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11 Things You Must Do To Avoid Crippling Your Child

11 Things You Must Do To Avoid Crippling Your Child

I know how you feel. I know that creeping doubt in your mind that eats at you, asking whether the things you do to your child will harm him in some way.

There is so much information out there about child-rearing but honestly, it misses the mark. Somewhere there MUST be some true information that will explain what is happening in the parent/child relationship that will help it all make sense.

There are some basic misunderstandings that parents have and once you clear them up, you will have a better understanding of your child. And it is understanding that makes relationships work.

1. Realize who your child is.

Have you heard this quote? “You are a ghost driving a meat covered skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?”

I don’t know who said it. It is a big mystery but it has been circulating wildly around the internet and it resonates with people because there is truth to the statement.

Somewhere along the way, the idea surfaced that we are all animals, born from meat and bones and basically just meat-bags rolling around doing what animalistic meat-bags do. This is a relatively new and highly degrading viewpoint that leads to confusion in human relations.

This explanation simply doesn’t fly. If it did, the methods that we have been sold to help us understand and handle our children correctly would work and they don’t. Methods only work when your basic information is correct.

In the beginning, your child is someone who has recently woken up in a brand new, tiny body not knowing anything about this body and how it works. His first days and weeks are spent trying to figure out, where he is, what is happening, what his body is, and what does he have to do to make it work?

The following weeks are spent figuring out which muscles allow him to raise his head, move his fingers and what groups of muscles he must use to turn over and do a million other combinations of movements that will move his body the way he wants it to move.

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He has no way of communicating other than crying, so he cannot communicate effectively with you or anyone else. This is a huge source of frustration for him.

As he grows, he must learn the laws of the physical universe such as gravity. He has no idea that when he lets go of his balloon string, it will fly away. He struggles to make sense of this because he let go of his apple last week and it fell down. All he had to do was pick it up again.

Why does the balloon fly away when the apple doesn’t?

Everything he does in the physical universe is subject to these laws and they seem to contradict each other at times. Additionally, once he gets used to his body being a certain size, it changes and he has to figure it out all over again. This continues until he is grown.

On top of that, at a certain age, his body starts going overboard manufacturing hormones which greatly affect his emotions. Suddenly he seems to have no control over them and thinks he is going crazy. It is a very confusing time.

Children are not small animals. They are more aware than any science has ever taught us. The calculations they must make to get used to the body, hold a knife and fork and use their mouths to form words are staggering. Yet somehow they figure it out and get themselves up and moving.

2. Understand that your child is bombarded with way too much information every day.

From learning how things work, to acquiring a language, to understanding how people interact, your child has so much random information thrown at him every day that sometimes it is too much.

When I was in my teens I lived in Belgium and I was enrolled in a French school where no English was spoken. Every day, I did my best to keep up and every night I went to bed with my head swimming with French phrases and school subjects that I now had to learn in another language.

Additionally, the culture was different. I was mortified every time I did something socially incorrect. It was one of the most difficult times in my life. I had melt downs, but I had them in private.

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Children don’t do that. Sometimes they have their melt downs in the middle of the grocery store. Understand where that frustration comes from and be patient and loving when your child has had enough.

3. Create areas of agreement with your child.

The creation of areas of agreement by communicating with your child is a very profitable tool in the creation of a good relationship that lasts a lifetime.

This entails listening to your child when he talks to you about things that are important to him. It doesn’t matter whether you feel his ideas are important to you or not. If you make him feel that his interests are stupid, petty or not worth noticing, you are creating areas of disagreement and creating an upset child.

Let him talk to you about his video games and his friends. Let your daughter talk to you about her favorite stories. If you do this and take a real interest in what they are talking to you about, you create bonds.

4. Do not talk to your child in a way you would not talk to an adult.

Children are adults in training. They are little interns in the subject of life, learning what they need to know to get by. Despite what some “experts” may tell you, they are not born stupid or bad. They are really trying their best every day to make you proud.

If you comment in a positive way about the things they do, you will see that they start to do them more and more. Kids and even adults will do more of what they are complimented on. If you ignore most bad behavior and compliment good behavior, you will get more good behavior.

If an adult were communicated to in the way many children are communicated to, he or she would be furious and rightfully so! Children do not like being treated poorly any more than adults, and if you want a good bond with your child you will not insult or belittle him.

