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15 Things Every Parent Wants Their Children To Know After They Grow Up

15 Things Every Parent Wants Their Children To Know After They Grow Up

One of the most important things you can tell your kids is not to lose touch once they grow up! After all, lonely parents are abound: their kids have grown up, moved away, and may not make an effort to keep in touch. The family is a precious unit but most of all, parents should never be forgotten. Here are some common parental fears shared by all.

1. Don’t abandon us.

Yes, we know you had to leave the country for your job. Call us more often on the phone or via Skype. You will remember how we were always there for you when you needed us. Don’t let us become another statistic in that which says that half of the over 75s in the UK live alone with just the TV for company.

2. Look after us.

We had to look after you when you were ill, when you were upset, or when you grazed your knees while playing. Now that we are much more vulnerable, and liable to have not just aches and pains but major illnesses, pay us back in kind. Remember how you were taught to be responsible and do the chores? That helped you to become more resilient. You can do the same for us now by making sure that your responsibilities have not yet ended, regardless of physical distance. We don’t want a law passed, like in China, where children are legally obliged to look after their parents’ physical and mental needs. You don’t need a law because you still love us, just like we loved you all your life.

3. Work hard.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt.

The work ethic was strong in our family. We worked hard and honestly and taught you the work ethics which you probably did not realize at the time. Now that you are working, teach your kids the same and never take short cuts by manipulating others, being lazy, or shunning hard work.

4. Watch your manners.

How many times did we complain about your table manners? That was just the beginning in teaching you to be a well-mannered kid. Nowadays, bad manners such as loud talking on the phone, not covering mouth or nose when coughing and sneezing, and not offering their seat on public transport are everywhere. The next time you see that elderly person standing, remember that s/he was once a parent!

5. Be grateful.

“The best way that I can express my gratitude to my parents is by showing how much I care for them, express how much I love them, and showing them how they influenced me as a son to be successful in all that I’m going to do in the future.” – Inno Martin, actor

How many times did we teach you to say thank you and to be grateful for all the blessings life gave you? We always knew that you were precious and remarkable, and we were so thankful for that too.

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6. Help others.

Never forget how we taught you to give and pay it forward every single day. Each one of us has the capacity to brighten someone’s life. It is uplifting for the giver and the receiver. But the giver gets a greater sense of satisfaction and contentment.

7. Make allowances for our age.

When you come to visit, make a few adjustments in what you expect from us. We cannot move as quickly as forty years ago or remember everything! Think about when we had to teach you to eat, walk, read, and learn. Now, it’s your turn to be a little bit more patient.

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22

8. Stop fussing.

Don’t try and ruin our independence. It is the most precious gift we have. We too will learn from our mistakes in middle and old age. We allowed you to take the same risks and grow up when you were at school or going out on your first date. Just be there when we really do need you.

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9. Remember our milestones.

We always remember your birthdays and anniversaries. A simple gesture and one that shows we still love and care for you, as always. Don’t forget to do the same for us. We are quite flexible — a note, message, text, or a call on Skype. But it does not always have to be a special event; messages out of the blue are even better!

10. Look after yourself.

As parents we taught you to stay well and be happy. We encouraged you to do sports and to avoid eating junk food. Never forget those principles and avoid the trap of poor diet or exercise habits and being stressed out at work. Martin Seligman, a great advocate of positive psychology, was right when he said that psychologists need to study what makes happy people happy.

11. Learn to forgive.

In one alarming survey, only 58% children who were estranged from their parents wanted to restore the relationship. There is a deeper rift and estrangement is just a way of never resolving the problem. If you have grown distant in every sense of the word, let us repair the bridges and allow us to end our lives in love. The only way forward is to resolve the issues, find common ground and to forgive. We never let you nurse a grievance when you were young because we wanted to be there for you.

12. We respect your privacy and maturity.

Lots of parents plague their grown up children with questions about their lifestyle, marital status, and even their weight! We respect your privacy and we are making the effort to follow Ruth Nemzoff’s advice in Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How To Foster Rewarding Relationships With Your Adult Children. We just have one request: please help us to maintain our autonomy as long as our health and finances permit.

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13. We are here for you.

My father would say, “They’re worse than when they were babies” when we ran into trouble at work or in relationships. But that exasperation was a mere cover for genuine love and concern. We need to show you that we are always on hand for advice and hope you will do the same for us.

14. Patience is needed.

When you live at home, you do not want to hear the same old mantras about tidiness and communication all over again. Living together again requires that privacy is respected on both sides and that economic factors are going to play a large role before you become autonomous. A much better plan is to work out how and when we expect you to achieve full adulthood responsibility.

15. Cherish the memories.

Our only goal now is that we can end our days being cherished by you, wherever you may be. We know that challenges of elder care, financial burdens, and failing health may be daunting, but the best memories are the time and laughter we enjoyed together. That is the greatest gift of all!

Featured photo credit: Teaching a parent how to use Skype /Knight Foundation via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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