Preparing kids to live independently

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MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3229
Preparing kids to live independently

Stacey's question for her coworker reminded me of a discussion with some teens we know heading off to college. These kids did not know how to do laundry, cook, basic cleaning skills, car care, to deal with money/budgeting, etc. -- i.e. what I would refer to as life skills.

I remember that we had a discussion some time ago on a similar topic, but what is your approach (or will be) to preparing your child(ren) to live independently? Do you feel that your own parents prepared you well or did you have to learn another way?

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

I grew up fast due to my mother's mental instability. She was admitted to an institution when I was 11 and I was in foster care for 6 months (she did recover and we lived together but she will never be a good parent). But well before that and even after that, due to her inability to be a reliable parent (my dad was not in the picture), I had to learn how to take care of myself. I was cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and caring for my younger two sisters from the age of 9 an onwards. I supported myself for the stuff I needed (food, clothes, toiletries, etc) from my first job with a paper route at 13 and various jobs after that. I did all of the house repairs for my mother (fixed electrical outlets, leaks, etc in my teens). Moved out when I was 18 on my own and haven't looked back.

I really feel that children should know how to cook and clean and do laundry and budget money starting very young. Not in the same situation as I had though! I fully intend on teaching my child to bake and cook as early as possible and as soon as they are old enough, they will be responsible for their own laundry and if they want money they will have to earn it.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Dang it Missy, you stole my thread idea.

Okay, well my parents, especially my mother, prepared me very, very well for the real world, partly because they didn't really support me financially during university so I was forced to quit and get a job to support myself. Anyway...that's a whole other story.

My kids are pretty young, 6 and 4, but we still have them helping with chores and designating certain things to Claire as her responsibility. We try to teach her responsibility by instilling that there are consequences to not doing this or that, not doing something lazily or getting upset about having to do it. I don't want a kid who will grow up to be a slob, a slacker or a spoiled adult because they expect things to be done for them all the time.

Specifically, Claire needs to bring her cup and plate to the kitchen after supper, garbage goes in the garbage, shoes in the closet and jacket in the bench, she brushes her hair and makes her bed, picks her clothes for the day (subject to weather appropriateness and mommy veto power). Both kids need to put their toys away when they're done, inside and outside. I ask Ben to get himself dressed, which he can do pretty well but needs help. I brush both their teeth still but we're getting Claire to do her own now. She hates brushing her own teeth.

Both kids love to help with the laundry. I put the soap in but the kids help me put the clothes in and start the load, and then transfer the clothes to the dryer. Claire also helps fold the laundry and they both have to put their own clean clothes away neatly (neatly doesn't always happen, unfortunately, or his clothes end up in her drawers). The kids always bake with me, or make pizza dough. Claire loves to knead and roll out the dough into a perfect circle of perfect uniform thickness Wink

I guess we let them do for themselves whatever they're able to, as long as there is no danger involved. I hope they'll be able to handle the real world one day.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

I grew up in a house where my mother did pretty much EVERYTHING. She never taught me how to do anything.

I never cooked, i never did my own laundry....i never even made my own school lunch, even in high school. She showed me how to do a load of laundry the day she dropped me off at my college as a freshman. I was expected to keep my room clean, which i wasn't great about that and I made my bed every day (incidentally i almost never make my bed as a grown up now).

So i guess you could say i was unprepared for that kind of stuff. Oh, for a while i was responsbile for washing the dishes after dinner, and ironing my dads shirts.

Yet it didn't seem to affect me that negatively. Laundry is easy...i learned it pretty quickly. Cooking? I don't enjoy cooking, but i actually don't think its because she didn't teach me young. I just don't like it. And i can do it...and do it pretty well when i need to. Housekeeping? I could be a better housekeeper, but i think i'm pretty average at it considering the tiny time frame i get to actually spend on housekeeping.

I went on to college and then to live in my own apartment and never had a problem. Balanced my checkbooks just fine, paid my bills yadda yadda.

I learned everything..i just learned it later and its really not rocket science.

All that being said, i'd like my kids to be a little more prepared than i was, just because it feels like the right thing to do. And who knows, maybe had my personality been a little different, things wouldn't have gone so well for me.

