Yet, while facing the real world on your own is a rite of passage that should be observed on an individual level, that doesn’t mean you can’t guide your spaghetti-faced human tax deductions to success along the way. Your kids have a lot to learn before they venture off on their own.
With that in mind, here are some of the more important life lessons you should be imparting on your children:
Basic Life Skills
I know a lot of people who can’t do anything for themselves. I’m talking basics here, people; like cooking a chicken breast, cleaning a bathtub, mending a hole in a shirt, creating a budget, writing a resume, and fixing a broken appliance — none of this is rocket science. Why are they inept? Because these helpless saps had parents who did everything for them.
Emotional, Physical and Mental Resiliency
Some kids are raised to be super tough, while others will cry at the break of a dish — but there’s a middle ground. Kristin Ludwig, managing director of NUBS, a program that has developed a resiliency-building program, provides seven critical attributes associated with resilience:
- Emotional regulation: keeping calm under pressure and express emotions in a way that helps the situation
- Impulse control: delaying gratification
- Causal analysis: analyzing problems and accurately determining their causes
- Empathy: understanding the feelings and needs of another person
- Realistic optimism: keeping a positive outlook without denying reality
- Self-efficacy: perseverence
- Reaching out: seizing new opportunities with the help of other people
“One of the best things parents can do for their kids is to allow them to try and fail,” says Holly LaBarbera, licensed marriage and family therapist. “From letting your toddler climb at the playground even when they might fall, to letting your teen deal with a difficult teacher on their own, it’s important to let them gain confidence so they can overcome setbacks. Kids develop resilience and confidence by trying, failing, recovering, and trying again.”
Responsible Money Management
It’s important to teach and encourage responsible money management and personal finance skills so you don’t have to foot the bill for your 35-year-old son who values his poor-paying creative passion over self-sustaining work ethic, the former of which basically just translates to unabashed laziness. Start your kids young. Provide an allowance in exchange for chores; open a savings account on their behalf; and make them pay for small things they want, like inexpensive toys and candy. When they’re older, offer to match their savings when they want a car and make them get a job to pay for gas and partial insurance.Oh, and don’t forget to tell them about one of life’s two certainties: taxes.
“Teaching kids that their actions and their choices are their own responsibility can be quite empowering,” LaBarbera says. “Conversely, teaching kids that problems are someone else’s fault — blaming teachers for bad grades, other kids for upsetting peer interactions — can be disempowering and lead kids away from learning to take responsibility. Obviously, you want to back your kids up in some situations, but whenever possible, helping them understand and modify their own behaviors will help them lead more responsible, powerful lives.
Erin Taylor, a PCI-certified parent coach, suggests that parents should make sure the message of accountability for actions comes across loud and clear. “Natural consequences are a huge teacher of children,” she says. “When kids make bad choices, mistakes, and use poor judgment, it’s not for us to shame, blame or guilt them. Instead, we should calmly talk with them about the choices they made and how they could have chosen better. Our job as parents, teachers, and coaches is to walk beside children, hand in hand and help them to navigate the world, not lead them by a string. Childhood is all about making mistakes and learning from them, not figuring out how to do just what our parents want and learn nothing about ourselves in the process.”
Positive Conflict Management
Your kids will pick up on how you deal with crisis situations, and they’ll emulate that behavior when they’re faced with their own problems.”While there are many facets to helping prepare teens for the real world, I specifically see a pattern in youth not having mastered conflict management,” explains Bethany Raab, a licensed clinical social worker. “Many times youths will quit a job rather than working out a problem, skip school to avoid solving conflict with peers, or close themselves off to difficulties in family relationships. These strategies may provide short-term benefits, they’re not realistic behaviors to adopt in the long-term. It is important that kids learn to calm themselves when they’re angry. Teens also benefit from the ability to identify triggers and needs related to conflict.”
For Part 2 of this article, click here.
Photo Credit: gemteck1