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Published on July 20, 2018

These 17 Life Skills Will Teach Your Kids Responsibility

These 17 Life Skills Will Teach Your Kids Responsibility

As parents, one of your main responsibilities is to make sure that your kids are prepared for the real world, and that they are going to be responsible adults. In today’s world, this can be more challenging than ever, but it certainly isn’t impossible.

In fact, there are many life skills you can teach your kids to help them become responsible members of society, not to mention being happy and productive adults, and below I have outlined several tips that will help teach your kids how to be responsible and productive adults.

1. Teach Navigation Skills

Having one’s driver’s license doesn’t mean that one has navigation skills. In addition to helping them learn how to drive, teach them how to navigate.

They need to understand how to use a GPS system as well as a map, how to navigate through rush hour traffic, both in the city and on the highway, and other skills they won’t learn in Driver’s Ed. Of course, they also need to learn how to be patient in traffic and learn defensive driving skills.

2. Encourage Them To Get A Job

Just because your teen does well in school, it doesn’t mean that they are ready for the workforce. School teaches them academics.

You need to make sure that they know what it is to hold down a job.

Encourage them to take on summer and after-school jobs, so they will learn about the responsibility of a paying job, and how to deal with others, how to deal with conflict, and how to conduct themselves appropriately in any situation,

3. Teach Goal Setting

Everyone has goals, but not all goals are realistic ones. Teens in particular tend to have impractical goals—becoming famous, rich or popular, especially with what they see in social media these days—and it is your job to show them how to set realistic ones, and how to achieve those.

Talk to your teen about what they want to achieve both long-term and short-term. There are many studies about the relationship of goal setting in maintaining happiness in one’s life. Every time you experience reward by achieving your goals, dopamine is released which is responsible for feelings of motivation.

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4. Help Them Control Emotions

We all have our moments when it is difficult to deal with our emotions. It could be a conflict at work, relationship issues, or other situations that require tact. But, over time, we learn how to keep things in check for the most part. This is something that many teens have trouble with, since they are dealing with school work, teachers, peer pressure, and their home lives, but you can help.

Teach them how to deal with their emotions in a healthy manner, such as through sports, music, or arts and crafts . This also helps in encouraging patience. Even leading personal trainers for athletes would say that controlling emotions is very crucial. The more they are able to stay in control, the more confidence they will have (and you as well) for when tougher situations happen.

5. Teach Coping Skills for Emergencies

Once your kids are on their own, they are going to need coping skills to help them deal with emergencies. It could be as simple as a fire in a frying pan, an automotive breakdown, or even a leaky pipe in the kitchen.

You need to take the time to teach them about any number of little emergencies that can happen, and how to deal with them appropriately. They also need to learn how to cope without their mobile devices. [1] These things may not always be available when they need them.

6. Involve in Household Management

If your teenager has a messy room, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to be sloppy housekeepers in their own home. But, it is a good sign that they need to learn more about household management skills, such as budgeting, cleaning, scheduling appointments, and more.

They are likely going to have roommates, either in a dormitory or in an apartment, and if they don’t have these life skills, they are going to have problems with anyone they live with.

7. Close Your Wallet

Stop giving your teen money every time they ask for it. The more you give them, the less you teach them.

One of the most important life skills for anyone is how to handle their finances. If your teen is working, have them save a portion of their paycheck each week and put it right into a savings account.

Even better, encourage them to invest now in a retirement savings plan. It’s never too early to plan for the future. Not only will this teach them about financial responsibility, they will also have some extra cash when they really need it.

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8. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

A lot of today’s teens do not have healthy habits. They sit with their mobile devices all day long without getting much exercise, and they don’t eat properly. [2].

No matter what you are cooking at home, they are bound to be eating junk food when you are not around. A personal trainer once told me, “It is a good idea to take them to see a nutritionist, who can help get their diets on the right track, and teach them about healthy eating that is right for their body types.” The important bit here is matching a healthy diet to your kid’s body type and day to day activities.

9. Teach “You Did It, You Fix It”

A lot of parents make the mistake of trying to fix all of their kids’ problems. While this may be okay when they are very young, they must learn to deal with their own problems, especially the problems that they create themselves.

If your kids are in situations that they can handle, such as an argument with a friend or a conflict with a teacher, don’t help them. Let them handle it on their own, instead, teach them problem-solving skills and become they’re “guide” so they learn from the experience.

10. Stop Bailing Them Out

This goes hand in hand with teaching them about taking responsibility. If your teen gets into trouble, be it a conflict at school or with a sibling, don’t run to their rescue, at least not right away.

Yes, they may end up needing your help, but let them try and figure out how to take responsibility for their own actions. You won’t always be around to bail them out.

