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26 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

26 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

You love your children. You want them to have a great childhood, and to live a happy and fulfilling life.  As parents, this is 100% your responsibility. Your children will not have another relationship during their lifetime that will have greater positive or negative impacts than their relationship with you, so you cannot take this responsibility lightly.

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging roles we can play in life. Although there is no instruction manual for parenting, there is a lot of great information at your fingertips to support your efforts in giving your children what they need to grow into happy, strong, fulfilled adults.

Below is a list of 26 gifts we can give our children that they will never forget, and are as easy as A, B, and C.

Affirmation

Everyone needs to be told they are valued, worthy, and doing a good job. Your kids are no different. By affirming them you are making them more secure and confident.

Boundaries

Whether we want to admit it or not, we like boundaries. These provide your children clear expectations and certainty, and not only do they like that, but the more consistent we are, the more consistent our children will be.

Confidence

I have two children and above everything else, my # 1 goal is that my children reach adulthood with confidence. The sooner we focus on helping our children be confident, the easier their lives will be. Confident people are simply focused on more productive things rather than getting caught up with drama, worry, and self-destructive thoughts and actions. With bullying being such a big issue in our culture, confidence is the best solution. Self-assured kids don’t bully, nor do they put up with being bullied.

Discipline

Like boundaries, we hate to admit that we need and even like discipline, but we do, and our kids need it too. They need to be guided down a productive path and held accountable when they veer off that path. They need to be able to count on the fact that there are consequences to their actions, both positive and negative.

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Expectations

As parents to young children, we are the “life experts” and if we don’t set expectations and guide them accordingly, they will find another set of values and rules to follow. They need clear expectations.

Friendship

Don’t confuse this with being their friend. Parents don’t need to be their children’s friends: they will have plenty of those. We need to be their parents. Children need to learn how to have healthy and productive relationships with other people, and that starts with us.

Gratitude

Teaching our children to be thankful impacts other things like a positive attitude and appreciation for both people and things.

Healthy Home Culture

Is your home culture productive or destructive? Is it positive or negative? Are you setting a good example? What kind of people are your children learning to become within the walls of your home? We are all the results of the environments we grew up in, and there is no environment with a greater impact than your home.

Identity

Our identity is the result of our past. When our children reach adulthood, their idenity will be the result of their past experiences and relationships with us.  We must lead and guide our children so they have a confident and positive attitude about themselves, helping them avoid self-imposed barriers and suffering from what I refer to as an “Identity Crisis.  When you Google the words “define identity crisis” the following definition appears:

“a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.”

As parents, it is our jobs to give our children certainty and eliminate any confusion that will create insecurity and ultimately impact their quality of life.

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Jokes

Some of the best times I have with my kids are in the car where I’m joking around and acting like a fool. My son demands more and my daughter tells me how much I am embarrassing her, all the while trying to stop herself from laughing.

Kindness

No need to elaborate here. Be kind to your children and teach them to be kind to others.

Love

I believe the words LOVE and RESPECT are the two most important words in parenting. We must set the example by not only showing love and respect for others, but for ourselves. We must show our children love and respect while holding them accountable for having a positive attitude about themselves and why it’s important to show love and respect to other.

Mentoring

Our kids get hammered with thousands of messages every single day, most of which don’t do not have their best interest in mind. They are either going to learn things from us, or from someone/something else out there. You want them to learn things from you. I don’t care how you look at it or what you call it. Your children need your attention, guidance, and leadership.

Never Giving Up

Giving up is just a symptom of a bigger problem; a bad attitude. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and our kids are going to get knocked around and challenged plenty. Quitting and giving up is the path of least resistance and if they aren’t challenged to keep going, taking the path of least resistance will become habit. Few people experience fulfillment and success in life by giving up.

Optimism

Few things are more challenging than dealing with people who are pessimistic and negative. Our children must be held accountable for their bad attitudes and it is up to us show them there is a more productive way to live.

Passion

When people are passionate about what they do, the harder they will work, and the more fulfillment they will experience. We need to pay attention to what our children are passionate about and provide the opportunities and resources for them to explore and excel.

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Quiet Time

Many children are over-stimulated to the point they go nuts when they don’t have anything to do. Quiet time allows them to relax, think, and use their imagination. Turn off the TV, DVD players, tablets, phones, and gaming systems and let them figure out how to use their time.

Reading Time

Like anything else, the more time our children invest in reading, the better they will become. This starts with us reading to them at a young age and encouraging them to read on their own as they get older. A child’s reading ability impacts their confidence and enjoyment with school, as well overall confidence and success in life.

Security

Security is the foundation of confidence. Insecure people think about themselves and the world very differently than people who are secure and confident. I am a big fan of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, which suggests that insecurity impacts the relationships we build with others, as well as our self-confidence, and our ability to reach our potential. I truly believe that if we as parents raise our children to be secure and confident they will figure things out.

Talks

We need to be our children’s greatest influencers and that won’t happen if our children don’t have the ability to or don’t feel comfortable talking to us. The more we talk and build comfort and trust the more they will open up.

Unconditional Love

Our children must know that regardless of who they are and what they do, we will always love them.  Now, unconditional love does not mean you don’t discipline them or hold them accountable.  They are going to screw up and do stupid things, but we are the one relationship they need to be able to count on and we need them to depend on, in good and bad times.

Values

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books and had probably had the greatest foundational impact on my life. Seven Habits taught me that the most important thing a person can do is articulate their values and create a vision for their life and make decisions based on those values. When a person makes decisions based on things that are meaningful and important to them, they can never go wrong.

We must first understand our values, but also talk to our children about values to that will help them live a productive and fulfilling life.

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Wonder

Wonder and curiosity are the keys to critical thinking and learning. We want our children to look at the world, ask questions, and have a desire to know more. We must be active in their learning when they are young and support them in their process of discovery.

Xenodochial

The definition of xenodochial is “being friendly to strangers”. Our children’s attitudes of the world will be a reflection of our attitude. Xenodocial aligns nicely with the love and respect I talked about above.

Youthfulness

When I think of the word “youthful”, I think of words like fun, energetic, creative, curious, passionate, imaginative, brave, open-minded, and happy.

At 35 I hope I am still all those things. Too many people follow a plan or conform to expectations that leave them unemotionally wandering through life. I don’t want that for my kids.

The world is full of all kinds of great stuff to get excited about and we need to share this with our kids.

Zeal

“Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective”.

What are your kids passionate about? What cause can you pursue together that will show them the impact they can have on the world with the right attitude and action?

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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