Whatever your views on marriage, you cannot get away from the fact that kids are in the front line and then some! Did you know that almost half of the firstborns today in the USA are born to unwed mothers? You may also be shocked to learn that by the time they are 16, about 50% of American kids will have to experience their parents’ divorce. That is about I million children a year.
Whether parents cohabit, marry, or divorce, the kids are always altered, for better or for worse. So, let us ask the kids what they think of marriage. Maybe they can teach us a few things about this institution because kids can be intuitive, perceptive, wise or naïve. It is fascinating to hear what their impressions are.
Marriage thrives on the couple having independent satisfying lives, according to all the marriage counselors out there. But you can have too much of a good thing because too much independence can lead to infidelity or being a workaholic. Perhaps kids realize what the warning signs are, such as:
“Don’t forget your wife’s name. That will mess up the love.” – Erin, age 8
“Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.” – Ricky, age 10
Spouses love being appreciated and given compliments on their talents, accomplishments and appearance. Who doesn’t like to be praised for how they look?
On Love and Children
“Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people care more about the food.” – Brad, age 8
Married couples are easily recognized. Usually, the loving glances and the affectionate arm holding as they walk the mall, make them easy to spot.
“We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.” – Henny Youngman
But what happens when discipline problems rear their ugly heads and kids get out of control?
“You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.” – Derrick, age 8
How do couples end up married?
“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.”- Will Ferrell
This question is an easy one for the adults to answer. Opposites attract or we end up with people who look like and behave just like us. Remember how you thought that your parents were just meant for each other? Some kids go a bit further and say it was all decided a long time ago!
“No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.” – Kristen, age 10
Divorce has profound effects on the kids
It is heart wrenching to watch the video below as children describe what they went through when their parents divorced. It is startling to realize how sensitive and perceptive the kids are as to what is happening around them, even when their parents refuse to tell them anything. They also take on the stoical role so as to protect the parents from the extra burden of worrying about them. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Kids’ views on marriage in general
As the discussions widen to include gay marriage, Jimmy Kimmel wanted to find out what kids think of that and also marriage in general. The responses here are surprisingly savvy. It seems that the worries about having to explain equal marriage to kids is unfounded. They seem to be well ahead of the game.
I love it when the kids who is asked “when is a good time to get married’” replies “in the afternoon.” It is also interesting to realize that many kids see that marriage is not always a picnic.
“It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.” – Kenny, age 7
Having high self-esteem is important if you are aiming for personal or professional success. Interestingly, most people will high levels of self-esteem act in similar ways. That’s why it’s often easy to pick them out in a crowd. There’s something about the way they hold themselves and speak, isn’t there?
We all have different hopes, dreams, experiences, and paths, but confidence has its own universal language. This list will present some of the things you won’t find yourself doing if you have high self-esteem.
1. Compare Yourself to Others
People with low self-esteem are constantly comparing their situation to others. On the other hand, people with higher self-esteem show empathy and compassion while also protecting their own sanity. They know how much they can handle and when they can offer a helping hand.
In the age of social media, however, social comparisons are nearly ubiquitous. One study found that “participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”. Basically, you will feel worse about yourself if you are constantly getting glimpses into lives that you consider to be better than yours.
Try to limit your time on social media. Also, when you do start scrolling, keep in mind that each profile is carefully crafted to create the appearance of a perfect life. Check yourself when you find yourself wishing for greener grass.
2. Be Mean-Spirited
People with low self-esteem bully others. They take pleasure in putting other people down. People with positive self-esteem see no need to down other people, choosing instead to encourage and celebrate successes.
If you find that you feel the need to put others down, analyze where that’s coming from. If they’ve had success in life, help them feel good about that achievement. They may do the same for you one day.
3. Let Imperfection Ruin Your Day
Perfectionism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but obsessing over making everything perfect is a sign that you have low self-esteem and can lead to never-ending negative thoughts. This can turn into an inability to solve problems creatively, which will only make self-esteem issues worse.
