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10 Things Parents Should Never Tell Their Daughters

10 Things Parents Should Never Tell Their Daughters

Remember that upsetting moment in your twenties, when you realized that everything does come down to Mom, Dad and Me? If you do, try not to forget it again, since it is a revelation that will someday soon come to your children as well. Being a parent, they say, is giving our kids two things – roots and wings. Keeping a balance between those is what makes the task so unbelievably hard. Misconceptions and unreasonable beliefs we endow our children with are rusty tools, and as all that’s covertly damaging, they tend to stay. It’s an inheritance they will pass on to their children, creating a vicious circle that never ends. If your little girl is off to womanhood, be cautious but determined, gentle but steady-handed, and never stop learning how to be better. In fact, start right away, and find out what never to say to your lady to be.

1. You’re a little young for that

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." - Golda Meir

    “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

    Young girls never lack responsibility. It’s not a gender myth that they are more meditative and ruminative then boys. Every child dreams and fantasises, but girls actually plan their future from a very early age. If you ask a kid what it would like to be when they grow up, a boy will tell you “an astronaut” or “a magician”, but a girl’s answer will be different. Their aspirations towards becoming teachers, nurses and actresses (which are usually the answers), show not a shortage of imagination and ambition, but exactly the opposite – their instinct to be solid and level-headed. With that being sad, be mindful of the fact that most girls do get the wedding of their young dreams, marry a man that resembles their childhood prince and achieve professional success in a field within reach of their goals. Therefore, if your girl decides to confide her hopes and desires to you, never underestimate their potency. Instead of telling her not to rush, help her embark on her journey. Support her determination and nurture it. Doing anything less would break her confidence and make her unsure of her own judgement. As an alternative, tell her this: “You can achieve whatever you want if you work hard, consider obstacles and learn how to overcome them.”

    2. Lower your expectations

    “I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say Yes, women can.” – Dilma Rousseff

      “I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say Yes, women can.” – Dilma Rousseff

      In the spirit of that, you should learn to recognize your girl’s potential early on, and never mistake greatness of talent for childish delusions. If by any chance, your sassy little lady comes forth with a wish of becoming something very specific and unusual for a child, like a painter, a horse rider or a psychologist, that only means that her interests are multifarious and her enthusiasm exceptional. Instead of advising her to lower her expectations and stick to being a child, enable her to explore her flair. Help her learn more about her wishes and find out for herself is she’s apt for realizing them. To cut her wings from the beginning would teach her to stay satisfied with what she already has, and never to reach for more. If a girl is not allowed to get to know her potentials and perceive a strength to outdo them, she will never reach fulfilment and self-realization. Let her find inspiration in powerful women, and support her to be ahead of her time. When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another, would be Helen Keller’s first lesson.

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      3. That’s a job for a man

      “I may be wearing makeup, but I can throw a fastball by you at the same time.” - Jennie Finch

        “I may be wearing makeup, but I can throw a fastball by you at the same time.” – Jennie Finch

        The most common barrier on the young girls’ road to professional and intimate development is simultaneously the biggest and most harmful gender misconception – there are jobs for men and jobs for women, and the line between them should not be crossed. Unfortunately, sexism is not yet surpassed, and is to be detected in fathers and mothers both. As a social illness, sexual discrimination has let its roots far and deep, and your efforts to rip them out will never be completely successful. The least you can do is teach your girl not to stumble upon them. Naturally, you will have to set an example and preach gender equality in your kitchen and garage both. For a father, that means introducing a girl to power tools, sports and stick driving. For a mother it means not keeping a girl over a sink and a washing machine. The more she learns about both worlds, the more she will be equipped for independence. With words as simple as Nobody can tell you what you’re suited for and for what you’re not, you’re preparing her to deal with this problem outside of the nest.

