As children grow up, it’s a parent’s responsibility to guide them safely into adulthood with poignant life lessons.
There’s a fine line to be drawn towards guidance and hand-holding, but there’s only so much a child can learn by themselves, especially as they grow closer to adulthood.
After all, every parent wants to give their child the best opportunity to succeed in life. Covering the key challenges of life isn’t about shielding your child, but giving them tools to protect themselves.
Here are five important topics to cover as your kids get older and start to think about life beyond their parents.
At some point, the chicks are going to have to fly the nest.
By then you might be relieved to be rid of moody teenagers making a mess around the house, but you’ll still be sad to see your children all grown up and moving into their own homes.
Living away from home can be a major culture shock though, whether they’re going to college or moving to the big city. Teaching them about the ins and outs of how to live alone or with roommates/partners is a key part of getting them ready for the real world.
Consider covering the difference between renting and owning a property, how to spot potential problems with a home and what it means to respect the personal space of the people they’re living with. As you graduate into adulthood, your experience of home changes. How to decorate your room becomes less important when you’ve got utility bills to pay.
It’s important to explain how they can protect their home too. Innovative services have popped up in recent years all across the world to give renters and homeowners more protection and power, such as content insurance from Duuo. Making these services seem less alien is a key part of ensuring your children are ready to fend for themselves.
Some adults don’t even understand the first thing about finance, so it can be hard to expect a teenager to take it all in.
While we wish schools would cover things such as taxes and insurance in greater depth, it’s on us as parents to make sure our children understand the importance of money and how to spend sensibly.
Don’t overwhelm your kids with every money mistake you’ve ever made. Instead, be positive.
Teach them about the importance of saving early and how it can benefit them later in life. This is particularly important if they’re moving away to college and need to understand how to pay rent and regulate their student debt.
Some of the most important financial topics to give your kids a head start on are:
These lessons won’t turn them into a Wall Street trader overnight but will stop them from calling at the end of the month for help covering their rent.
As any parent knows, there’s a big difference between what your average teenager considers clean and what’s actually clean.
Thing is, as they grow up, they won’t just need to appease their parents doing a room inspection once every six months, but landlords, bosses and partners who expect to live in a little more luxury.
Teaching kids about cleaning is a lot like finance, you need to ingrain good habits early. Raise them to clean up little messes before they become a big problem, rather than leaving everything until a last-minute spring clean. If you’re worried they need scaring straight before they move to college, this Wise Projects will be a nice reality check.
They won’t enjoy it, but when it comes to scrubbing black mould off the shower a day before their apartment inspection, they’ll appreciate you demanding they help you out on a Sunday.
Communication is one of the most important skills in today’s hyper-connected world.
We might spend 90% of our day in front of a screen, but knowing how to talk to and approach people is invaluable for progressing in your career and building new relationships.
Knowing how to talk to people will help your children network their way into unique opportunities and progress in difficult social and education situations where less confident students might falter.
If you think your child might struggle to connect with people, consider helping them out with some social skills lessons. Teach them about the importance of eye contact, believing in themselves and picking their moments. It might take them out of their comfort zone, but isn’t that how we experience all the best things in life?
Cybersecurity is one of the most important and delicate topics for parents everywhere today.
You might hate how much time your children spend on their phones, but being online is an important part of how we live now. Almost every office job requires computer skills, and everything from healthcare to personal finances can be managed through an app.
That’s why you need to approach online safety and sensible use of the internet the right way. Don’t make them go cold turkey, but if they’re becoming too reliant on life online, consider weaning them off it and introducing other hobbies. Not only is too much screen time a dangerous habit to get used to but spending too much time on social media can lead to a lack of privacy and cost them future opportunities.
Young people aren’t always the smartest on these platforms.
Understanding how to stay anonymous and only give up the right amount of information online is a lesson every parent should lead how to teach. It can help them avoid everything from scams to cyberbullying.
They might know more about how the computer works than you, but your wisdom and experiences in cyberspace might just save them some headaches down the line.
If you’re looking for some online safety lessons to pass on, the NSPCC is a great place to start.
These are just a few lessons to teach your kids as they grow up. There will be so much more you want to share, and so many personal stories they’ll gain experience and clarity from. Remember not to overload or lecture them, and use this as an opportunity to learn more about them and bond.