Listen to yourself and see if your words would be offensive if someone else were saying them to you. If so, choose different words.

5. Do not take your child on errands when he is tired or hungry.

If you do this you are begging for a melt down.

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Do you remember the last time you were in a grocery store, tired and hungry? Were you frustrated? If you had the chance to grab something off the shelf and eat it right then, would you have? Honestly, I have almost done so in the cookie aisle a few times.

That brings me to my next point, feed yourself before you go! Don’t go around tired and hungry. You need to keep your spirits up when raising a child. Take good care of yourself so that you have energy and patience to give to your child.

6. Teach your child compassion by being compassionate.

Compassion is simply being willing to take another’s viewpoint when he or she is suffering. If your child is upset, there is a reason. He is tired, hungry, suffered a loss or had an upset somewhere along the line. To him, these are terrible things.

He needs someone to hold him and agree that whatever occurred to him was ‘sucky.’ This agreement alone will make him feel better. Don’t point out what he did wrong or tell him what he should have done differently, just agree that it sucked. That is all it takes.

Children who are treated with love and patience tend to be more compassionate than those who have been pulled and hauled around, yelled at, and belittled.

7. Teach your child to be compassionate to pets and all life forms.

Let him know that animals have feelings and emotions and need love and care. He needs to understand that as a person, he has a duty to ensure that all living beings are cared for.

Let him see you help other people and say nice things about the people around you when your child is present. Indicate that people are mostly good and say nice things about them making them more real to your child. He will grow up with the idea that he is one of them.

If you say bad things about your neighbors, you give him the idea that he is different and they are inferior. This idea will hold him back in life and cause confusion in his mind about how to deal with others.

8. Don’t pass your issues to your child.

I once knew a woman who had an eating disorder and badgered her daughter so much that her daughter almost became anorexic. Understand that your demons are your demons and do not pass them along to your child.

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Manage your stress so that you don’t explode in anger around him. Take care of yourself so that you can care for him happily and without strain.

9. Never say or do anything that would make your child think that he is stupid.

When a child hears that he is stupid over and over again from a parent, sooner or later he will agree. When that happens, you have ruined him. Nothing is more crippling to a child than his own belief that he is stupid or cannot learn.

10. Understand when your child owns something, it is his to direct or control as he sees fit.

If you give your child something or if he earns it, understand that it is now his to do with as he pleases. I know there is a big deal about “sharing” in this society, but consider this concept. How would you feel if you recently purchased a nice new car and your boss forced you to “share it” with your co-workers. Or what if you bought a new pair of shoes that you love and you find your sister wearing them. When you protested, everyone told you that you were bad because you didn’t know how to share? Would you be upset?

Where did this idea come from? If you have something, it is yours. You can let someone use it if you want to but it is up to you. Why do we force our children to share their things? How could we think that this concept would be ok with them when we would be upset if it were forced on us?

11. Defend your child.

Never take others’ words when they criticize your child. People say things to cover themselves; and it is easier to blame a child than to take the heat when they mess up.

As an example, when my son was four years old, he was waiting outside of the classroom for his daycare provider who was late. The school secretary told all kids to get on the bus without checking to see if my son should have even been on that bus. My son did as he was told. At the end of the line, the bus driver told him to get out. No one was there to pick him up and he was left at a bus stop miles away from school in a sketchy part of town until another mother saw him and brought him back to school.

For over half an hour I had no idea where he was. I was sure he was gone. When I confronted school officials and the daycare provider about this huge blunder that almost cost me my child, they had the gall to blame my four-year-old son. They told me he should have known that he wasn’t supposed to be on that bus.

I learned the school had lost another kid the week before, nobody was upset, and in the end he was found. In the end, I was told that my son needed to work on his “refusal skills.”

Of all of the school officials and people who should have taken responsibility, the kindergarten teacher called me to apologize. The rest blamed my four-year-old son. Obviously this is an abomination but the attitude of complete abdication of responsibility is epidemic in every public school I have come into contact with.

Your child is the most precious thing you will ever have. He is an adult in a small and unfamiliar body forced into a universe that is completely new to him. He is not stupid. He has feelings and ideas from day one. He remembers things and he can be affected by negative behavior from the moment he is born.

And he places his absolute trust and love in YOU. Keep these things in mind as you interact with him. Knowing and recognizing your child for who he is, is the missing step in fully understanding him and raising him in a way that will be healthy and happy for you both.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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