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20 Questions Parents Should Ask Themselves Every Day

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20 Questions Parents Should Ask Themselves Every Day

Having children is like living in a frat house — nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. – Ray Romano

Parenting is both the most difficult and most rewarding job. Kids don’t come with a manual, but if they did it might include these questions you should get in the habit of asking yourself.

Are My Kids Having Fun?

Life tends to get so busy that sometime we forget to prioritize play.

Am I Having Fun?

Same question (almost). If you are so busy chauffering and cooking and doing laundry that you are forgetting to enjoy your children, you need to take a hard look at your priorities.

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Did My Child Eat Well?

Consider quality, not quantity. Were fruits and vegetables the bulk of the diet? Great. Are you limiting too strictly? Every child needs to taste cotton candy once.

Did My Child Sleep Well?

Children need their sleep. If they aren’t getting a reasonable amount of sleep they are not thriving.

Did My Child Learn Something?

This isn’t the same as a getting good grades. It’s about being curious and excited to learn anything from weaving to dinosaur names. Open their minds to the joy of learning.

Did My Child Successfully Negotiate Stress?

Kids need to learn to recognize both how stress feels and how to reduce it in order to navigate the adult world. If you never allow them to experience fear, failure, or grit, they don’t get the opportunity to develop these skills.

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Did I Yell?

How did you feel after yelling? How do you think your child felt?

Why Did I Yell?

You know yelling feels awful for both you and your child. Why do you do it? Some part of you thinks that it works. Remind yourself that it is not the most effective way.

Did I Blame My Child?

If you hear yourself saying “you make me so mad” or “you make mommy sad,” it is time to take ownership of your feelings. “When you come home late I feel worried” or “when you use that tone of voice I feel like you don’t respect me” would convey your feelings without blaming your child for them.

Did I Praise Enough?

It takes seven positive comments to negate the effects of one negative. To build our children’s confidence and self-esteem, we need to praise them more than we might think.

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Did I Praise the Right Things?

Praising a child for things like being smart or pretty is actually harmful to his ability to become resilient. If the child thinks smart is something he is rather then recognizing the grit he puts into learning something, when he eventually is confronted by something that is harder to learn he might think he isn’t smart rather than attempting to work it out.

Am I Treating My Child’s Success as My Own?

Recognize that if she is successful, it is her own. You don’t get to relive your dreams of becoming a soccer player or ballet dancer through your child.

What Do I Want My Children To Feel Today?

Important, respected, and happy.

If This Was My Last Day, What Would I Do Differently?

We have to go to work and cook dinner and do homework but if we looked back on the day, would we do it this way again? Did you laugh? Did you listen?

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Did I Do Something Today to Foster My Child’s Independence?

As your child’s pre-frontal cortex develops a parent is tasked with balancing independence with protection. What are you still doing for your child that he could be doing for himself? Let him do it, it helps foster self-trust.

Am I Parenting Out of Fear or Comfort?

Am I moving towards something I want for my child or away from something I don’t want? It is always more powerful to move toward.

Am I Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

Are you helping your child avoid things she doesn’t like doing? That is encouraging avoidance. Instead be on her side encouraging her to develop grit and perseverance.

What Is My Most Important Role as a Parent?

Spend some time thinking about this, then align all your parenting with that role.

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Did I Learn From My Mistakes?

We all make them. Admit, then learn from them. Move on. Tomorrow is another day and you need to model this for your children.

What Am I Thankful For?

Reminding ourselves of what we already have or do opens our minds to finding more great things and opportunities as parents.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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