I read about a high school in Shepherdsville, Kentucky who recently held an “Adulting Day” for their seniors. It was a day set aside for seniors to come and learn how to cook when they get to college, change a tire and pay bills. Many parents commenting on the article praised the efforts of the school. At various times, I’ve heard parents comment that schools should offer these type of classes on a regular basis.
My first reaction, however, was why aren’t parents teaching these skills to their children? These are basic life skills that should be taught, or at least introduced, to children by their parents. But I quickly realized that some parents aren’t skilled in these areas or what they were taught by their parents wasn’t helpful to them for succeeding in life. That’s where perhaps some kind of seminar or class in school would be advantageous—It gives students different perspectives to consider.
Take, for example, financial management. If parents consistently make poor choices with their money, and then, they pass that down to their children, the cycle just continues. Some people believe that debt is just a part of life that you have to accept in order to get ahead, while others believe that debt is a choice you make. It comes down to adopting a philosophy of only buying what you can pay cash for or buying what you want—when you want— and paying for it later. The problem with schools teaching these life skills boils down to which version should the school teach. If it isn’t the philosophy all parents agree with, then they might not want the school teaching this to their children. It’s never simple.
However, there are many young adults who lack these basic skills that accompany being an adult, and they need to learn it somewhere. I still believe the majority of the responsibility lies with parents. Life skills, such as purchasing a home, managing a retirement account, maintaining a house, cooking, cleaning and basic every day manners, are all things that parents should expose their children to on a regular basis—when it’s age appropriate. Children learn how to maintain a home by participating in chores. They learn that the people who live in it are the ones who need to clean it. They see that if everyone pitches in to help, the burden doesn’t fall on just mom or dad.
The concept of spending and saving money is experienced by your children actually having some of their own, whether earned or given as an allowance. It’s said that the easiest way to help your children understand the value of money is to borrow some from them! It’s also helpful to make them save money to buy something they really want instead of just giving it to them when they want it.
Teaching children life skills not only benefits the children, but it also benefits parents because their children will be capable of living on their own and will not have to depend on their parents forever. That’s a win-win for everybody.
Where are you at in teaching your children some of the vital skills they’ll need in life? It’s never too late, even if your children don’t live at home. If you haven’t because you don’t feel confident in an area, then direct them to where they can get help. It’s all part of assisting them in their future to win at home.