Ensure you teach them some key strengths that are guaranteed to make life a little bit easier.
1. Time management
From getting to appointments on time, to making sure a project is completed by the deadline – get them to work out what will help them best to achieve their goal. Setting an alert on their smartphone or computer, having a to-do list, even a good old-fashioned desk diary - whatever system helps them plan their own time. It could be the difference between being hired or fired.
2. Dealing with difficult people
Nightclub bouncers, manipulative friends and colleagues, bullying bosses… Difficult people are everywhere. Which is why learning to deal with them without resorting to arguments or violence is never a waste of time. Sensible advice like not reacting too fast, nor over-reacting, and calmly stopping to think, “What exactly is happening here?” will set up your kids for life.
3. Money matters
Simple things like saving for a rainy day, not spending more than you earn, keeping tabs on income and outgoings, and not running up debts they’ll be paying off when they’re grandparents. All advice that often falls on deaf ears when talking to young people, but keep at it. The best start is with a job – any job – as earning their own money often makes them see its value differently.
4. Domestic skills
It’s not enough to know how to load a dishwasher or make a basic pasta dish. Can they wire a plug? Set the alarm? Unblock the sink? Kids who grow up never having to lift a finger to help out at home are not only spoilt, they’re stuck when they move into their own place – not to mention a useless partner when they eventually find a Significant Other. A squirt of Febreze will freshen up the sofa, Ariel will remove stains – useful knowledge that will earn them brownie points from their flat mates.
Getting up again after they’ve been knocked down by a bad exam result or heartbreak. Having the presence of mind to do some research and find gainful employment. Sticking to a healthy fitness regime. Starting their own business. People who can push through the pain and get to their productive place are people with the resilience to succeed – in work and life.
Have you always made the big decisions for them, like what to study and which jeans to buy? Time to stop. Helicopter Parenting only delays the moment your adult child starts to make their own choices – and mistakes. Getting it wrong a few times teaches them what it takes to get it right, whether that’s making a list of pros and cons, doing research, taking a straw poll or trusting their gut. Punch line: you can’t live their life for them.
What do you think are the most important life skills? Let us know in the comments section below.