Many people I know, myself included, have children graduating in the next few weeks and I have heard the comments, “Now what do they do?” and “How can I get them ready for college?”
Summer months can be the best opportunity for your children to pick up some new skills to help them better prepare for caring for themselves. While they are in school, we parents often tend to take care of their food needs, laundry, and the general managing of their lives, but once they are off and away at college, your job in those areas is pretty much done. Quite suddenly.
So, how well is your student prepared for college and adulthood?
Since I work with college students day in and day out, I can tell you many are completely clueless as to how to do some very basic self-care tasks. The next several columns are going to be dedicated to giving you an insight into what your children need to know and how you can guide them to learn for themselves what to do.
The main goal is for them to become independent. I’m sure we can all agree that raising a child to be dependent on others is not a good idea. Our adult children should be able to make good decisions, including conscious choices about their futures. They should be able to manage their daily lives properly, take care of their environment and manage their health. They have been receiving hands-on training just by living with you, their parents or guardians, but until they are out on their own, they haven’t really learned to fly yet. They’ll get it sooner or later, but here are some thoughts for making the transition easier and faster.
Decision-making is a necessary skill that some people really struggle with. Whether it be from a fear, lack of knowledge or experience, or simply not wanting to be responsible for the outcome, many issues can result in lack of decision-making or poor decision making. Your children have by now had the chance to make some decisions on their own. Empower them further by guiding them toward making choices in situations that don’t have a potentially catastrophic outcome, so they build that muscle slowly. As their confidence increases, they can make more difficult decisions. If they seem indecisive, just ask:
“What are your options?”
“What would you expect the outcome of each option to be?”
“What would you like to have as an end result after the decision is made?”
These questions can help your children realize that they can make decisions, they just need some practice.
Watch next week for more ideas for empowering our teens!