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Kindness Can Be Counterintuitive When You’re a Parent

Kindness Can Be Counterintuitive When You’re a Parent

“Kindness is wisdom.” – Phillip James Bailey

Kindness is supposed to be simple and straightforward, right? Not necessarily. Just ask any parent about what is truly kind when it comes to raising kids, and you’ll find that a lot of it is far from intuitive. Here are few examples.

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To Help or Not to Help

Our intention: We want to help our kids succeed.

When you see someone struggling, it’s usually pretty obvious that the nice thing to do is to jump in and give them a hand. But that’s not always the best thing for children. Kids struggle with all kinds of things, from tying their shoes to navigating the social structure of high school. Sometimes, they really do need our help, but other times it’s better to let them work things out on their own. Before you leap to action, consider what your child should be able to handle at this age.

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The kind approach: If what they are attempting is age-appropriate, but they’re having a hard time of it, let them know that you’re available to help, but give them a chance to try (and even fail) before you assist. Without regular opportunities to try new things and to struggle to overcome obstacles (and sometimes fail), children can learn to be helpless and may be more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

Praise is Always Nice, Right?

Our intention: We want our kids to have healthy self-esteems and to feel that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

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Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done, and kids are no exception. So why not pile on the praise when your kids are fantastic in every way? Counterintuitive as it might be, too much praise can actually cause kids to avoid trying new things, put less effort into what they do and even fabricate the outcome of their efforts in order to continue to win praise from their parents.

The kind approach: Be moderate with praise but offer (appropriately) enthusiastic observations for every day tasks. For example, instead of telling your four-year-old: “What a gorgeous outfit you’ve put on! You must be a fashion prodigy!” You can say: “Look at that; you got dressed all by yourself!”

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“No.” That’s Just Mean

Our intention: We want our kids to have a positive outlook and to feel like their ideas are valid.

A lot of parents find themselves saying “yes” or not saying “no” far too often in an effort to avoid discouraging their kids. But sometimes, the kindest thing we can do for our kids is to say “no.” It feels particularly counterintuitive when they’re asking for something perfectly reasonable. And lots of people would argue that we should say “yes” as much as possible. But there has to be a limit, or you’ll burn yourself out and teach your kids they can have anything they ask for nicely. Unfortunately, this can lead to entitlement, boundaries that are too flexible, and acting out when things don’t go their way.

The kind approach: Consider all the factors, including safety, your own emotional or scheduling limits and what’s best for the whole family before saying “yes” to a request. Dr. Sears offers a number of creative ways to communicate “no” without actually saying the word, which can be just as effective in teaching limits and appropriate expectations.

Parenting with kindness is a laudable goal no matter how you approach it. Kindness requires a certain amount of wisdom—not only about what is happening right now but also how it will affect the future. Maybe that’s what makes it so tricky; sometimes it’s really hard to see that while eating candy right now will make our kids happy, waiting an hour for dinner is the kinder (and smarter) option.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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