The parent who focuses only on raising kids could end up with children who are immature people in grown-up bodies. I have met 35-year-olds–and OLDER–who are running around still treating others in childish ways.
Your job, parents, is to raise adults. By the time your kids reach their teenage years, you should have young adults living with you who can:
Handle money and a budget responsibly. In fact, they could manage your household bills and budget if you needed them to do so. Financial guru Dave Ramsey offers resources to get your kids started early.
As I watch each of my kids, now in their 20s and 30s, I see how they handle their money. They all live on budgets, they all are working to be debt-free, and they are all careful about their spending. That kind of lifestyle will not just happen automatically. Parents must teach their kids the importance of the dollar and how to live on what they make.
Work–either as a volunteer or for pay–with integrity and productivity. A strong work ethic is what will help your kids get and keep a job. It will help them get bonuses and promotions.
All three of our kids played sports and in that arena, we watched them learn to work hard for something they wanted. My oldest is in her 10th year of teaching kindergarten and is lead teacher. She’s also been recognized as Teacher of the Year in her school. My middle child is working his way up the ladder in the financial industry. His hard work has been noticed and has opened doors of opportunity. My youngest has been in a new job for two months and has already received a substantial raise as well as a bonus. She is hungry to learn and work hard and it’s caught the attention of her manager.
I know that they learned about hard work when they played sports. Youth sports is a great place to acquire a good work ethic. If your child does not play sports, look for other places, either around the house or working for others, where they can learn the reward of hard work.
They may complain about the hard work, but don’t let them quit. They must learn the lesson that anything worthwhile usually requires sacrifice and effort. This is the attitude that will help them be more successful in whatever job they do.
Take responsibility for their feelings, thoughts or behaviors. Kids like to play the blame game, and those same kids if not taught differently will become grown-ups who are always pointing fingers instead of accepting the responsibility for their making their own choices.
It may take time to help your child sort through their feelings and thoughts and to understand the importance of owning up to their own behavior. But having those conversations today will result in young adults who aren’t always pointing the finger at someone else.
Keep promises, fulfill contracts, and discipline themselves. Are you teaching your kids that their word should be gold? That when they make a promise or agree to something, they should always follow through?
Sometimes the promises they make will require discipline on their part to fulfill. For instance, if your child promised to clean their room before dinner, will they have the discipline to put down the video games and keep their word to you? Look for opportunities for them to learn the value of following through on what they say. The trust they earn from that as they grow up will take them much farther in life than a person who cannot be trusted to do what they say they will do.
Serve others humbly and effectively. Teach your kids to have compassion for others. Provide them with opportunities to serve others (not just at the holidays) with an attitude of humility, and to do it wholeheartedly.
Be trusted to choose friends who are uplifting and not draining. There’s a very strong chance that the people your kids surround themselves with, they will become. If they hang out with peers who are negative, insecure or destructive, it will affect them. Regardless of their strength as an individual, they are not immune to a constant surrounding of negative influences.
Pay attention to your child’s friends. Talk to them about their friends, what true friends are, and what to look for in a friend. You want to send them off to college, knowing that they will make wise friend choices.
Make good decisions consistently. As you allow your kids to learn all these important adult lessons, you can be more confident that they will make good choices when you are not around to point them in the right direction. Of course your kids are not going to be perfect. But even when they make a slip-up, if you’ve raised them to be adults, they will know how to accept responsibility and get back on track.
Parents, make the decision now. When your child is 20, do you want a child in an adult’s body? Then start focusing on raising adults, not kids.
Need help in your parenting? Schedule a free intro call here.