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17 Things Only Parents Of Boys Can Relate To

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17 Things Only Parents Of Boys Can Relate To

From the moment you find out you’re going to be a parent, your entire world changes forever. You see new delights and new threats around every corner, and you learn things that no one else in the world knows. That’s especially true for parents of boys.

Of course, daughters will teach you plenty, too, but there are just some experiences that only people with sons can relate to.

For instance, as parents of boys, we know that:

1. Boys Are Not Indestructible

Sons are rough-and-tumble, but they are still human. No matter how big and strong our boys get, and no matter how macho they may act, they get hurt just like the rest of us. As parents, we need to master the art of monitoring their physical and mental pains without babying them through every crisis.

2. Boys Have Drama, Too

People who aren’t parents or who have only girls might assume that raising a son is drama-free, but we know better. They may not suffer from the same type of gossip and friendship crises that plague girls, but our sons generate plenty of emotional turmoil as they crash through childhood and adolescence.

From picky eating to late homework to bullying, a boy will keep your house stirred up at regular intervals for 18 years (or more).

3. Boys Always Need Us

Little boys have no trouble letting us know what they need, whether it’s a clean diaper or a sippy cup of milk. As they grow and start doing their own thing, it’s easy to think that our sons don’t need us anymore, but that’s not true.

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They may not rely on us every second of the day anymore, but their needs are deeper and more urgent than ever before. This really hits home the first time your son gets his heart broken and you have to pick up the pieces.

4. Boys Leave Legos Everywhere

Every single movie and every single television show that your son has ever watched or ever will watch has its own Lego universe of snap-together toys. They come in nifty little kits that a boy can put together in an hour or so, and then entropy takes over and he begins to pick apart the bricks, shard by shard, until your house is carpeted in thousands of foot-slicing knobs and corners.

They always seem to pierce your heel while you’re trying to get ready for work, too.

5. Boys Challenge Your Thinking

We want our sons to grow up strong and independent, and that means being able to let them form their own opinions and back them up. By the time they’re teenagers, most boys are only too happy to practice this skill on their parents, challenging just about every idea that comes out of our mouths.

It’s not all stubbornness and bluster, though – if you listen carefully to your son, he might just change your mind on some topics you hold dear.

6. Boys Grunt

Listening to your son talk with a friend on the phone is like eavesdropping on a couple of cavemen. A series of grunts and pauses somehow translates into plans to meet at the ball diamond after school, and that mode of communication trickles into other areas of life.

Try not to get too frustrated when every question is answered with “yeah” or “uh-huh” because there is a layer of real meaning just below the surface. Our job as parents is to chip away until we get enough bits of intelligible language to piece together the true story.

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7. Boys Want To Be Like Their Dads

Fathers of boys find out quickly that our sons want to be like us … usually just like us. If you haven’t noticed that your son is watching every move you make, it’s time to wake up to that fact.

You can’t behave like a jerk and expect your son to be a sweet kid, because he’s likely going to mimic you in every way.

8. Boys Want To Protect Their Moms

It’s an old cliché that men don’t talk about each other’s mothers, but it’s one that happens to be true, especially for growing boys. Moms and sons will have their struggles and spats, but if you’re a mom, know that your staunchest defender is your little boy, even if that means taking sides against Dad.

9. Boys Will Read All Night

The traditional image of a bookworm may be a girl with glasses cuddled up in the corner of a library, but parents of boys know better. We know that our sons have books tucked between their mattresses and inside their pillowcases, and we know that any light source will do.

Flashlights, glow sticks, digital clocks, cell phones – our boys sneak all of them into bed to support their reading habit.

10. Boys Can Use Anything As A Sword

Parents of boys know that we must guard our heads and crotches at all times, because the next crushing sword blow is just around the corner. Whether it’s an empty roll of wrapping paper, a dusty old broom, or grandma’s cane, any roughly cylindrical object is a great makeshift sword that our sons can use to practice their Star Wars-inspired fencing skills.

11. Boys Are Artistic

When our sons are young, they wallpaper our homes with drawings and finger-painted masterpieces. As they grow, most boys stop churning out the art and turn to sports, girls, math, and science, but don’t let that fool you.

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Those doodles in his school notebook and the mushy poems he writes to his girlfriend are your son’s way of letting you know that his creativity lives on. We need to nourish that artistic flame however we can and let our boys know that imagination is valuable, even as an adult.

12. Boys Do More Than Play Sports

As much as you might want to raise the next star quarterback or Wimbledon champ, some boys just don’t have any interest in sports. We can, and should, expose our sons to athletics, but it’s ultimately up to them if they want to play in the long term or not.

If they choose “not,” we need to support that decision and channel their energies in other directions.

13. Boys Blow Things Off

It doesn’t matter how responsible your son seems to be, there are important things he needs to get done right now that he’s not doing, and that you don’t even know about. That tattered and torn piece of paper your found in the dryer vent? That was his History assignment.

That call from the band director? Your son forgot to tell you that he had marching practice tonight. Boys just don’t get too excited by rules and boundaries, so stuff falls through the cracks all the time.

14. Boys Develop More Slowly Than Girls

From the time they are toddlers, the differences between boys and girls are on stark display. While girls are running around the living room, boys the same age are drooling down their chests, struggling to stand up. Many girls can read books before their preschool classmates can recognize individual letters.

Even later on, middle school girls are dating older boys while our teenage sons are watching cartoons and playing Minecraft. It doesn’t matter, though, because boys eventually do all of those things, and they still grow up way too fast. Enjoy the extended childhood while you can.

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15. Boys Figure Stuff Out

Sons frustrate us to no end when they can’t learn to tie their shoes or pour a glass of milk without splattering the kitchen floor. But if we let up on the gas a bit and give them time and room to work through issues on their own, boys will figure out just about anything.

How else can you explain that life-size replica of R2-D2 that your son built from spare Legos?

16. Boys Just Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Boys can be amazingly single-minded: your son might be able to describe in detail how to find a derivative in calculus, but he can’t tell you the name of the new friend he’s been eating lunch with all semester. What may be important to you is not necessarily important to him, and it’s pretty common for our sons to identify other kids with such witty nicknames as “blue shirt” or “green shoes.”

17. Boys Make You Feel Safe and Hopeful

If you’re having a bad day or feeling vulnerable about your life and the future, take a look at your growing son. He walks and talks and does amazing things every day. Most people may see a slouching kid who needs a haircut, but we see our boys for what they are: the fathers and husbands and leaders of tomorrow who will make the world better than we ever could.

Featured photo credit: Cristiano Betta via flickr.com

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Adam Hughes

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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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