When I went to college I was clueless. I didn’t know how to manage my finances, I didn’t know how to wash my clothes, and I didn’t know what I should’ve about relationships. Somehow, I made it through college, but I had to learn a lot of basic life lessons the hard way. Try to make sure your child is prepared before they leave home by starting now to teach your tweens and teens what they’ll need when they’re on their own.
1. Know how much you love them Show them with words. Show them with actions. Don’t let a day go by without telling them how much they mean to you.
2. Know that you believe in them: Too many parents sabotage independence by hovering—offering help when hasn’t been requested, assuming their children lack the skills to survive. That attitude easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. Know how to live on their own: Boys and girls alike need to know how to cook, clean, do laundry, sew on a button, unclog a toilet.
4. Know how to interview for a job and prepare a résumé: Role play with them until they’re comfortable answering interview type questions. Let them prepare a résumé and then help them refine it.
5. Know how to manage their finances: Can they keep track of their own bank account? Do they have a savings account? Do they know how to budget?
6. Know how to use a credit card: We’ve listed this separately because credit has the potential to literally ruin young lives before they get started. Begin when the kids are old enough to have a pre-paid debit card, and train from there. By the time your child leaves home they MUST understand the relationship between credit and the real money that’s necessary to back it up. Failure here will lead to more heartache and financial ruin than in any other area of independent life.
7. Know how to assess their own medical needs: Have they learned to read their own bodies, take their own temperature, and treat a cold or the flu? Do they know when to go to the walk-in clinic and when to stay in bed?
8. Know where their moral compass is located: Do they know how to make hard choices? Do they have a grounded sense of right and wrong? Have they had experience in making tough calls by themselves? Do they know what they believe?
9. Know the difference between real love and infatuation: Have they survived their first love? Do they know the stuff from which real love is made? Do they lose themselves in relationships or can they maintain their objectivity when getting to know someone?
10. Know how to treat people respectfully: Teach your children how to write a “Thank you.” note. Teach them why it’s important not to be late, and how to carry on a conversation with an adult. Teach your sons the basics of gentlemanly behavior—open doors for women; take off your hat when you enter a building, etc.
Reprinted from www.imom.com