Joined: 05/13/13
Posts: 34

I do think my parents prepared me well, and I fully intend on teaching my son life skills the same way. The goal is to have a self sufficient, well rounded adult in the future. I would feel that I have failed as a parent if my son isn't capable of doing such basics as laundry, budgeting, or cooking himself a meal.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

The laundry especially...is so simple. I don't feel like it takes years of experience to learn. Not saying its bad to teach them...but i could probably teach them to laundry in a day.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Kim, I could have written your post word for word. I don't feel like my parents really did much to prepare me, but I also don't feel like I struggled/struggle much with the mechanics of housework or cooking or laundry. I don't care much for housework or cooking or laundry - maybe if I cooked with my mom as a kid I would have learned to love it, maybe not - but I know how to do it and do it well enough I think.

Having said that, I do expect T to do things for himself, and will ask him to do more as he gets older. But that's more because I don't *want* to have to do everything for everybody. Right now he is expected to put his dishes in the kitchen after he eats, put his shoes away when he takes them off, put his clothes in his hamper, pick up and put away any toys that he gets out, keep his room tidy, take his medication and vitamin every day (I get them out for him), do his breathing treatment every day (I do supervise to make sure it gets done), brush his own teeth (with supervision), pick out his own clothes and get himself dressed. He also helps me fold laundry. When he's old enough, I will want him to do his own laundry, clean his own bathroom, and make his own lunch. But that's a ways down the road yet.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

My brother does most of the cooking in his house because my SIL can't cook and neither can her mother. I know it's probably common - a woman/wife/mother who doesn't know how to cook because she was never taught - but it's kind of unfathomable to me. IDK, maybe because when I was a kid my mom worked AND did all the cooking/cleaning pretty much. I'm not really of the latch key generation where there was no parent around to teach you stuff. My dad taught me how to change a flat and where the engine fluids go. I've had a bank account forever, and a job since I was 15. I lived alone in my own place for years and years (and was happiest that way - living alone with no roommates), doing my own thing and paying my own way. It was really hard for me to give up a lot of that independence when I lived with my ex and then moved in with DH. Holy moly, sometimes even now when DH is in my face and the kids are making tons of racket I want my private space back!

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

See the notion that someone can't cook because they weren't taught during their childhood is kind of foreign to me. I think its something an adult can learn to do. Not everyone will become a fancy super spectacular cook, but i think everyone can learn enough to feed themselves or their family fine...at any age. As a parent, i think its highly convenient to equip my kids with the basics though!

The car thing, about changing flats, rotating tires or changing the oil..i meant to say that in my last post. That is one thing i definitely wish I had been shown how to do...and had done several times so i felt comfortable doing it myself. I think that is something I'll definitely want to teach my kids ahead of time.

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

"KimPossible" wrote:

I grew up in a house where my mother did pretty much EVERYTHING. She never taught me how to do anything.

I never cooked, i never did my own laundry....i never even made my own school lunch, even in high school. She showed me how to do a load of laundry the day she dropped me off at my college as a freshman. I was expected to keep my room clean, which i wasn't great about that and I made my bed every day (incidentally i almost never make my bed as a grown up now).

This is my husband. His mom did everything for him and to this day it's like pulling teeth to get him to lift a finger around the house. He just doesn't get how to be an adult and do anything. He has no idea how to clean and when I try to teach him or give him tips he just gets frustrated and walks away fuming. I pay all the bills, I do most of the cooking. He did live alone for a bit so he knows how to do laundry and cook, but he just refuses to do it.

My goal is to not have my kids grow up like that. However...I know I need to tackle the husband part too because he will be a bad example if he continues on like this...

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

My mother did not teach me how to cook as a teen. She and my Dad worked second shift and I went to school first shift and spent a lot of my weekends with friends/boyfriends. Dinner was left in the refrigerator to warm up. It was rough cooking as a newlywed. I went from home to college dorm to married never living in an apartment until I was married. I did learn to cook though. I cook every single day now. I learned through cook books, magazines, Google, Pinterest, and asking people how to make dishes that I liked when I happened to be at their house.

I would like for my kids to be more prepared. My older two can do make themselves a sandwich and make themselves a bowl of either oatmeal or cereal. As they get older I will teach them more. My youngest is the one who I am afraid will not learn as much because she is skilled at getting her older sisters to do things for her. I think it was that way with me. My parents taught my older sister a lot more than they ever taught me.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

"raingirl28" wrote:

This is my husband. His mom did everything for him and to this day it's like pulling teeth to get him to lift a finger around the house. He just doesn't get how to be an adult and do anything. He has no idea how to clean and when I try to teach him or give him tips he just gets frustrated and walks away fuming. I pay all the bills, I do most of the cooking. He did live alone for a bit so he knows how to do laundry and cook, but he just refuses to do it.

My goal is to not have my kids grow up like that. However...I know I need to tackle the husband part too because he will be a bad example if he continues on like this...