        4. You’re wasting your time

        “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.” – Susan B. Anthony

          “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.” – Susan B. Anthony

          Another frequent mistake we’re making as parents is not giving a chance to our children to waste time. What is meant by that is trying different things in life, even when we already know that they will be fruitless. A little angel or a high-strung teenager, your girl will most certainly come in the phase of her young life when she would want to take a year off to backpack through Europe, learn how to play bass guitar or try earning some extra money for herself by waitressing in a cafe. Even if her idea doesn’t look like a productive way of preparing for future adulthood, it’s an inevitable part of her road to maturation. To her gentle heart, You’re wasting your time means Do whatever you want, but I’m looking forward to saying “I’ve told you so”. Unfortunately for parents, young people are so busy growing up that they don’t have much time to think about what we actually meant to say. Therefore, try telling her this: If you’re certain that you’ve thought things through, have a go, and we will examine the process and figure out the next step together.

          5. I’ll do that for you

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          “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott

            “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott

            When our kids are still so young that we can smell that sweet baby odour on them, we tend to be a little too overprotective. That burning desire to keep them as safe and unburdened as possible usually doesn’t lessen even when they grow up. However irresistible it may be to parents to solve all of their children’s problems for them, on the long road, it may do more harm than good. Now, telling your growing-up girl not to worry, and finishing her house chores or doing other difficult tasks instead of her will not raise many arguments. She would hardly complain at all, at least until she’s old enough to acknowledge all of the consequences of such pedagogical measures. Before that time comes, I’ll do that will make her highly dependent, given that she won’t be able to obtain many skills and practical knowledge for herself. On the verge of her self-reliance, she will feel lost, confused and incompetent for her fully-grown existence. So, be smart and think likely instead of allowing your instincts to take over. For that, Try for yourself, and I’ll help you if you can’t do it is entirely appropriate.

            6. That’s not very ladylike of you

            "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” - Charlotte Bronte

              “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” – Charlotte Bronte

              Having a girl is the most delightful experience a parent can have. Delightful, because of all of the ribbons, stuffed unicorns and doll dresses laying around the house – or at least that’s what parents expect. Gender differences are beautiful and exciting revelations every kid will discover on its journey through adolescence, but sometimes they are imposed and, therefore, exhausting. Painting your baby girl’s room all pink is one thing, but expecting her to fit into your image of a perfect little lady is another. Often, parents are prone to following gender codes and general beliefs created by society and leave little space for a child to develop its own gender identity. For that reason, what you may think is ladylike, your girl can experience as unnecessary preconception. If she likes wearing baggy clothes and enjoys punk, there’s no rule against it. Instead of forcing her to be something publicly considered as feminine, support her to be nothing more than herself. Her unusual choices have nothing to do with her intellect and humanness, and ultimately, that’s all that matters.

              7. Don’t worry your pretty little head

              "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

                “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

                Adolescence is the most terrifying ride for both parents and the child. By experiencing the world of womanhood for the first time, and drinking her first cup of intolerance and injustice right after her first shot of tequila, a young girl can be utterly startled with what she feels. Puberty is confusing and messy, and constant mood swings and anxiousness are the least a parent can expect. That being the case, Don’t worry so much is the most potentially troublesome, triggering line a pubescent girl can hear. It creates the widest gap between a parent and a child, and is, for that reason, always followed with You don’t understand me. So try to! And if you can’t, at least let her know that you’re doing your best. In this blossoming age, a girl needs her safety-net the most, so be sure that she knows that she can find one in you. Otherwise, slamming the door will be just the beginning of ongoing misunderstanding between two sides. By telling her I understand, you’re showing her that you respect her emotions, and are willing to listen and give advice and help whenever she needs it.