Those with high self-esteem disconnect from the results and do their best without expecting perfection.
People with that kind of confidence understand that messing up is a part of life and that each time they aim and miss success, they’ll at least learn something along the way.
If you miss the mark, or if your plan doesn’t work out exactly as you would have liked, take a deep breath and see if you can pivot in order to do better next time.
4. Dwell on Failure
It’s common to hear people dwelling on all the ways things will go wrong. They are positive that their every failure signals an impossible task or an innate inability to do something. People with healthy self-esteem discover why they failed and try again.
People with higher levels of confidence also tend to adopt a growth mindset. This type of thinking supports the idea that most of your abilities can be improved and altered, as opposed to being fixed.
For example, instead of saying, “I’m just not good at math; that’s why I did bad on the test,” someone with a growth mindset would say, “Math is difficult for me, so I’ll have to put in some more practice to improve next time.”
Next time you experience a failure, check out this video to help you believe in yourself again:
5. Devalue Your Self-Esteem
People with high self-esteem value their own perception of themselves – they understand that they come first and don’t feel guilty about taking care of themselves. They believe charity starts within, and if they don’t believe that, they’ll never have a healthy self-image.
Self-care is often top of the priority list for people with self-esteem. For some ways to practice self-care, check out this article.
6. Try to Please Others
They can’t please all the people all the time, so confident people first focus on doing what will make them feel fulfilled and happy. While they will politely listen to others’ thoughts and advice, they know that their goals and dreams have to be completed on their own terms.
7. Close Yourself off
Confident people have the ability to be vulnerable. It’s those with poor self-esteem that hide all the best parts of themselves behind an emotional wall. Instead of keeping the real you a secret, be open and honest in all your dealings.
As Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, points out, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen”. When you embrace each facet of who you are and allow others to see them as well, it will create deeper, more meaningful connections in your life. When that happens, you’ll realize that perfection doesn’t lead to people liking you more.
You can learn more about the power of vulnerability in this TED talk with Brené Brown:
8. Follow and Avoiding Leading
People with low self-esteem don’t believe they can lead, so they end up following others, sometimes into unhealthy situations. Rather than seeking a sense of belonging, people with high self-esteem walk their own paths and create social circles that build them up.
9. Fish for Compliments
If you’re constantly seeking compliments, you’re not confident. People with high self-esteem always do their best (and go out of their way to do good deeds) because it’s what they want to do, not because they’re seeking recognition. If you need to hear compliments, say them to yourself in the mirror.
You can even try some positive affirmations if you need a confidence boost. Check out these affirmations to get started.
10. Be Lazy
People work harder when they have high self-esteem because they’re not bogged down by doubts and complaints. Those with low self-esteem end up procrastinating and wasting their energy thinking about all the work they have to do rather than rolling up their sleeves and just getting it done.
This may also bounce off perfectionism. Perfectionists often feel intimidated by certain projects if they fear that they won’t be able to complete them perfectly. Tap into your confidence and simply do your best without worrying about a perfect outcome.
11. Shy Away from Risks
When you trust yourself, you’ll be willing to participate more in life. People with low self-esteem are always on the sidelines, waiting for the perfect moment to jump in. Instead of letting life pass you by, have confidence in your success and take the risks necessary to succeed.
People with low self-esteem are always in other peoples’ business – they’re more interested in what everyone else is doing than themselves. People with high self-esteem are more interested in their own life and stay out of others’ affairs.
Instead of participating in idle gossip, talk about some positive news you heard recently, or that fascinating book you just finished. There’s plenty to talk about beyond what this or that person did wrong in their life.
The Bottom Line
Self-esteem is to success in life. People who maintain a healthy level of self-esteem believe in themselves and push themselves to succeed, while those with low confidence feel a sense of entitlement.
If you need a boost in your self-image and mental health, avoid negative self-talk and the other mistakes of people with low self-esteem. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.