Do your children know the value and reward of work? What do you allow them to do around the house? Is there a set of chores that they are responsible for? Kids who are part of the function of the home are better-prepared adults ready to take on the world. How do you get them started? What should they be responsible for? Do you know what you should teach them in order that they are sufficiently functioning adults?
Families can be quite diverse. However, children need developed skills and a work ethic to make it in the real world. This is not something that you teach them towards the end of high school but start as soon as they can walk. I have to admit that I did not do a very good job of this on my first child. This is why I am writing this. I’m hoping for some readers to have an ah-ha moment and not fall short as I did. What did I do wrong for my first child? I did too much. I loved him. Wait. That is not a failure. Loving him?…no. However, by doing too much for him I handicapped him for when he would be on his own. He didn’t know how to perform some basic tasks that most people would not consider vital, but they were.
My son knew how to do dishes and pick up his room. Probably the reason for that is due to the fact that he was a clean freak. Pretty much everything else, he had to learn way too late in life…crammed in before graduation. This caused him stress and anxiety that he should not have encountered. I myself am not the greatest mechanic or handyman. I had to learn a lot out of necessity. Unfortunately, this was passed down with a list of things that he had to tackle on his own. The question is what specifically would I have done differently? It easy to say everything. That, however, would not best serve you the reader.
Kids need to know how to:
- Do laundry
- Change a tire
- Diagnose simple vehicle issues
- Unstop a toilet
- Handle a leak
- Put out a fire
- Balance bank account
- Understand credit
- When and how to write a “thank you note”
- First Aid
- Dos and don’t of travel
- Self Defense
- Face to Face communication skills
There are obviously more things can and should learn, or sub-categories of what I listed. However, the point is that this is a process and a long list of “know-how” that they not only should be taught but also comfortable to perform on their own. With most things, repetition is the key to being proficient. Not everything is feasible to rehearse or practice. However, when learning opportunities present themselves, maximize the opportunity.
Sometimes the difficulty in teaching our kids is the lack of knowledge on our part. Perhaps there are some skills that you want to develop in your children, but you are not the expert on a specific matter. My suggestion is that you reach out. One of the best things that I did as a dad was to recognize that I may not be the best teacher on a particular subject. This is when you network. Find the individuals that can do a better job than you and introduce them to your kids. Obviously you want to do your due diligence, but you want their world to expand with relationships that can serve them well.
When my youngest 2 children were at a super intense soccer club, their schedule was insane. The practices, travel, games, and balancing school was crazy. With no intentional pun, I wanted them to have someone to talk to as a matter of mental training. I knew that as athletes, it was important that they were able to discuss and process all the pressure that they were involved in. Therefore, I reached out to a great counselor friend. I wanted them to be able to air out and dump anything that they needed to. Sometimes kids will hold back frustrations because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. This tactic worked like a dream and served them well.
You should be the main source of information for your kids. If you are not the right choice, you should find the source they need. Your kids are depending on you to prepare them for adult life. Be there for them. Be the best dad possible.