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Help your (almost) freshman to help him or herself!

As much as we want to give our kids all the love we possibly can, there comes a point where we have to let go of their hands a little – for their own good. What I mean is that if, as parents, we continuously do everything for our kids, it could lead to them becoming completely overwhelmed by the world once they reach adulthood. I’ve compiled a list of 12 basic life skills that I believe all kids should have by the time they reach high school. Time to see if you agree with me:
1. Make themselves a meal

This point doesn’t mean that you have to stop making a meal for your kid or kids once they reach high school, but they shouldn’t have to rely on you to eat a simple meal. You should feel confident they’re able to feed themselves in the event that you can’t be there to do so.

2. Wake themselves up on time for school

As much as you might be tempted to keep waking your kids up each morning, you should make it a point to ensure that they can get themselves up, washed and dressed in clean clothes without having to rely on you by the time they’re about to start high school. Adopting a good habit early on will serve them well once they reach their college years, and besides, you can’t always be home to wake them up, can you?

3. Do laundry

It’s not something that any of us particularly like to do, but doing laundry really is an essential life skill. Tell your kid what they have to do, then watch them do it for themselves. Obviously if they get stuck, then by all means help them, but leave them to their own devices once they seem to have gotten it.

4. Pump their own gas

With some US states granting licenses to kids as young as 14 years old, a situation where you have a kid that is licensed to drive, but cannot pump his or her own gas is frankly ridiculous. Rumor has it that a 20-year-old college student was driving in her car and running out of gas quickly. Thinking herself to be quite a smart young gal, she headed over to the gas station and filled up her petrol-powered car… with diesel. Do you want that to be your kid? Get them to pump your gas for you as practice prior to them starting to drive.

5. Help out when and where they can

In the present day, many employers are complaining about employees who are in their early 20s, and expect to be told exactly what to do step-by-step, then desiring recognition for it. This expectation seems to be common among people of that age, because their parents had previously made the mistake of leaving their academic work to them and taking care of absolutely everything else on their behalf. Doing this isn’t conducive to a kid adopting a “pitch-in” mind-set, so you must make it a point that they’re expected to contribute to the betterment of the whole.

6. Advocate for themselves

Don’t always be the one to be vouching for your children. Instead, show them how to have a respectful conversation with an authority figure and advocate for themselves. Encourage them and tell them they can do it. Once they’re used to operating out of their comfort zone in this regard, they will adopt the behavior to a greater and greater extent. They also need to get used to the likelihood of such conversations not going the way they want them to. In reality, they just have to learn to cope with this, because not everything in life goes the way we want it to.

7. Pack their own backpack

Refrain from packing your kid’s backpack for him or for her. After all, that backpack will become a work bag or briefcase one day. If they manage to do this without you intervening at all, then the likelihood is that they’ll have no problem organizing themselves when they’re on their own at college or preparing for a new day at work.

8. Place their own order at a restaurant

With high school just around the corner for your kid, it’s inevitable that there’ll be dates and outings with friends, girlfriends or boyfriends sooner rather than later. That’s why they need to practice ordering their own food in a polite, respectful manner. Looking like a self-entitled jerk with a credit card is never a good look.

9. Talk to strangers

While this point might seem like the polar opposite to what we normally teach our children, it actually isn’t. Think of how to teach them to filter out (and avoid) the few very creepy strangers from the vast numbers of relatively normal ones that they’re likely to encounter throughout their daily lives. You can get the ball rolling in this regard by sending your kid to a store that’s within walking distance of your home, and have them ask the sales clerk for specific help.

10. Shop for groceries

Furthering the previous point, if your kid is aged between 12 and 14, have them go to the grocery store or local supermarket and pick up five or six things for you. This will teach them to navigate through such stores on their own, and get used to which sections they need to find the things they want.


11. Plan an outing

The moment you feel that members of your kid’s peer group are responsible enough to look after themselves at a matinee movie or at the mall is the right moment to allow your kid to plan an outing. Have them walk you through what they have in mind, taking care not to project your fears for them in such a way that they become fearful of the world. Planned outings with peers will allow them to spread their wings and explore the world around them safely and responsibly.

12. Use public transport

Gradually start allowing your kid to use public transportation to get to and from places in your local area (providing that it is safe enough to do so). Practice over the years will allow them to be completely self-sufficient in this regard by the time they’re about start college.


Content Source: Parenting.com 

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