Life moves on, and in the process, so do your children.
As a parent, you are responsible for giving them the skills necessary to cope and manage in life, because whether you’re unwilling to cut the cord or not, there will be a day when they finally leave home to make it on their own. Be it into an apartment or a house of their own near you, or private student accommodation in a faraway place, your children will make those first steps towards independence and away from your daily care.
So, before they pack their bags and wave you a tearful goodbye, do all you can to help them while they’re still living with you. There are all kinds of life skills that you should start teaching them (if you haven’t already), and these include the following.
Life Skill #1: Teach them how to cook
Your children will miss the meals you have cooked them when they have to manage on their own, so to ensure they don’t live a life of pot noodles and microwave meals, give them a few basic lessons on how to prepare healthy and delicious meals in the kitchen. You don’t have to teach them anything too complicated, as these easy-to-learn recipes are probably a good enough start if they are just beginning to cook for themselves.
Life Skill #2: Teach them how to manage their finances
To ensure your children don’t get into financial jeopardy, give them a few budgeting tips before they leave home. Teach them the importance of saving for what they want (rather than splurging out using credit cards and bank loans), and show them how to make their money last for longer (such as tips on frugal supermarket shopping). We are pretty sure you don’t want your children relying on you for money for many years to come – the bank of mom and dad will eventually run dry – so make these lessons a priority, so you finally have money to spend on yourself for a change.
Life Skill #3: Teach them a range of domestic skills
Unless you want your children’s laundry on your doorstep every week, you should probably give them a lesson on how to use a washing machine. Teaching them to iron is important too, as they do need to look respectable when going for job interviews and on dates with others. And there are all the other domestic skills you need to teach your children, such as how to clean a house properly, and how to empty a vacuum cleaner. Admittedly, some of these jobs are pretty simple, but if your children have been lax in helping you with your household chores, then getting them started sooner rather than later should be your priority.
Life Skill #4: Teach them simple DIY
You don’t want your children calling you in the middle of the night when a fuse has blown, or a light bulb has gone kaput, so teach them how to replace a fuse and screw in a light bulb while they’re still living at home with you. And there are all kinds of other DIY tasks that they can do themselves, although they will need your guidance to give them the skills to carry them out responsibly and safely. Of course, you should also remind your children that it’s sometimes better to call out the professionals, especially with electrical and some plumbing jobs, so warn them about possible dangers too so they don’t get ahead of themselves and put their lives and homes in danger.
Life Skill #5: Teach them how to behave responsibly
This is something you are probably trying to do anyway, especially if your teenage children are prone to the odd temper tantrum and acts of defiance. However, they need to snap out of any behaviour patterns that are going to hinder them in the real world, so despite the whirlwind of your teenager’s hormones causing them to act and react in ways that are against their usual nature, start to show them how to behave responsibly. This includes lessons in social skills, as well as lessons in anger-management and respect for others. While your teenage children will probably grow out of any unruly behaviours, you might still want to show them better ways to behave, as while you might have the patience of a saint, their future employers and boy/girlfriends may not look upon them so kindly.
Your children are a reflection of you and the lessons you teach them, so focus on what we have said today, and help them learn these essential life skills before they leave home. They will be better off as a result, and you will have better peace of mind when they finally pack their bags and make their own way in the world.