11. Give Them Problems To Solve

Your job isn’t to make life easy for your teen. Your job is to teach them how to get along in the real world as an adult. So, don’t solve their problems for them.

Give them situations where they will have to think for themselves, and see what they are able to do. They may surprise you, and themselves, given the opportunity to solve their own problems.

12. Teach Them To Stand Up For Themselves

Obviously, you are not teaching your kids to be fighters. But, you should be helping them learn how to negotiate in a conflict. Getting angry and throwing temper tantrums isn’t going to help them in any way, and I’m sure we’ve all learned this the hard way as parents.

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Teach them the skills they need to stay calm in any situation, such as counting to 10 before losing their temper, learning how to walk away from a conflict, and helping them recognize their emotions and be able to deal with those emotions during conflicts.

13. Teach Them How To Pay it Forward

Not only do we need to take care of ourselves, we need to have compassion for the world around us.

There are several ways that you can teach your teen how to contribute to this world. [3] Get them to volunteer at a local animal shelter or food bank.

You never know. They may love these things so much that it could lead to a career in helping others.

14. Encourage Them to Trust Themselves

Schools teach kids how to follow rules, but not about real life skills. You need to teach them that while they need to take instructions, they also need to be independent thinkers.

Help your teens learn how to trust in themselves and their decisions. Sure, there will be a few bad decisions made, but they will learn from their mistakes, and learn how to make better decisions.

15. Explain the Household Budget

You can talk to kids until you are blue in the face about how to budget, but unless they actually see good budgeting skills in action, they will have difficulty understanding how to do it themselves.

Talk to them about various household expenses, such as electricity and other utility bills, grocery expenses, and maintaining a vehicle. Show them your household income, and where every bit of it goes. Let them help with the budgeting so they will know what to do when they are on their own.

16. Get Them a Credit Card

Give your teen their own credit card.

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Yes, you read that right.

This is one of the best ways to teach fiscal responsibility. If they run up the card and have no credit left, don’t pay it off for them. Let them figure out how to pay it off and use it responsibly. The earlier they learn about responsibility with credit cards, the better.

17. Set a Shining Example

If you are doing none of the above things yourself, how can you expect your teen to become a responsible adult?

You are their best example, so put your best foot forward. Get the bills paid on time. Keep the house clean. Go to work every day. When kids have a great example like you, they are going to have a great head start on their future.

We Play A Major Role

In order to prepare teens for adulthood, you, as a parent, need to teach them important life skills that will help them to become productive adults.

Keep an open dialog with your kids, and let them know that they can come to you to get answers; and, if they need help with developing any of the skills that you are trying to teach them. If you work together, you can do it. Keep an open communication with them, and if they have problems, listen, and come up with ways to work through those problems together.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jane Dizon

Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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Published on May 24, 2019

How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

My husband and I facilitate a couple’s marriage and parenting group. Recently, the group discussed qualities, characteristics, and traits we wanted to see our children develop as they grow up. One term that came up that all parents seemed to upon agree as a highly valued trait was that of grit. The question from our group was:

“Can grit be taught to our children?”

The answer is, yes. Parents can help their child develop grit.

What is grit? Dr. Angela Duckworth is the top researcher on this subject and wrote the book Grit. She defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. This new buzz word is popular in the adult realm, but what about our developing children? What if we could help our children develop grit as young children.

Grit is more crucial to success than IQ. Duckworth, through her research at Harvard, found that having grit was a better predictor for an individual’s success than IQ. This means having the smartest kid in the room doesn’t ensure any level of success in their future. They can be brilliant, but if they aren’t properly intrinsically motivated, they won’t be successful.

Grit determines long term success. If a child can’t pick themselves up and try again after a failure, then how are they going to be able to do it as adult?

What a gift it would be to our children to engage them in a manner that helps them recognize their passions, talents, and develop a persevere to purse their goals. Below are some tips on how to raise a confident child with grit.

1. Encouragement is Key

When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, do they keep going after they fall down or do they quit after the first fall?

If they aren’t encouraged to get up and try again, and instead are coddled and told they can try again some other day, then they are being taught to play it safe.

Safe and coddled don’t exactly go hand-in-hand with building up grit. The child needs to be encouraged to try again. This can be a parent saying “you can do it, I believe in you” and “I know that even if you fall again you will try again and eventually you will get the hang of it”.

Encouragement to keep trying so that they can build up perseverance is very helpful in building a child’s confidence. This confidence is what will help them strike out and try again.

