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11 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do

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11 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do

Mentally strong parents are the most crucial ingredient in raising mentally strong children who have the courage to explore their passions, the ability to lead fulfilling lives and the values to be an exemplary member of the society. By ensuring that you know the do’s and don’ts of parenting with mental strength, you can raise your child to be a bolder, more prepared citizen of our world. So watch out, here are the11 things mentally strong parents don’t do.

1. They don’t preach

Mentally strong parents recognize that facilitating their child’s development by being a good friend to their kids works better most of the time than commanding and forbidding the child to behave in a certain way. They know that there’s a stark difference between simply lecturing/yelling and suggesting opinions to their children like a friend would.

2. They don’t jump to the same impatient conclusion about their children like everyone else

Most of the time, a child’s problems, behaviours, and attitudes seem difficult to control and on a downward spiral because the child can’t find a trustworthy, willing listener to confide in. Naturally, children are born with a trust in parents who nurse them in their very first days and so by default, children more readily confide in parents if they are patient listeners. When kids are unwilling to share their issues with their parents, it is usually because they have been judged or their previous problems have been incompletely and incorrectly understood when they last tried to express themselves. Mentally strong parents take the extra effort to always ensure that they are lending their full attention to listen and to understand their children from an unbiased perspective. They know that when their child is in a mess, it is because he/she has been misunderstood at some point. Great parents are sympathetic; even when they know their child is wrong, they respond to the issue with patience, understanding, and adopt a positive method to help their child overcome the obstacle.

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3. They are not adamant about living their own ambitions through their children

My parents have always dreamed that I would become a medical doctor and thus fulfill the ambitions of their own youth. Two years ago, when I told them that I didn’t want to study medicine, they were first shocked, and then saddened. But they quickly moved on after accepting that though I was their dear daughter, I am a different individual from what they are, and that I have different aspirations that ought to be respected and supported.

This is one of the hallmarks of mentally hardy parents. They recognize that their young ones are different individuals and do not push their own dreams on their children. Rather, they encourage their kids to reach their full potential in the fields about which their kids are personally passionate.

4. They don’t forget that ‘unconditional positive regard’ is the best way to parent

According to psychologist Carl Rogers, Unconditional positive regard is the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does. Unconditional parenting with resilient positive regard is the best means to raise a child with self-esteem, while still instilling the values that you want instilled.

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Unconditional parenting can be seen as parenting your children for what they are, not what they do. Even when their child does something unacceptable, mentally strong parents do not turn to negative means of disciplining their child. Rather, they remember who their children really are inside, and positively respond to the situation by offering to listen and showing that they still love their children. Ultimately, the strongest parents are aware that nothing beats the power of being unconditionally loved and positively reinforced regardless of one’s actions. Though it might be challenging to be shower unconditional love all the time, In the long run, they know that positive reinforcement will make their children the best individuals they can become.

5. they don’t force their decisions and viewpoints on their children

Instead, great parents let their children decide for themselves most of the time. Even in the most crucial times, mentally strong parents allow their children the liberty of thinking and speaking out for themselves, because they know that this autonomy to be their own person will tremendously boost the growth of their child’s personality as a confident, independent thinker.

6. They don’t claim to know everything

The wisest parents know that their children have novel, incredible ideas and interesting lives that can teach fascinating lessons which no book or institution possibly can. These parents recognize that learning from children is a fun, rewarding process and that there is much more in life that has to be learnt. Because they are willing to learn, they are also strong enough to let their children know that they don’t know everything.

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7. They don’t plan out their children’s entire lives in a neat map

Mentally strong parents let much of their children’s life to be shaped as time passes and things change. Besides saving up for basic essentials like education and medical insurance, they let their children earn for and carve their own adult lives from scratch. They leave their children just enough wealth to start off, but not enough to comfortably live their entire lives with their parent’s neat maps and money. Mentally sturdy parents let their kids build their own lives out of their own hard work and character.

8. They never, ever physically abuse their children

A mentally strong parent is smart enough to know what does the worst job of disciplining their kids: physical harassment. They don’t slap or hit or interact with negative physical contact. Instead, they look out for when their kid is doing a good job, and they reward this desirable behavior and appreciate their kids for what they specifically did well.

9. They don’t measure their kids’ success by the same measure as the rest of the world

Awesome parents know that their child is worth much more than the popular measures of success such as fame, money and an esteemed job title. They don’t raise their children for these superficial goals, but rather raise them in a way that prepares them to meet the challenges of life with a head held high, to live life optimistically, to view happiness as a journey, to find satisfaction in doing what they love and to seek meaning in themselves. Mentally strong parents look deeper into their child than the world does and encourage their kid to find success in his/her own terms, rather than in the terms of the world.

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10. They don’t suppress a rebellious child

Mentally tough parents don’t rebel against a rebellious child. Instead they are ready to view things from their child’s different perspective. They accept their child for who he/she is and never compare their child with someone else. Ultimately, the strongest parents forgive their children and embrace the uniquely extraordinary strengths of their own child’s character.

11. They don’t expect their child to learn from values that they don’t already represent

The most amazing parents teach their children by example. They understand that they cannot possibly instil values of honesty in their child when they are liars themselves or teach humility if they are pompous braggers pampering their kids. Mentally tough parents are ready to change themselves so that they become positive examples for their child’s growth.

Featured photo credit: Oliver Li via albumarium.com

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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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