Some beliefs I have encountered:
Many people believe that kids need a gentle, coddling introduction to being a grown up.
Many people believe that kids cannot function on their own until they are 22-25 years old.
Many people believe kids do not need to have a job while in junior high, high school, or college. They should just concentrate on their studies and being involved. They have the rest of their life to work.
If the kids have jobs, they still don’t need to pay any of their own expenses. They should save their money or just blow the money on junk.
Many people believe that kids need to go to college in order to be successful. As long as they graduate with a degree, they will be successful.
Many people believe that it is okay for kids to move back home after being gone for a few years and not have to contribute to the home or pay bills. They need to concentrate on finding a job and saving money to buy a car or a home.
All of these beliefs? They are the reason why we have a generation or two of adults who can not function in our society. They can not work or don’t know how to work. They believe that someone else will always take care of them.
I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to be independent, respectful, functioning members of society. I love them too much to be anything else. I want to see them succeed. I want to watch and love where life is taking them. That requires me as a parent to help them get to that point.
How do I do that?
1. Teach kids skills while they are young. All my kids learn how to cook and know basic cooking skills. I want to know they can feed themselves. They learn how to do laundry. They mow the lawn. They are in charge of animal chores and taking care of the animals. They also help around the house and do whatever chores I assign them.
2. Teach kids to work. My kids do all the things in #1 to learn skills, but to also work. I don’t pay an allowance, but I want them to understand that to get anything you have to work for it.
3. Teach kids to pay for their own things. This is a tough one. When my kids turn 16, I don’t buy a lot of things for them anymore. I buy their food, basic necessities, car registration, car insurance, and first vehicle. Other than that, they buy their own stuff. They want to dye or perm their hair? They pay for it. They want clothes, jewerly, and shoes? They pay for it. Their grandparents buy them a fair amount of things, but they refuse to buy everything the kids want too.
4. Encourage kids to get a job. Let me rephrase that: Strongly encourage them to get a job. By telling them they have to pay for the things they want, they will want a job anyway. But I still encourage them to get a job. My girls’ jobs (so far) have included babysitter, cook, waitress, bartender, cleaner, camp counselor, teaching assistant, and the list will continue to grow. Has it hurt them? No, not at all. In fact, those jobs have helped them decide what they don’t want to do in life.
One of the things that stuck with me at Shali’s college orientation was in a parents’ session, they encouraged the kids to be busy and to have a job while in college. Why? Because kids that are busy going to classes, working, studying, and being involved with college activities were more productive and had better time management skills. Those kids are also better students and more successful in life.
5. Do not coddle kids. I teach mine from an early age to work out their problems and deal with people themselves. I will always be there to help, advise, and defend them if need be. However, I teach my kids to be responsible for themselves. They have had to explain that they lost homework and library books, were late for school, and/or missed a lesson. If those things were my fault, I wrote a letter of explanation and apology. Otherwise, my kids have to explain themselves.
I also do not take my kids everywhere with me. They stay home by themselves at age 10 or older depending on maturity level. By age 12, they are watching their siblings while I am gone. I do not have daycare in the summer and the older ones are now responsible for the ones that can’t drive. They do have wonderful grandparents that help out, but the responsibility is on their shoulders. I do “pay” for them doing this by providing gas money, but I feel kids should have to help out at home.
6. Teach kids that education is important. This one comes with a twist. I do not believe that all kids should go to college. I tell my kids that they should go to college if the career they are going into requires it. However, if they are interested in a trade, then go to a trade school or go to work right away. Military service will always be a possibility. College is not for everyone and they should not waste their time by getting a soft degree that will get them nowhere afterwards.
Kids will appreciate this when they get older. Sometimes they will argue with you on it, but the goal is for them to be functioning members of society that will not want to freeload off of you or the government.
Thanks for reading,