(Continued from previous blog “Jesus Restores Me“)
As parents, we deeply desire our kids to grow to be responsible. Yet, many young men and women remain irresponsible instead. What will best equip them for their adult lives?
It goes without saying that our kids should learn to be kind and respectful to others. They need to learn to wait their turn and not interrupt, to listen and to be mindful of the needs of others.
In other words, they must learn to live by the golden rule!
Plus, it goes without saying that, as parents, our greatest work is prayer. Prayer must be our daily agenda, in order to keep our focus on what’s most important. But what are those practical responsibilities that our kids need to grow in that will equip them for their lives as adults?
What is it that our kids need to become most responsible for before they leave our homes?
As parents, we are responsible to equip our kids to walk responsibility into the adult world.
Our kids are responsible for learning and maturing, which comes by way of what they can control: their effort, their attitudes, and their choices.
The outcomes, however, are in God’s hands. It’s tempting to focus heavily on the outcomes we want to see happen – like grades, tests, career choices, and college admissions. Doing so increases anxiety because the focus goes onto things our kids can’t wholly control. Putting the focus on what can’t be controlled (like these outcomes, or even the behavior of others), is burdensome and diminishes the ability to focus on those things that are within their control – namely effort, attitudes and choices.
So what should the focus be on? How should you equip your kids?
Here’s a list of seven priorities:
ONE: As students, kids need to grow in the ability to be able to manage assignments, workloads and deadlines.
They need to learn how to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines without our reminders. This process begins in the earliest ages and gradually evolves into full ownership. Schooling is about so much more than gaining information. It’s about the formation of character and good habits for life.
Parent Responsibility: Refrain from assuming ownership by nagging, reminding, being their time clock or helping too much. It’s their learning process and not yours!
TWO: Kids should learn how to contribute to the daily operations of the household.
They need to learn how to look after their own needs and respect the needs of others. They need to learn how to contribute to the wellbeing of the entire family and not just themselves.
Parent Responsibility: Refrain from doing all the household work, or hiring it all out. Instead, expect and teach your kids how to do their fair share. Learning how to do things, like cleaning, laundry, cooking, and yard work, grows confidence and equips kids to function effectively in the adult world.
THREE: Kids need to be able to handle challenging times.
They need to be able to manage those uphill stretches of the road as well as those times when life throws them a curve.
Parent Responsibility: Normalize the inherent discomfort in growth. When things get hard, refrain from stepping in and taking over or finishing the task for them. Kids need to learn that in the normal course of life, things won’t always go their way and that regardless, they will be OK.
FOUR: In addition, kids need to be able to take risks in order to gain a healthy dose of tenacity and resilience.
Parent Responsibility: Prepare them for the path before them rather than preparing their paths by removing all pitfalls and trying to prevent all stumbles. Teach your kids that success comes by trying, failing and then getting back up and trying again. Grit is developed from coping when things go wrong.
FIVE: Kids need to gain the skills necessary to handle interpersonal problems.
Parent Responsibility: Guide them in solving their misunderstandings with others and let them work through their hurt feelings without trying to smooth them over. They need to learn how to cope with and resolve conflicts wisely and without our intervention. (There will be times when intervention on your part becomes necessary, but refrain from taking away a learning opportunity unnecessarily.)
SIX: Kids need to become responsible for the wise use of time – both work and free times.
Parent Responsibility: Make sure to monitor their use of digital screens, both how much and what they are doing. Today’s kids are not as busy as they think they are. A great deal of time is eaten up by digital activities that provide little, if any, growth in skills. Allow for free time, that is also free from screens, times when they have to create their own fun and entertainment.
SEVEN: By age eighteen, kids need to be able to earn and manage money.
Parent Responsibility: Refrain from giving your kids money whenever they think they need it, so that they develop a sense of personal responsibility for meeting their own needs and grow to understand the value of money. Prepare them for the workforce, in which they will work for a boss, who won’t naturally be enamored by them, but will expect responsible behavior and job completion in exchange for wages.
Train your kids with these seven areas of responsibilities (school work, household chores, challenges, risks, interpersonal conflicts, time and money) and they will be equipped for adult life!