If they feel that they can’t do it or shouldn’t do it, then they won’t. The mind is a powerful thing. If a child believes that they can’t be successful in doing something, then they won’t be successful. Part of building that mentality of believing in themselves comes from encouragement from their parents, care givers, and teachers.

Cheer Them On

How many times have you heard a story of success that someone had in life that all began because someone believed in that person?

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A coach, a mom, a teacher can have a huge impact by believing in the child’s ability to be successful and voicing that encouragement to them. Words are powerful. Use them to build up a child, by telling them that they can do it even if they have try again and again.

Be their support system by being their cheerleader. Cheerleaders don’t just cheer when the team is winning. They cheer words of encouragement to keep the team going.

The same goes with children. We need to cheer for their successes, but also cheer for them to keep going and fighting the fight when life gets tough!

You Can’t Force Them

Keep in mind that you can’t force a child to keep trying. They have to do it themselves.

For example, when my daughter was learning to tie her shoes, it was a real struggle. She gave up. I couldn’t make her want to try to do it again. She had to take a break from the struggle for a few months and then try again.

She was more successful the second time around, because she had matured and her fine motor skills had improved. It would have been ridiculous for me to force her to practice tying her shoes for the three or four months in between, with tears and arguing taking place.

No, instead we took a break. She tried again later. Forcing her to learn something that she wasn’t ready to learn would have pit us against one another. That would have been a poor parenting move.

There are boundaries that parents can set though in some cases. For example, if your child begins an activity and wants to quit mid-season because they are terrible at the sport, you have the opportunity to keep them in the sport through the end of the season to show them that quitting is not an option.

Although they may not win another tennis match the rest of the season or win another swimming race all year long, finishing the commitment is important. It will help with the development of grit by teaching them to persevere through the defeat. It is character building.

If your child is great at all things all the time, they will not develop grit. They need to try things that challenge them. When they aren’t the best at something, or for that matter, the worst, it creates an opportunity for them feel real struggle. Real struggle builds real character.

2. Get Them out of Their Comfort Zone

My daughter wanted to try cheerleading this past fall. She has never done this activity in the past, nor is she particularly coordinated (sorry sweetie). For that matter, she couldn’t even do a cartwheel when cheer season began.

However, we signed up because she was so excited to become a cheerleader. I signed up to coach because there was a need for more cheer coaches. We were all-in at that point.

Once the season began, I quickly realized that cheerleading was far outside my daughter’s comfort zone. The idea of cheerleading was great in her mind. The reality of memorizing cheers and learning physical skills that were hard for her made the experience a struggle. She wanted to quit. I said to her “no, you were the one who wanted to do this, so we finish what we started.” I had to say this more than once. I don’t think anyone on the squad knew this was the case, because she kept at it.

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She kept practicing those cheers every evening. It did not come naturally to her at first, so it was uncomfortable. She always seemed to be half a beat behind the other cheerleaders, which made it very awkward and uncomfortable for her. However, letting her know that quitting mid-season was not an option made her try harder. She wanted to learn the cheers so she wouldn’t stand out on the squad as the girl who didn’t know what she is doing.

By the end of the season, she became a decent cheerleader. Not the best, but she was no longer half a beat behind the rest. She learned skills that were hard for her to conquer. Now that she felt success in achieving something that was uncomfortable and hard for her. She knows she has it in her to do that in other areas of life.

That is why it’s ok for us as parents to let our kids feel the struggle and be uncomfortable. If they don’t experience it when they are young, they will as adults, but they won’t be equipped with the perseverance and inner-strength built from years of working hard through smaller struggles as they grew up.

Allowing our children to struggle helps them build that skill of perseverance, so that they have the grit to achieve hard things in life that they really desire to accomplish.

3. Allow Them To Fail

Your child will fail at things in life. Let them. Do not swoop in and rescue your child from their personal failures. If they don’t fail, then they don’t have the opportunity to pick themselves up and try again.

If I had pulled my daughter from cheerleader once I realized that it was going to be a real struggle, she wouldn’t have experienced failure and struggle. Letting her have this small failure in life taught her lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. She learned about the power she has within herself to try harder, to practice in order to make change happen, and to push through it even when you feel like giving up because it is embarrassing.

Failure is embarrassing. Learning to handle embarrassment is taking on a fear. When kids learn to do this at a young age, it is practice for adult life. They will experience failure as an adult. They will be better equipped to handle life’s disappointments and failures if they have learned to handle the fear of embarrassment and failure when they are young.

Practice builds up the skill. Processing and handling fear, embarrassment, and failure are skills.

If I had pulled my daughter from cheer and allowed her to quit, I would have taken from her the opportunity to learn how to process and handle the embarrassment and failure she was experiencing at each practice and games. She learned to keep trying and that practicing the skills would lessen the embarrassment and feelings of failure.

