Instilling Essential Life Skills is the key to raising young adults. In the hectic, craziness of every day life, we tend to focus on the short-term goal of simply making through the day. Sick kids, demanding careers, long hours and endless bills all keep us focused on the short-terms goals. We need to take a step back and realize the long-term goal.
Settling the Allowance Debate, discussed the importance of the family working together to maintain the home. By everyone pitching in to do the their part, we have reduced the strain on the Parents to do it all, taught our children valuable skills to ensure their survival in the real world and begun to insert some of the Essential Life Skills that are so import to their individual success.
“It is not our job to fix our children, it is our job to teach our children how to fix themselves.”
Teaching Kids to Teach Themselves
We have all encountered kids who couldn’t problem-solve their way out of a wet paper bag. Truthfully, I have met a few adults who fit this as well. There is a quote I found somewhere:
You can raise your kids & spoil your grandchildren,
or you can spoil your kids & raise your grandchildren.~unknown
I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken. We are not raising children, we are raising strong, healthy, independent adults. We need to keep the long-term goal in mind when we are wiping snotty noses, cleaning a scraped knee, consoling a bruised ego.
The only way for our children to become strong-minded, self-sufficient adults, is to instill these values long before adulthood.
- Interpersonal relationships are not developed by chatting with people on line through video games or messaging. This is real, face-to-face, human interaction. The opportunity to look another person in the eye & understand their point of view.
- Communication is the greatest tool we have as humans. We have the ability to express our thoughts, concerns & opinions. This is what sets us apart from the animal kingdom. Encourage your child to speak with respect & compassion. Encourage them to listen to understand & not listen to respond. If you are able to do this with them, they will learn how to do it in their own lives.
- Problem-Solving is a really tough one for parents. We don’t want our children to fall, but it is necessary. Our children need to learn to resolve their own issues. Helping them talk through problems, exploring different options, choosing the appropriate action & then assessing the outcome will go a long way to reducing the number of problems your child encounters.
- Critical-Thinking is key. This is the lessons we have learned from past mistakes that we have problem-solved and applying this information to current & future situations. “Last time I went out in the rain, I didn’t take an umbrella & I was sick for a week. Today, I will take an umbrella.“
- Imagination / Creativity is how we develop a strong sense of self. This is where we learn what we like, what we don’t like, our strengths, weakness and our passion. Help your child to explore a variety of outlets to find whatever it is that will light their flame!
- Connectedness; true, honest & deep connections are what keep us grounded. Humans were designed to live in communities and having a strong connection to this community will keep you safe from harm. “You have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything“. Teaching your child to stand with a group of individuals who are searching for a similar outcome, will prevent them from being recruited by negativity. Help your child to surround themselves with positive, supportive, like-minded people who will nurture their sense of self.
- Sense of self is knowing who you are and firmly believing in that person. When a child has the freedom to explore their likes/dislikes and effectively communicate that, we are encouraging their individuality. We may not like everything they do, but as long as it isn’t illegal, immoral or fattening, give it your blessing.
- Natural Consequences are a must for our future adults. Imagine if we have world leaders who did not understand the value of natural consequences. Leaders who believed they could do, say & act anyway those chose, regardless of how it affected those around them. It would be a truly sad planet. “You are free to make your own choices, but you are not free from the consequences of those choices.” Hold you children accountable to their indiscretions. Be sure they know that every decision they make has an effect on someone else.
- Emotional Regulation is the ability to self-sooth, calm strong emotions and release negative energy. Help your child to understand the array of complex emotions that we all have. Use feeling words while talking to your child. “That must have been frustrating” or “That’s really sad, I’m sorry to hear that.” By inserting the proper emotions, children can then begin to process the situation.
- Patience is the ability to understand that good things come to those that wait. By not giving your child everything they seem to want right now, you are instilling an understanding that one must work to earn privileges. This is where their work ethic will be taught.
The Media is Working Against Us
The media is our worst enemy. The horror stories of trafficked or abducted children & school shootings play over & over again. These are our nightmares. We fight to protect and shelter our children and will go to great lengths to ensure their safety. But we are also ensuring their dependence.
Remember Elizabeth Smart?
Elizabeth was abducted from her home & held captive for months by a very deranged couple. Her parents feared the worst, but believed in the skills & values they had taught their daughter. They knew they had taught Elizabeth how to problem-solve, think critically, regulate her emotions & hold true to her own sense of self.
Elizabeth escaped her captors, and now travels the world sharing her story. Because of the efforts her parents put in when she was young, the trauma Elizabeth endured has helped to shape the strong, powerful woman she is today.
Moral of the Story
We cannot control what happens in the world, but we can teach our children how to handle all of life’s up’s & down’s.
Sending your child out into the world without Basic & Essential Life Skills, is equivalent to asking them to win the Boston Marathon without first teaching them how to walk.