Curious, especially if he knows how to do it and just doesn't...is it possible that he is influenced at all by some sort of gender role thing?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

"raingirl28" wrote:

This is my husband. His mom did everything for him and to this day it's like pulling teeth to get him to lift a finger around the house. He just doesn't get how to be an adult and do anything. He has no idea how to clean and when I try to teach him or give him tips he just gets frustrated and walks away fuming. I pay all the bills, I do most of the cooking. He did live alone for a bit so he knows how to do laundry and cook, but he just refuses to do it.

My goal is to not have my kids grow up like that. However...I know I need to tackle the husband part too because he will be a bad example if he continues on like this...

I am very blessed in this way. FIL is a Pastor but was home most of the time while DH was growing up. MIL was an RN and worked long hours. DH grew up thinking it was normal for the dad to do most of the housework. Because I stay home with the kids I do the bulk of the house work, but he thinks it is very normal to help out. This was foreign to me because in my family the Mom did all housework and had a full time job.

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

"KimPossible" wrote:

Curious, especially if he knows how to do it and just doesn't...is it possible that he is influenced at all by some sort of gender role thing?

I've never really been able to figure out the root cause of why. It's probably partially because he suffers from severe depression (and possibly bi-polar which he needs to be investigated for). Also, despite his mom/grandparents (his family lived with them when he was a kid) doing everything, they weren't very clean at all, so his standards of what is "clean" are much different than mine. Like, his mom doesn't really cook and they eat a lot of processed/take out food. And they never really "clean" per-se. The bathroom at his parents house has probably not been cleaned in a year (no joke) and has caked on dirt and grime all of the toilet, shower, and sink.

My mother, in addition to her depression was also OCD for cleaning. One of her problems is that she would literally clean all day and all night and never sleep. She would vacuum at 3AM if she felt the need (explain that one to a teacher - "sorry, I didn't do well on that test because I didn't get any sleep due to my mother vacuuming all night"). So my standards for cleaning are very high and I get depressed if the place isn't spotless.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

I felt very prepared in all the household things, as well as car maintenance. But I had no idea how to budget or anything to do with money. Dh and I actual went to a financial counselor before we got married, best thing we have ever done.

My children have more chores then any children their age that I know. They start doing all their own laundry at 10 years old and they start cooking 1 meal a week starting at 11. I do this to teach them life skills but also because I think when they help keep the house clean they are more likely to appreciate what it takes to run a household. We also plan on having them pay all the bills for a 6 mth period when they are 16 or 17 so they know how much money it costs for a family to function.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I'm like some of the others. I didn't learn a lot about how to run a household at home but I figured it out. . .all part of the process. I did my own laundry at home anyway, but most things I just stumbled through. I never learned to cook, but I bake all the time, that's just a preference and as an adult, I always lived in cities where ordering in or picking up food was easy, and now my husband does the cooking.

I do think I'd have been served better by doing more tidying up/cleaning at home....just to make less of a big deal, more of the regular routine, like brushing your teeth. Just something you do.

I'm working on it with my kids but I also enjoy doing stuff for them, as they get older they'll be told to do more.

I also think part of the independence process is a period of irresponsibility where you learn just how bad things can get when you don't take care of the details. Lessons learned that way sometimes stick better. For me, I had to crash & burn a bit to learn how to make sure that never happens again.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"MissyJ" wrote:

These kids did not know how to do laundry, cook, basic cleaning skills, car care, to deal with money/budgeting, etc. -- i.e. what I would refer to as life skills.

I remember that we had a discussion some time ago on a similar topic, but what is your approach (or will be) to preparing your child(ren) to live independently? Do you feel that your own parents prepared you well or did you have to learn another way?

My parents prepared me well. My Mom cooked all of our meals, so cooking was something that we simply learned to do as a normal part of life, I love to cook and cook exactly like my Mom did/does, for the most part. I also do car care exactly like my Dad did ~ which means take my car to the dealership every 3,000 miles for service Smile I can't and wont change a tire or the oil and I'm totally fine with that. I've never had to. I'm a neat freak and have fun having "cleaning parties" with my kids. They think getting to clean the windows is a huge treat. Our approach is that we expect our kids to be members of our household, and that means basic participation (ditto my husband ~ he has an important role around the house too though it is different than mine. I couldn't respect him if he was lazy or did nothing to contribute around the house/yard/recycling etc) . They make their beds each day and are responsible for keeping their own rooms neat. THey bring their laundry to the laundry room when their baskets are nearing full. They set and clear the table. Each monday they empty the upstairs trash baskets and all of the bathroom trash baskets. They keep their playroom in the basement clean. They brush their own teeth and now shower themselves, usually DS1 showers with his little brother, though sometimes I shower the little guy.

