Personal development and emotional intelligence may seem like the stuff of workshops and seminars, but they are made up of simple mindset changes anyone can do to have a better life. As long as you have the desire to change, this series of posts can show you how. And when you start changing, even just a little, you will gradually pick up speed and be able to make changes more quickly and easily.
We are often so busy living our life we assume it cannot be changed and that make changes harder, because we are not letting go of what is happening here and now. If that is the way you feel, spend a few minutes breathing deeply with your eyes closed, let here and now dissolve away and imagine how your life could be.
When you are relaxed and hopeful, keep reading.
Give up the desire to be loved by everyone
Sometimes, you are bullied because of your desire to be loved by everyone. In fact, we get this false desire from our parents and other “socializing agents” from a very early age and it becomes one of the most confusing desires of our life.
Different people in your life have different terms of love, so if you want everyone to love you, you will find yourself compromising what is important to you, including your kids. Some people love us and others do not. It is part of life. Some are our friends and show us love and other are not.
When you seek others’ love at all costs, you create stress. When you are stressed to please others to gain their love, you cannot think clearly and you risk rejection that will make you feel powerless.
Do not live by what other people think about you
Living by what others think about you is like voluntarily giving power over your life to others, not just one but many others. Unlike the situation where a bully does something to you to gain power, in this situation, you are inviting them to bully you by directing yourself based on what (you believe) they think. The problem is that the more you base your life around what others think of you, the less confidence you have and less confidence you have the more you attract bullies…
Considering what others think of you is not necessary to your function as a parent. When you buy a house based on what other people think of you, wear clothes based on what others think of you or even hit your kids in fear of what others might say about the noise your kids make when they play music or have friends over, this only presents you as a weak person whose fear of what others think of them is much stronger than how their own kids feel. You may never see the neighbors, your kids’ teacher or the bus driver again and you may not even remember who they were in a few years, but your son or daughter will be in your life for a long time.
What others think of you is very important … to them!
Another problem with living by what other people think about you is that different people think different things about you. If your son’s teacher thinks you are too strict and your mother thinks you are too soft, what will you do?
If you do not live by what others think of you, it does not mean you are not a caring person. It only means you develop your own rules for how to live life. After all, you need to live it.
Enlarge your social group
Parents with a big social group can experience less stress as they have a bigger support structure. When your circle of friends is big, and when I say big I mean at least 8 friends you have a good relationship with, you can use your friends to share feelings, burdens and challenges. Because they are your friends, they will do the same.
Parenting is a lifelong adventure and you do not have to re-invent the wheel. Often, talking to a friend can give you ideas and teach you very helpful things.
You can find friends at work, in college or night class, in your neighborhood, in your extended family, while pursuing a hobby, at your kids’ school, while waiting for you kids to finish their activities and even on holidays.
It is amazing how many friendly relationships starts in places you have never thought of. I have met some of my close friends in strange places and by accident. All you have to do is keep yourself open to new people wherever you go. With the right mindset, they are much easier to find.
Believe your kids to build trust
Kids have many conflicts and challenges with other people throughout their life. Some of the conflicts are caused by something they have done and others are caused by another person. Many of the relationship challenges are not anyone’s fault but conflicts of interest – what is good for one person just happens not to be so favorable to another person.
Some parents, particularly those with the disease to please (parents who want others to approve of them and what they do and think) blame their kids for all their conflicts with others. When their child has trouble with their teacher, they will assume the child is to blame. When the child has a conflict with a younger sibling, the parents assume the older one must be responsible. When the child has an issue with the neighbor, the parents will feel it is better to blame their own child than to get into a conflict with the neighbor. When their child fights with a friends’ child, they will ask them to give up, fearing they might get into discomfort with the friend.
Kids who live in a home like that learn not to trust their parents. They do not see their mom or dad as someone who will help them in times of trouble.
If this is how you treat your kids, remember this: as kids do, your children will get into trouble in their life, but you will not be there to protect or help them, because you have lost their trust and they will prefer to suffer than to tell you. If you want to protect your kids, you must win their trust by believing them.
Notice when you are bribed
When someone bribes you, it means that person has found a weakness in you and is playing on that weakness. People who are subject to bribe are very vulnerable and find it hard, and sometimes impossible, to get out of this trap.
People are bribed by many others. I am not here to talk about the bullying act of the person bribing you. That person is weak and is manipulating you to do something they want by using your weakness, but I am here to tell you that when your children recognize that you can be easily manipulated, they will not have much respect for you.
Bribing is like blackmail – someone threatens you that if you do not do as they say, they will hurt you (show your weakness to the world). There is a 99% chance that when you give them what they want, they will still have power over you. While the first time was an attempt to bribe/blackmail you, in the second time, the abusive person can be sure you will “pay” the price.
Notice when you are being bribed. Bribing and blackmailing have the same formula. They happen when the other person says, “I will do that only if you…” or “If you do this, I will be willing to do that for you…” and you know that what they are asking you to do is wrong.
Some parents are blackmailed at work or at home by their own partner or kids. We had a good friend who communicated with her son this way and soon enough, he used the same technique on her. When we went to a restaurant (which we did a lot), he would say, “I will only eat if you give me ice cream first”. She would give him ice cream and he never ate the food.
Every time you are bribed, it puts you in a vulnerable position. Notice it and refuse gently. “I understand that you want me to stay longer hours. I have signed up for a job that finishes at 5pm and I pick up my kids straight after work, so I will not take advantage of your offer” (notice there are no negative statements and no apologies).
Remember, you cannot be bullied into doing things you do not want to do if you are not in a weak position. With personal development, you can get yourself to a position of strength and break the bullying cycle.
Join me next week for 5 more personal development tips to break the cycle of bullying in the family.
This post is part of the series Bullying:
- Bullying Facts and Myth
- Bullying Statistics are Scary
- What is NOT Bullying?
- Types of Bullying
- Why Do People Bully?
- Victims of Bullying
- Bullying Bystanders
- Home of the bully
- Home of the bully (2)
- Workplace Bullying
- Workplace Bullying (2)
- How to Help Bullying Victims
- How to Help Bullying Victims (2)
- How to Help Bullying Victims (3)
- How to Help Bullying Victims (4)
- How to Help Bullying Bystanders
- How to Help Bullying Bystanders (2)
- How to Stop Workplace Bullying
- How to Stop Workplace Bullying (2)
- How Workplace Bullying Bystanders Can Break the Cycle
- How Organizations Can Stop Bullying
- How Organizations Can Stop Bullying (2)
- Bully Parents
- How to Stop Parental Bullying
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (2)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (3)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (4)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (5)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (6)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (7)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (8)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (9)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (10)
- How to Stop Parental Bullying (11)
- How to Stop Bullying with Empathy: The Story of Two Apples