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20 Reasons Why Having Young Parents Can Add Meaning To Your Life

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20 Reasons Why Having Young Parents Can Add Meaning To Your Life

For most people, becoming a parent is a life-changing experience. No matter who you are and how old you are, it’s a significant time when you learn the power of unconditional love, selflessness, laughter and how to make time for those who matter.

I know this because I’m 26 and I have three young children. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experiences I’ve had as a parent. In fact, my husband and I believe that becoming parents at an early stage of our lives has always benefited us, and our kids, in so many ways.

Here are the 20 reasons why having young parents can add meaning to your life.

1. They take you on their own learning journey

I was 18 years old when I had my first child. Although my husband and I were already talking about babies, we were not emotionally and mentally ready to have children yet. We were still in the process of learning who we were and what was important to us. But becoming parents has helped us to grow as people. It has given us more confidence, taught us to care less what other people think, to appreciate the important things in life.

Young parents may not always have the financial stability that older parents have, or the life experience, but we are always learning. We are always giving it our everything. We are always showing our children that no matter what age or stage you are at in life, you always have the potential to learn something new.

2. They make mistakes

Over the past 8 years, my husband and I have become much more patient and understanding parents. We weren’t always like that. At the beginning, we struggled to put on the first diaper, our children’s diets weren’t as healthy as they could be, and we were so focused on routines that we didn’t just enjoy being a parent.

Having children young means that we may not always know what the right thing to do is. But that’s okay.

I’ve always admitted my mistakes, and I’ve always taught my kids that it’s okay to get things wrong. My kids are learning that it’s okay not to be perfect.

3. They always strive to become better

I used to be someone who was too shy to ask questions. Someone who never put their hand up in class. I had a really low self-esteem and lacked confidence. Becoming a parent changed all that for me. I learnt that it takes a lot of courage to speak up. That there’s no shame in asking for help.

Young parents know that others think they’re not ‘up to the job’. They know that people doubt their capabilities. But they absolutely love their children and they are determined to do what’s best for them.

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4. They show you that life is filled with ups and downs

Our family has gone through many different challenges. We’ve moved house several times, we’ve overcome family difficulties, we’ve encountered other personal problems. But we have survived.

Young parents know that difficult times can come and go, but sticking by each other is what’s important.

5. They have an optimistic view of life

As a 26 year old, I am very hopeful about my future. I believe that I still have my whole life ahead of me. I have many more dreams, goals and achievements to strive for. I have places to see, people to meet, lessons to learn.

When raising my three young girls, this approach helps to encourage them to believe that anything is possible. That life is full of so many opportunities. That your life can be whatever you want it to be.

6. They remind you to laugh

My husband and I often do a lot of laughing around our kids. We believe that life can be so stressful and that this is why it’s important to see the lighter side of it. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Having young parents means that you can often bounce back easier. That you can find the humour in every situation.

7. They like being silly and playful with you

Our girls love to hang off their Daddy’s legs like monkeys. They also like to tickle him and chase him around the house. I love sipping on tea with my girls and pretending we’re all having a picnic. Young parents often love to chase their kids around, to crawl around with them in an indoor play ground, to sing along with them in the car. We know that we can be silly at times, but it’s always worth it when our reward is our child’s laughter.

8. They share their hobbies and interests with you

My husband and I first met in a car club. He still loves to tinker with cars and my interest still exists as well. Our girls have a passion for cars too. Sharing our hobbies and interests with our kids shows them that as well as being parents, we’re individuals with our own likes and dislikes.

Young parents want their kids to know that they didn’t ‘mess up’ their life. In fact, they’ve completed their life.

9. They can relate to how you’re feeling

I still have very vivid memories of my childhood. Memories of the activities I did, who I spent time with, and the times when I got upset.

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Although young parents are often seen to have less emotional maturity, they can still imagine how their child would be feeling. They can think back to their own childhood and use that as a starting point. For many young parents, it really doesn’t feel too long ago a time.

10. They show you that it’s okay to cry

My children have seen me cry, and I know there’s no shame in that. I want my kids to know that we all feel down sometimes and it’s much better to let it out. That strength comes from acknowledging how you feel, as opposed to bottling it up inside.

