“We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.”- President Barack Obama
I know so many fathers who were barely present when their children were growing up. Yet the father’s role is a most important one because, aside from providing a safe home, he must carry out the duties of fatherhood diligently. That includes loving support, guidance and encouragement in winning life’s battles. Here are 14 things a responsible father will never do.
1. He will never set a bad example.
How many times have you heard a father tell his kids that there are certain things they must not do, like losing their temper and behaving badly? The problem is that some fathers lose it and are not a role model for their kids at all. They lose their temper when driving and curse the other drivers loudly. They forget that kids copy behavior.
“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” – Charles F. Kettering.
2. He will never beat or spank his kids.
An irresponsible father uses physical violence and beating to impose the rules. But a good disciplinarian knows how to use other methods which are far more effective in the long term. Using violence is teaching a child that aggression is one way of dealing with conflict.Advertising
3. He will never cancel prime time with his kids.
Children expect parents to be present. Workaholic fathers never carve out time to be with their kids and they feel neglected and abandoned. Enjoying games, movies and outings together is precious and a really good father knows that and will rarely cancel because of some urgent work commitment.
4. He will never forget important milestones.
Fathers have to remember the milestones in their kids’ lives and make a firm commitment to be there. These can be anything from an important match to a birthday party or graduation from high school. The best way to get to know a child really well is by following his progress and achievements. When fathers fail to turn up, kids are really disappointed.
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”- William Shakespeare
5. He will never criticize his kids unfairly.
You know the scene. Fathers tend to pick holes and criticize their kids’ efforts and belittle them. They do not realize that when a kid washes the car, they need to encourage them by praising them for doing a good job. If they have missed some dirty spots, the responsible father tells his kids that they should go over the car and check for the smaller spots they may have missed. It is also a way of teaching kids to do the job well.
When I told my father that I was doing my best, his reply was “Your best isn’t good enough!’ It was very discouraging.Advertising
6. He will never let his relationship with his spouse affect the way he treats his kids.
When conflict and tension begin to sour marriages, kids are often the first to suffer. An unloving and uncaring father will let his resentment take over and may well spend less time with the kids as a way of getting even with his wife or partner. A responsible father will always let his precious values dominate family life.
7. He will never show disrespect.
When a father loves and respects his spouse and kids, this sets the tone for family relationships. But when a father allows disrespect and bitterness to flourish and never hides this from his kids, they will never be able to love and respect him. This should be reciprocal and it is an essential element in responsible fatherhood.
8. He will never be authoritarian.
Most parenting experts point out the difference between being authoritarian and authoritative. The former means that the father is always right and imposes the rules in a very harsh and often violent manner. Being authoritative means that the father will offer his kids choices and chances to grow in a warm and supportive environment. You can read more about this is Laurence Steinberg’s book called We Know Some Things: Adolescent-parent Relationships in Retrospect and Prospect.
9. He will never be totally permissive.
The other end of the spectrum is where fathers allow their kids free rein to do what they like and they thoroughly spoil them. This is totally irresponsible because the real world out there is full of obstacles, limits and rules. Being permissive is the worst possible way you can bring up a child because he or she will never function well in society.
“People are saying it takes a village to raise a child, but first it takes a mother and a father, who are understanding, compassionate, nurturing, and responsible – working together to instil discipline, character, integrity, and responsibility in their children.”- Charles Ballard
10. He will never be detached.
Irresponsible fathers put their children at considerable risk. They refuse or cannot be bothered to look after them while playing or when they need emotional support. Such detachment is bound to lead to injury at a physical and psychological level. This is the view of Anita Gurian who is a professor at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry unit at the NYUMedicalSchool.
11. He will never lie to his children.
“So my father was a person who never lied to me. If I had a question, he answered it. I knew a lot of things at a young age because I was intrigued.” – Nick Cannon.
Research shows that by the age of 5, children are expert liars! Many of them have learned the art from watching their own parents lie. The parents sometimes tell them how to do it by suggesting they lie to their grandparents to pretend they like their presents. Another favorite is to ask them to tell callers that they are not at home when they are in. There are even parents who are prepared to lie about their residency to get them into a better school. They risk up to 20 years in prison if they do that. What a great example!
It is therefore a surprise to learn that parents get upset when their own kids lie to them. But who taught them? A responsible father or mother will know the dangers of lying and will always try to tell them the truth.
12. He will never ignore a plea for help.
When things go all wrong, it is terrible if your father is not there or even willing to listen. He never has any time for his kids. The kids feel that they have no one to turn to unless Mom will help out. There is now much debate in the UK about changing the Dickensian laws on neglect of children which were introduced in the Victorian era. The proposed law would make child neglect a criminal offence.Advertising
13. He will never insult his kids.
I know some very strict and rather harsh fathers who make a habit of insulting or deriding their kids. They call them stupid, lazy and untidy, just to mention a few. There is always something to criticize and they are doing this in front of friends, relatives and even colleagues. The responsible father will err on the side of over praising and encouraging their children so that they never have low self-esteem.
14. He will never stop loving his kids.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”- Sigmund Freud.
A responsible father will never stop loving his kids in any conditions. Even when marriages break up, a father must always maintain contact, even if he is at the other end of the world. It is so important for the mother not to ruin or pollute the child’s view of his father. The same goes for the father because very often parents use the sad event to denigrate the other partner. This is why parents should always encourage their kids to set up a Skype account so that they can still maintain contact.
Do you have happy or unhappy memories of your father? What made him the best or worst dad in the world? Let us know in the comments.
Featured photo credit: Grandfather and grandson. black and white. Focus on child via shutterstock.comAdvertising
Last Updated on July 20, 2021
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro
- 10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time
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