8 Things Your 18 year old Needs to Know How to Do

I’ve been reading How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Successby Julie Lythcott-Haims. I highly recommend it. Here’s my edited version of pages 81-83. It’s her list and my comments

  1. An 18 year old must be able to talk to strangers. I’m surprised at how many teenagers I run into that don’t know how to look someone in the eye and have a conversation.
  2. An 18 year old must be able to find his way around a campus or city where they are studying or working. A lot of parents are with their kids ALL THE TIME. They need to learn how to get places on their own and do it.
  3. An 18 year old must be able to manage his assignments, workload, and deadlines. Through access online to classes and grades, parents now remind their kids to do EVERYTHING. I’ve stopped doing that. They have to learn to do that for themselves. I do occasionally check grades online to make sure assignments are being turned in but I am not my child’s rolodex and calendar keeper.
  4. An 18 year old must be able to contribute to the running of a household. Some parents don’t ask their children to do anything around the house because their child is too busy with academics, sports, clubs, homework. Kids need to learn to do their share for the good of the whole.
  5. An 18 year old must be able to handle interpersonal problems. It kills me when I see my kids having relationship problems with peers. But I can’t solve those nor should I if I could (unless there’s physical danger present). Kids need to learn how to cope with and resolve conflicts without intervention.
  6. An 18 year old must be able to cope with ups and downs of courses, workloads, tough teachers, and bosses. Too often today parents step in to finish the task, extend the deadline, talk to the adults.
  7. An 18 year old must be able to earn and manage money. This is difficult if the only money they receive is from us for whatever they want or need. Kids need to develop a sense of responsibility and pride and for accomplishing job tasks and then how to manage the money they make.
  8. An 18 year old must be able to take risks. Some parents don’t let their children fail. We need to let them fail and encourage them to take risks. They will only learn resilience and “grit” after trying, failing, and trying again.
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2 thoughts on “8 Things Your 18 year old Needs to Know How to Do

  1. Sounds great, Marcus. I am striving to get my 4-year-olds on track to do all those things, hopefully well before they are 18. I might hedge #5 a bit, to provide support and to include psychological danger.

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