Young parents might be going through a lot of hardship, and struggling to keep their emotions intact. But by crying it out, they’re showing their kids that they’re only human.

11. They don’t let others’ negative opinions rule their life

As a young mother, I’ve been confronted with a lot of criticism and judgement. I’ve had strangers make snide comments. I’ve had my parenting ability questioned because I’m “too young to understand what’s best for your child.”

But I’ve had to have confidence in my abilities. I’ve had to remember everything I’ve done for my kids. All the trouble my first child had breastfeeding and the fact that I persevered. The hundreds of specialist appointments I’ve attended for my girls. All the time I’ve spent rushing back and forth for my kids, determined to do what’s right by them.

Young parents may be given so much unsolicited advice, but they remain strong and do what’s best for their family. They teach their kids that you have to do what’s right for you, not somebody else. That your own happiness is what’s most important.

12. They want you to be less judgemental of others

Being met with all this negativity hasn’t turned me into a bitter person. It’s helped me to raise my children to be kind, to respect others, and not to judge.

Young parents are often judged, so the last thing they want is to do that to someone else.

13. They learn forgiveness through you

I’ve never had the best relationship with my mom. We’ve always clashed due to our personality differences.

But after becoming a mother at 18, I realized all the sacrifices that my mom made to raise my siblings and me. It gave me the strength to forgive her for all the painful things that happened in the past.

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Young parents may have had a difficult relationship with their own parents, but they want their kids to know their grandparents. They want their kids to understand their own identity and to have a greater sense of family.

14. They want you to never give up on your dreams

When I became a mother for the first time, I put my college studies on hold. I chose to stay at home and be there for my daughter. But I never gave up on my dreams. I never gave up my ambitious nature. I never gave on my passion for helping others through psychology and personal development. I now study and work from home.

Young parents do put many of their dreams on hold. They’ve made sacrifices along the way. But they’ve also proven that if they dream hard enough, their dreams can still come true. They want you to know that you shouldn’t give up either.

15. They teach you the importance of self-love

For the first 5 years of parenting, I hardly ever did anything for myself. I was so determined to give the kids my full attention, I dismissed my own needs. But now, I’ll buy things for myself. I take a bit more pride in my appearance. I don’t always say ‘yes’ to please everyone.

Young parents may be stereotyped to be more ‘selfish’, but we just don’t want to completely forget what matters to us. We know that a child deserves a mother who is happy with who they are.

16. They share practical advice with you

When my husband and I had our first child, we’d only moved out recently. We weren’t cooking healthy dinners, we were struggling to keep on top of the housework, and had financial difficulties. But as our circumstances improved, so did our skills.

Young parents are still learning to juggle the responsibilities of being an adult, as well as a parent. But as they’re learning, they’re able to share it with their kids along the way too.

17. They believe in second chances

I have been a stay at home mother. I have worked from home. I have studied from home. My life never stopped because I had children. It simply changed.

Young parents know that sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way that you expected it to, but not to feel discouraged. They want their children to know that you can always get right back up again.

18. They teach you the meaning of unconditional love

All parents make sacrifices. They put their careers on hold. They stop going out as often and don’t remember the last time they had a good night’s sleep.

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Young parents may have to sacrifice just a bit more, but they’re not wishing things were different. Those sacrifices have just deepened their love for you.

19. They teach you to cherish the moment

My husband and I want our kids to value working hard, but we also want them to enjoy life too. We want them to spend hours at a playground just because it’s fun. We want them to dress up in costumes and pretend to be whatever it is that they want to be. We want them to experience life, try new things, step outside their comfort zone.

Being a young mother, I want to make these ‘extra years’ count.

20. They’re proud that their lives are more meaningful now

Throughout the past 8 years, my husband and I have been met with a lot of confusion and surprise. “Why would you want children so early?” people would ask. But for both of us, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s a quote that sums up perfectly how I feel:

“Being a young mom means that we met a little early, but it also means I get to love you a little longer. Some people said that my life ended when I had a baby but my life had just begun. You didn’t take away from my future, you gave me a new one.” – titaa

I am sure that many other young parents can relate to the love that I feel for my kids.

And how much more meaningful they have made my life.

Featured photo credit: Takmeomeo via pixabay.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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