Ready or not, welcome Class of 2023! Last week was a week of orientation for parents of eighth graders – the “here’s-what-you-need-to-know-to-survive” for incoming freshmen. At every event I attended I looked over at my son, who still seemed to be more like an over-sized puppy more than a burgeoning teenager. High school was being presented to us as training ground for employable skills and college success. No longer are the most frequent questions, “What would you like for your birthday?” or “What do you want to do this summer?” Rather, “What will your career be and how do you plan on preparing for that now?”
The good news, eighth graders, is that you can struggle with that question for the rest of your life! Make the most of every opportunity to learn and stay adaptable! You’re welcome. Here’s your diploma from the real world!
The question for parents of eighth graders is, that while schools are preparing your student for jobs, what are you doing to prepare them for independent life?
During my son’s middle school years, I’d been thinking about how different his chore life was from mine. Our household doesn’t require a ton of work, since there are only three of us. I had gotten in the routine of doing a lot of things myself, just because I saw what needed done, knew how to do it, and I was the quickest at doing it. When I started to reminisce about the responsibilities I had at his age, though, I began to research what I should be relinquishing and teaching to him now so that he could be successful on his own later.
Bonus: It’s a whole lot cheaper than outsourcing the things I don’t like doing!
I encourage you to Google “life skills to teach a teenager”. You’ll get a wealth of information and different ideas on what to teach and why. After doing my own research, I think the main categories come down to:
- Cleaning and repair
- Hygiene and healthy living
- Managing deadlines
- Managing finances
- Spiritual growth
When I look at that list I think, “Egads! There is no way my son is ready to enter the real world!” And then I take a deep breath and remind myself that he still has several years in our home to learn these things. I know, also, as the adult, have to look forward into the future to see how adaptable his skills are for future scenarios I know he’ll encounter and advise him accordingly. Why? Because once my son decides on a way of doing things, it is very difficult for him to change.
Going back to my years of teaching, I’m relying on these principles for teaching life skills to my son:
- Show him how it’s done (with explanation).
- Practice side-by-side.
- Watch him do it (correct as necessary).
- Let him do it (evaluate together).
One more thing – I’m realizing that I’m not the best person to teach him all these life skills that he needs. I need to have other people involved that help shape him into a competent adult!
What are you doing to teach life skills to your teenager? I’d love some ideas, so comment below!!!
Thanks for reading! This is just one of my ways of putting a smile back in the world!
- Posted by hellobabs
- On March 6, 2019
- 0 Comment