Raising Independent Kids
Part of the job of being a parent is to protect children from harm. However, it is impossible to shield kids from everything, especially as they grow older and spend more time away from home. Raising children and teens to be self-reliant is also part of a parent’s job. The five tips listed below can provide a good foundation for ensuring that children grow up to be capable, self-reliant adults.
Gifts for holidays, birthdays and special accomplishments such as graduation are totally appropriate. On the other hand, parents don’t do their children any favors by paying for every concert or trendy piece of clothing they may want. Instead, children and teens should be encouraged to save funds from their allowance or (if they have one) an after-school job to purchase everyday fun items.
Parents should also teach older kids basic money handling skills, such as creating a budget and balancing a checkbook. Children should also learn the importance of avoiding too much credit card debt. Establishing good money habits now can help kids avoid big financial problems as young adults.
Basic Cleaning and Maintenance
Far too many college students stuff washers to the brim with clothes and pour half a box or bottle of detergent over the pile, hoping for clean clothes as a result. No child should leave home without understanding the basics of sorting laundry and treating stains. Likewise, basic cleaning skills such as washing dishes or cleaning a bathroom should be part of the skill set of every teenager – male and female. Smaller kids can begin to understand the basics of cleaning and household maintenance by being required to pick up their toys or make their beds.
Whether they’re driving your car (or their own car) or riding public transportation, children and teens should be taught the basics of following street signs. Navigating rush hour traffic or following GPS directions should be an integral part of driving training. Children and teens who ride public transportation should know the locations of the stops nearest to their homes, school and other important landmarks.
Although it may be tempting to nag a child to get up in time to eat breakfast and catch the bus, it may be a worthwhile lesson for parents to allow that child to oversleep, and miss the bus. And unless it is fundamentally unsafe to do so, parents should require the tardy child to navigate his or her own way to school – and suffer the consequences for being late to class.
Dealing with Emergencies
Sometimes bad things happen, and knowing how to handle emergencies is frequently the difference between emerging relatively unscathed and being badly injured (or worse). Kids and teens should be taught not to get into a stranger’s vehicle, how to stop, drop and roll during a fire and other basic emergency strategies.
As children mature into puberty and then into adulthood, the self-reliance skills they have learned will help them to successfully navigate the challenges nearly everyone faces. That’s truly a way to protect children from harm.