Preparing Kids For Success
Although today’s college students may be better prepared academically and more accomplished than students from past generations, emotionally many are unprepared for the realities of being independent adults. According to Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford University, Dean of Admissions and author of the book, How To Raise An Adult,
many college students lack the ability to make it on their own. This is in large part due to the phenomenon of “helicopter parenting” which is when a parent gets overly involved with micromanaging their child’s life. Although helicopter parents have their children’s best interests at heart, an unintended effect is that the children get used to their parents making decisions and doing things for them and then have difficulty when they are older and are expected to be able to function on their own. This in turn can lead to anxiety, depression and hopelessness in young adulthood. As stated by Lythcott-Haines, “when we allow our kids to act for themselves while drawing up boundaries and giving guidance and love along the way, they will develop the kindness and compassion that they need to be successful adults.”
So what can parents actually do to prepare their children for success? There have been many studies performed that indicate that success occurs as a result of learning specific problem solving, emotional and intellectual skills during childhood. Specifically, according to the Harvard Grant Study
, there are two proven concepts that parents can teach their children from a young age to help them to become successful adults: how to do chores
and how to express love.
What is the best way to teach children these 2 important life skills? According to Lythcott-Haims, there is a 4 step process, starting in early childhood that parents can follow to teach children how to successfully do chores, including: do the chore in front of them
, do the chore with them
, watch them do the chore
and then have them do the chore on their own.
By following this process, children can learn and take pride in their ability to do work.
In addition, Lythcott-Haines believes that there are 12 basic life skills that all teenagers should acquire by the time they are in high school. These include: making a meal, waking themselves up on time, doing their own laundry, pumping gas, pitching in to help others, speaking up for themselves to teachers or coaches
(instead of parents doing it for them), packing their own bags, ordering for themselves at restaurants, asking questions of others
(such as directions), going grocery shopping, planning an outing and taking public transportation.
While teaching their children chores and other practical life skills, if parents can model love, kindness and compassion, then when the children become adults, they will have the foundation to demonstrate these same emotions towards others. Therefore by training children how to work and to love and respect others, parents can help their children to become happy, successful and independent adults.