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8 Only Children Myths Debunked By Researches

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8 Only Children Myths Debunked By Researches

Once upon a time, in a planet called Earth, there lived a special kind of species named Humans. They wanted to make their existence profound so that generations after generations they would survive in this big world. And they successfully did. They started to produce more human beings, and at one time, it became natural for a single family to have 7-8 children. Or more.

But as generations proceeded, the number of children decreased. Therefore, from 20th Century onwards, many families have been seen with only one child. The previous generation raised their eyebrows. What disgrace to mankind! They remarked on various disadvantages those family would face if they stick to an only child policy. But is it true what they said? Or is it just myths? Let us find out here with 8 only children myths disapproved by researches:

1. They are lonely, and depressed.

FACT: No, they are not lonely. And they are not depressed. First of all, they get their parents’ full attention. Second of all, they have cousins who fill up the “missing” sibling(s) spaces. Third of all, they have friends. And since they are the only children, parents encourage them to hang out more with their cousins and friends. Thus, they can easily avoid feeling lonely and depressed. Of course, all situations have their pros and cons. But the pros here are heavier than the cons. Carl E. Pickhardt, PhD, wrote an article based on The Adolescent only child and friendship. This is a great read for all the parents of single children.

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2. They have imaginary friends to balance out their loneliness.

FACT: It is a common thing amongst children. All children, regardless of being the only one or being one among five other siblings do it.

According to Jerome L. Singer, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychology, Yale University: “the imagination required to create make-believe friends is not the exclusive property of the ‘only’ child, the isolated, the ill or the handicapped. Imaginary friends serve a purpose of meeting a need—to confront loneliness, to combat a fear, or to compensate for feelings of weakness in relation to adults or older children. Any child can feel that need.”

In fact, studies have shown how to handle such a situation. Just remember, imaginary friends are as good as real life friends.

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3. They are violent and pushy.

FACT: Did you know that only children learn quicker than children with siblings? Maybe they are demanding and bossy at home, but they know that such behaviour with their peers produce a negative impression of them. They know they might even be considered as social outcasts. Thus, they adjust faster than other children, making them well liked by their friends.

4. They are selfish.

FACT: It is one of the most common myths, I should say. The answer is, No! Only children are not selfish. You may have every reason to believe in this, because they are the ones who don’t get to share their toys or clothes or chocolates with other siblings, they get their parents’ sole attention, they get a room of their own, they get the best clothes, and what not! For years, studies and experiments have been done on families and the results show that only children scored more in many important aspects than children with siblings. Then again, it is okay to be selfish sometimes. We all are selfish in our own ways. It is a natural habit and has nothing to do with being the only child of our parents.

5. They are dependent.

FACT: It is believed that since only children have no other siblings, they are tend to be dependent on their parents. A survey done in China shows that only children are more independent and self-supporting. They don’t have elder siblings to look after them and are more influenced by their individual experiences.

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6. They are spoiled.

FACT: Who isn’t? If compared to only children, I would say my two children are equally spoiled. Over the years, studies have found out that there are no such differences in only children being more spoiled than children with siblings.

7. They don’t have their own original ideas and views.

FACT: Since they are the only children, their ideas and views on things are entirely their own and original. They are not sharing their thoughts with their siblings. An article on Why only children are awesome shows that parents tend to talk in an “adult manner” with their only children rather than in “baby talk”. This encourages the children to develop their own ideas and views because they are directly relating to the adult world.

8. They lack talent.

FACT: In fact, they are the ones who are more talented and have more nurtured hobbies than children with siblings. The reason is their parents can give undivided, full attention, entirely to them. Parents encourage them to explore more into different sorts of things, and such encouragements make them talented. Another reason is since only children tend to be closer to their parents, this special relationship can do wonders in building creativity and imagination in the only children.

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Having only children isn’t bad. In fact, there are many advantages of being parents to an only child. There is an article on Parenting an only child that highlights the positive aspects of having only children. So next time you are family planning, do not hesitate to browse through the option of having an only child.

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Sumaiya Kabir

Sumaiya is a passionate writer who shares thoughts and ideas to help people improve themselves.

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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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