Learning the value of practice and how to preserve through the fear and failure are priceless lessons. We may want to rescue our children because we want them to be successful at the things that they do, but how will they be successful in this competitive world as adults if they are provided with only opportunities in which they succeed?

Failure is needed to learn to thrive. Success in adulthood does not come easy to children who are protected from failure because they haven’t built up the ability to persevere.

Perseverance comes when they have learned time and time again how to take the fear of embarrassment and failure head on and practice to get better.

4. Teach Them to Try Again

Encourage your child to try again. Don’t let them quit on the first try.

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Life is hard. If we quit the first time we tried at things, we would never amount to anything in life. We need to teach our children that trying again is simply part of life.

Help them to give it a go by providing encouragement and support. Offer to practice with them, provide them with tutoring or coaching if necessary — whatever it takes to get them back on the proverbial horse and trying again.

Break it Down

Sometimes failure occurs because they are trying something all at one time and they haven’t mastered the smaller components.

For example, a math student isn’t going to jump into calculus as their first high school math course. No, of course not. They build on their skills. They begin with basic math, then algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus to then they get to the calculus level.

If they are thrown into the deep end by taking on calculus before the foundation of their math skills are built, they will fail.

Help your child try again by breaking down what it is they are trying to achieve.

Going back to my cheer example… my daughter was not the best at learning the cheers when we began. It then dawned on me that we needed to break down each cheer phrase by phrase. Once we learned the phrase and movements that went with it, we could then learn the next one. Once these were learned, we could combine the phrases, practice them together, and then try to move to learn the next phrase in the cheer. It was a tedious process, but it worked.

Not all skills come easy for kids. Helping them learn the skill of breaking things down into manageable tasks is another way we teach them about grit. They are learning to build skills by persisting, practicing, and building upon previous experience, knowledge, and skills.

Grit is put into practice in childhood when they learn how to break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks in order to build toward a greater goal.

5. Let Them Find Their Passion

Your child may be a wonderful pianist. However, if they aren’t passionate about the skill, then they likely won’t be happy or fulfilled in becoming a concert pianist.

It’s great to help your child discover their talents, but also let them discover what they are passionate about in life.

True success will come because they are passionate about the activity, not because they are the best. The best usually become that way because they are passionate first. Therefore, let your child experience a variety of activities and interests so that they can discover what they love to do.

6. Praise Their Efforts, Not the Outcome

Praising their efforts keeps them motivated and trying. If you focus on outcome, then when they fail, they will become defeated and discouraged.

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Focusing on the fact that they tried hard and pointing out specific ways that they did well in terms of effort will support them in trying again. When you make a habit of focusing on outcome, then failures are avoided at all costs, including taking risks.

Risks are needed in order to become successful. Therefore, make a habit of praising their efforts, even when the outcome is not what they had hoped and tried for, because eventually, if they keep trying their efforts will result in success.

7. Be a Model of Grit

If you are a parent or a caregiver for a child, then you are a model to that child. Children naturally look up to the adults in their life that are closest to them, especially their parents. They will look at your ability to persevere and achieve. Your grit will show.

Your children are watching. They may not know the term grit, but they will learn about working hard, not giving up, trying again after failure, and all that grit entails from your actions.

How you handle life is being watched by your children. You can work on your own grit by reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit .

Develop a Growth Mindset

Helping your child develop a growth mindset is also helpful to your child in their development of grit. Dr. Dweck, author of Growth Mindset and researcher at Stanford, developed a theory of fixed versus growth mindset.

Basically, what it means is that if you have a fixed mindset, you will fear failure and easily give up. Someone with a growth mindset believes that their talents, skills, and abilities can be improved with hard work and learning. Parents and caregivers can help with the development of a growth mindset.

    Some of the ways that a growth mindset can be developed include:

    • Teaching your child how the brain works: neuron connections, right brain versus left brain.
    • Teach them to set goals.
    • Teach them to have a “can do” attitude.
    • Teach them to develop a strategy when they want to achieve something.
    • Teach them that mistakes are an opportunity to learn.
    • Teach them that failure is a normal part of life.
    • Teach them about self talk: Self Talk Determines Your Success

    There are a great deal of activities and materials online for helping your child develop a growth mindset including these resources below (each site contains at least some free content):

    The Bottom Line

    Grit is not just for adults, it is something we can help our children develop. Grit is more critical to success than IQ, so we should be helping our children develop this quality early in life.

    As a parent, being a model of grit, is one of the first ways to help our children become “gritty”.

    Featured photo credit: Gabriela Braga via unsplash.com

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