict parents is that they wanted you to do your best and be successful in life. They pushed you hard, made sure that your homework was always done, and forbade you from taking shortcuts. These principles have stood you in good stead, because you know that hard work pays handsome dividends and that you now have enough self-discipline to meet life’s stiffest challenges.

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In fact, it seems that Asian and Chinese children do better academically due to an authoritarian style of parenting. They also scored higher on self-esteem than their American counterparts. It looks as if insistence on homework being done can be beneficial.

3. They constantly criticized you

Strict parents tend to be harsh with their criticism. As a youngster, you probably had to put up with complaints about your room, your untidiness, your laziness, your lack of character, your sloppiness, and your wastefulness. This also usually extended to cover your hair, clothes, friends, and tastes in music. Rather than encouraging you improve yourself, however, it only encouraged you to hide things from your parents. The clothes you had dared to buy in the mall were always carefully hidden, and you swore your parents would never, ever find your hidden stash of forbidden video games and movies. Strict parents want their kids to be well-mannered, but you always thought they went too far!

4. They set very clear limits and boundaries

One good thing about your authoritarian parents was that you always knew the difference between right and wrong. You learned about the values of honesty, thrift, and hard work. You were lectured about self-control. This was a great advantage when it came to resisting peer pressure at school and avoiding risky behavior in college. Because your parents always made sure you faced the consequences of your actions, you grew up understanding the risks of impulsive behavior.

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5. They gave you practically no freedom at all

You were driven everywhere – to school, to movies, and even to parties (the ones they let you attend, anyway). Your friends envied your attentive parents, but you would have preferred to bike or walk everywhere if given the chance. If your parents actually let you have a cell phone, they called you at all times of the day wanting to know where you were and what time you would be back. My brother hated these questions and always replied, “At half past!” You became adept at erasing your phone history and were extra careful about hiding your tracks, constructing stories that wouldn’t backfire and establishing alibis everywhere you went. It was exhausting.

6. They rarely intervened to help you or defend you

There was no helicopter parenting in your house. It was unthinkable that your mom would rush to your defense when you had a problem with your teacher, or storm into the coach’s office when you didn’t make the swimming team. Autonomy was your only choice, and that meant solving your own problems, often completely alone. There was no way to ask your parents for help because they would only blame you, punish you, and criticize you all the more. This was somewhat of a blessing, however, because you are now completely independent, and you never play the blame-game at work because you were never entitled as a child.

7. They ruined your fun with a very tight curfew

When you were finally allowed to go to parties or hang out with friends, your parents imposed a very tight curfew that often made you miss out on the best part of the evening. Getting garbled, second-hand versions from your buddies the next day wasn’t much consolation, either. You often wondered why curfews mattered so much, because bad things can happen to you at anytime, even in the afternoon!

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8. They taught you the value of money

Doing chores, sometimes earning a little money from them, was an important part of your upbringing because it taught you the value of money. Because of your parents’ emphasis on hard work and earning money, you knew how to save up for an important event and learned the basics of budgeting and financial management. You never counted on waiting around for gifts, and if a toy broke, there was no rushing out to buy a new one.

There are moderate approaches to everything in life, and that includes parenting. Kids who were brought up by overly permissive parents tend to be slackers, because they were never expected to work hard. They were overprotected and have none of the skills that help people survive in the adult world. Kids who had strict parents, on the other hand, had little freedom, were constantly watched and criticized, and were rarely encouraged or praised. The best solution is to adopt an authoritative parenting attitude where clear limits are set, but allows parents to love, support, encourage, discuss, and help out without being too protective.

Featured photo credit: homework/Bjorn Bulthuis via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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