                8. Look up to her!

                “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” - Judy Garland

                  “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland

                  While she is little, there’s barely a thing more exciting for a girl then trying to look like her older sister, cousin or a family friend. Even her mom’s closet seems like a world of infinite potentials. But those things change once your daughter starts acquiring her own identity. Being a teenager is an exhausting quest for uniqueness. For a young woman anxious to discover her place under the sun, any sort of comparison to another girl is a source of frustration. Imagine being in a state when you don’t fully grasp who you actually are and who you’re supposed to be, while someone persistently trying to compare you to a different person. Nerve-racking, isn’t it?  By pushing her to look, behave or simply be like someone else, you’re tearing down what’s already a shaken image of her individuality. Therefore, whenever you think of establishing a good role-model for your little girl, start from yourself. As an alternative to Look up to her, say nothing at all, and actually give her an example to regard on a daily basis.

                  9. Try not to eat so much

                  “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” - Judy Garland

                    “My smile is my favorite part of my body. I think a smile can make your whole body.” – Serena Williams

                    Talking of puberty, another thing a parent should never neglect is a girl’s growing sense of her body. Adolescence is a phase of familiarisation with a physical being, and for a girl, that means constant struggle with images imposed by popular culture. It’s a time of insecurities, self-doubt and lack of confidence. The last thing a woman to be needs is for her closest to meddle. Therefore, approach her body issues with the greatest caution and thoughtfulness. Never tempt her to eat more if you notice she’s on a diet, but take interest in the matter and advise her to talk to a nutritionist and eat healthier food. Such advice is proper in opposite case as well. If you notice she’s been neglecting her body and putting on weight, be subtle about it. Instead of Don’t eat that junk, get informed on other choices of nutrition, and gradually implement them in your family routine. Also, inspire her to exercise more, and do that by setting an example yourself.

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                    10. You’re too good for him

                    "A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one.” - Marjorie Kinnan

                      “A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one.” – Marjorie Kinnan

                      This tender age can be a bit more difficult for girls than it is for boys in one way. Rejections and heartbreaks are severe for both, but they can leave some serious, long-lasting marks on a girl’s heart. Besides that, it’s somewhat harder for a girl to introduce her chosen one to a family. Parents are usually more protective over girls once they start exploring their sexuality, and their love choices are traditionally unfitting to parent’s anticipations. Even if you notice how mismatched your girl and her sweetheart are, never voice your opinion directly. Instead of You’re too good for him or You’re not a good pair, show interest in him, and motivate your daughter to confess to you whenever she has a problem of intimate nature. If it does occur, encourage her to understand where it comes from. As an alternative for categorically rejecting her beloved, try explaining that every individual is unique, and sometimes differences between the two can’t be surpassed. Be absolutely careful that your attitude towards your girl’s boyfriend isn’t formed with prejudice about his social status, family or appearance.

                      "A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one.” - Marjorie Kinnan

                        “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” – Peggy O’Mara

                        However lovely it may seem, raising a daughter is an emotional roller-coaster. Girls pay attention to what you say and, mind you, how you say it. Regardless of how tired and frustrated you are, remember to take a deep breath and count to ten before making a statement she won’t forget. Words are a powerful tool, and the right choice of them will foster a girl with a mind, a woman with an attitude, and a lady with class.

                        Featured photo credit: Girl playing with a rabbit via bhmpics.com

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                        Vladimir Zivanovic

                        CMO at MyCity-Web

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                        Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                        How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                        Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                        When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                        Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                        What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                        Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                        1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                        Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                        Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                        It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                        2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                        This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                        Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                        3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                        It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                        I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                        If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                        4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                        While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                        To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                        My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                        Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                        Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                        How To Be a Better Listener

                        For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                        1. Pay Attention

                        A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                        According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                        As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                        I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                        2. Use Positive Body Language

                        You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                        A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                        People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                        But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                        According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                        “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                        Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                        3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                        I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                        Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                        Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                        Be polite and wait your turn!

                        4. Ask Questions

                        Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                        5. Just Listen

                        This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                        I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                        I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                        6. Remember and Follow Up

                        Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                        For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                        According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                        It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                        7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                        If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                        Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                        Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                        Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                        NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                        1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                        2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                        8. Maintain Eye Contact

                        When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                        Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                        By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                        You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                        And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                        More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                        Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                        [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                        [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                        [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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