Are your kids learning life skills that will take them far into the future when you are not around to guide their every step?
As I look back on the way we parented our kids, I have to be honest and say that we didn’t do the best job of teaching them some very handy skills. My daughters didn’t learn a lot about cooking and my son didn’t learn much about fixing things around the house.
But when it came to life skills, we were much more diligent. We knew that there are a lot of things you can find instruction for on YouTube, but you can’t google good character and life skills into your kids.
So, even as you’re teaching your kids how to do the laundry and change a tire, don’t forget to help them work on these very important life skills:
Teach them how to make lemonade out of lemons, how to see potential when something is not complete, and how to look for creative solutions to their problems. The best way for them to learn this is when parents refrain from interfering and let the kids figure it out themselves.
Honesty is the foundation of the trust they earn throughout life. When that trust is earned, it will result in healthy relationships at home and at work. We joke about lying, but in reality, it’s not a laughing matter.
As you teach them the value of honesty, make sure they understand that it goes hand in hand with compassion. Compassion in speech, compassion in actions, and compassion in motivation.
The Ability to Fight For What They Want
Youth sports is a great place to start learning this lesson. If your kids don’t play sports, look for other opportunities for them to see the value of fighting for something. My kids did it a lot when they were playing sports, and they are still doing it today as adults in their 20s and 30s, only now it’s in their jobs and relationships. Once kids learn how to fight for what they want, it becomes a lifelong tool.
The Courage to Risk
When my son moved across the country 4 years ago, I hated it. But at the same time, I was proud of him for stepping out, for risking. Now, my youngest daughter is planning to move several states away too, a huge risk for her to go to a place where she only knows a couple of people, to give up a job she loves. As a mom, I’d rather have my kids close, but I also want them to not be afraid to step out, to take a risk, to try something new and exciting. The alternative? Raising kids who get stuck and never realize their full potential.
If you find yourself micro-managing your kids–their school work, their chores, their sports training–you are on the road to raising kids who are not self-disciplined. And the result of that is young adults and adults who will get themselves into trouble because they’ve not learned how to manage themselves.
A Strong Work Ethic
This is another thing our kids learned while playing sports. But it can be learned in many other ways. Let your kids learn to work hard for something. Let them see the value of hard work and the rewards from it. I see that strong work ethic in my daughter, now in her 9th year of teaching kindergarten, in my son who has fought and failed and fought to climb the latter in the financial company where he works, in my youngest daughter who works hard at her job and coaches crossfit many afternoons after work.
If your kids learn the value of hard work, they will be more hirable and valued in their jobs.
Loyalty shows itself in many situations–to family, a team, a job. When someone is loyal, you know they are not going to stab you in the back and you know they have your best interest at heart.
Kids can be very fickle when it comes to friendships. If this continues as a habit while they grow up, they will not learn how to be a true friend and that means that they won’t attract true friends either.
Be sure your kids know the value of friendship and what a friend should look like. Help them understand what to look for in a friend and how to be a friend that attracts good friends.
Responsibility basically means “owning it”:
Owning their mistakes.
Owning things they are put in charge of.
Owning the part they plan in helping a team succeed.
And in order to teach your kids responsibility, you have to give them responsibility and let them learn how to handle it.
As you teach your kids these life skills, you will be preparing them to be the kind of adult that you love to hang out with, but also the kind of adult that could just as easily be okay NOT hanging out with you. The greatest sign of success for a parent is to be able to say, “The children are now adults who can live life without me.”
Frustrated with not having enough family time? Get the foolproof plan here to be sure you have it!