As a parent of three teenagers it’s clear to me that more than ever before that there are gaps in their formal education and to ensure that they have a strong foundation to be prepared for college, careers and life in general my wife and I will need to teach them these life long literacy’s. They remind me of this almost daily when frustrated with homework, stating when will I ever use this knowledge in my life. I have to agree, their pre-calculus homework seems a bit of overkill for non-mathematics majors. However, they will continue to trek through these subjects and we will supplement their education in a number of areas to hopeful produce well-rounded young adults. Here are the steps for preparing your children for adulthood that we are following.
When I was in high school I attended a class barbecue at a local park, at some point during the day I offered to jump in and help cook to give the teachers a break. There were some stunned looks on my teacher’s faces. They wanted to know where and how I learned to cook. At home I replied and off to man the grill I went.
Teaching your children to cook for themselves is an essential life skill, you might even consider it a survival skill. There are many benefits to being able to cook for yourself, eating healthier and saving money are tops on our list. We are introducing our children to cooking by asking them to pick their favorite meal, shop for it, and then prepare it. My wife and I will be there to assist, but they will take lead. From there we will look for each of them to cook a meal once a week, this will continue to increase their cooking abilities and give mom and dad a break.
Our children have more ways of communicating with one another than ever before. As technology continues to evolve so will these opportunities. That may not be a good thing, text speak and emoji’s don’t translate really well into the business world. You need to look someone in the eyes when you have a conversation, speak in full sentences, and have the attention span to listen to what they have to say. Just image your child in their first job interview, and they only used text language to answer the questions. It’s important our children have the interpersonal skills.
- Demonstrate leadership.
- Handle / provide constructive feedback.
- Written skills – letters, emails, resumes.
- Demonstrate listening skills.
- Understand and respect other POVs.
We cannot assume these things are all being covered in school. When’s the last time you proof-read a writing assignment of your child or listen to a conversation they had. It’s worth a read or listen to make sure they are on track.
Don’t laugh, I know some of you need to ask your children for help when it comes to technology. They have grown up with the internet and smart phones, but how well do they really know it. Sure they can use it, but can they set it up, troubleshoot it, and adapt to the rapid changes. To be effective adults it’s important they can exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology.
- Use technology to acquire, organizes, communicate information.
- Software – word processing, create graphics, host a virtual meeting.
- Use technology to acquire, organizes, and analyze data.
- Software to format and create graphs charts, tables, etc.
- Use technology as a tool – understand set/networking of desktops, laptops, smart phones, etc.
I realize this is a big bucket, but having the basic understanding of these technology topics will serve your child well. Being able to set up, troubleshoot and use technology will save you time and money. In most careers it could help you earn more money too. Oh and someone has to know how to set up and manage the wifi password.
The basics and I do mean basics are covered in school currency overview, banking basics, etc. These things are not enough for young adults beginning their financial lives. At age eighteen that will be faced with major decisions, like college, military, or entering the work-force. It’s critical they have an understanding of personal finance topics.
- Budget, Planning, Money management.
- Saving, compound interest.
- Income, careers.
- Student loans.
- ROI on college degree.
- Credit, debt.
- Risk management, insurance.
Having a good understanding of these topics will not guarantee success, but not having any knowledge of them can almost certainty set them up for failure. Talking openly about these topics sets the precedent with your children that it’s okay to discuss money, typically a taboo subject in many households.
No one said rising children was going to be easy. I just want to prepare them as best as possible before they head out on their own. I believe teaching them in these four area gives them a better shot at success. I love my children, but don’t want them living in my basement for the rest of their lives.
What do you believe is the most important topic to teach your child before the set out on their own? What do you wish you learned early on in your life?
Brian is a dad, husband, and an IT professional by trade. A Personal Finance Blogger since 2013 who, with his family, has successfully paid off over $100K worth of consumer debt. I want my three children to handle money better than I ever did at a young age. I have been teaching them as much as I can for the last 10 years. My goal is to continue to champion the financial literacy message and then why I created the “How To Rock Your Money” book. To help teenagers navigate their financial futures. I hope my family’s story of paying off over $100,000 worth of debt will inspire and motivate you to take control of your money. He blogs at BrianBrandow.com