Above and beyond that we offer cash jobs. These are their opportunities to be entrepreneurs.

My Dad used to be incensed that schools didn't teach basic life skills like what was a stock vs a bond, how to balance a check book, or what a mortgage really was. He had a fantasy about teaching such a class when he retired. He taught me that stuff, for which I feel lucky. We are doing the same with our kids, even at their young ages. They love to cook and bake with me, even if its messy it is worth it, they are just growing up knowing that caring for oneself is a part of life ~ they help garden and then help cook that same food that they grow into dinner or lunch. I feel lucky to have parents who prepared me well to run a home and who prepared me well to budget/be financially responsible. I do think that it is important to do that for our kids.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

"Potter75" wrote:

My parents prepared me well. My Mom cooked all of our meals, so cooking was something that we simply learned to do as a normal part of life, I love to cook and cook exactly like my Mom did/does, for the most part. I also do car care exactly like my Dad did ~ which means take my car to the dealership every 3,000 miles for service Smile I can't and wont change a tire or the oil and I'm totally fine with that. I've never had to. I'm a neat freak and have fun having "cleaning parties" with my kids. They think getting to clean the windows is a huge treat. Our approach is that we expect our kids to be members of our household, and that means basic participation (ditto my husband ~ he has an important role around the house too though it is different than mine. I couldn't respect him if he was lazy or did nothing to contribute around the house/yard/recycling etc) . They make their beds each day and are responsible for keeping their own rooms neat. THey bring their laundry to the laundry room when their baskets are nearing full. They set and clear the table. Each monday they empty the upstairs trash baskets and all of the bathroom trash baskets. They keep their playroom in the basement clean. They brush their own teeth and now shower themselves, usually DS1 showers with his little brother, though sometimes I shower the little guy.

Above and beyond that we offer cash jobs. These are their opportunities to be entrepreneurs.

My Dad used to be incensed that schools didn't teach basic life skills like what was a stock vs a bond, how to balance a check book, or what a mortgage really was. He had a fantasy about teaching such a class when he retired. He taught me that stuff, for which I feel lucky. We are doing the same with our kids, even at their young ages. They love to cook and bake with me, even if its messy it is worth it, they are just growing up knowing that caring for oneself is a part of life ~ they help garden and then help cook that same food that they grow into dinner or lunch. I feel lucky to have parents who prepared me well to run a home and who prepared me well to budget/be financially responsible. I do think that it is important to do that for our kids.

The basic responsibilities with cash jobs on top of it is exactly what i've been saying what I want to do for a long time now....but have not implemented it. I'm finding it so hard to commit to working it into our routines.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

I was a latch-kay kid from an astonishingly young age because my mom went back to school full-time after my parents divorced and she couldn't afford a sitter. And my dad had to pay barely any child support, either, and wouldn't pay a penny more than court-ordered. I had a lot of responsibility for a lot of things that I shouldn't have had. I've been very careful to not push too much responbility onto my kids, but I do expect them to do their chores. They don't do laundry because we don't have a washer or dryer, but they put it away, they help unload the dishwasher, they help cook when appropriate, they clean up their toys, they water plants, they feed pets. But I consider those things just being part of our family, not so much training for adulthood.

When I think of the lessons needed to live independently, I think more like living within one's means (and I don't mean by eating ramen the whole last week before payday), knowing what a balanced & nutritious diet looks like, reading a map and being able to navigate around town, drinking in moderation and only in a safe place with safe people, knowing when food has gone bad, knowing how to complain politely but effectively, knowing whether something is a good deal or not. Those are the life skills I want my kids to have. We've been in our home for over 11 years and my DH *still* can't give directions to anyone coming over a bridge, and he's gotten sick twice from eggs I told him he shouldn't eat. My SIL cut out meat but didn't replace it with anything good for her, and wondered why she got sick & felt like hell. My youngest sister still calls our mom or other sister for help because she doesn't know how to stick up for herself, like with Comcast charged her $300 for transferring her service to a new address or her insurance company refused to help repair her car that had been hit by someone else. I can't believe how many tourists in Golden Gate Park can't figure out which direction the map should be turned to figure out how to get where they want to be. Those things are the essential life skills IMHO.

SID081108's picture
Joined: 06/03/09
Posts: 1348

My parents did teach me quite a few things (cooking, baking, cleaning, basic car care, etc) but I feel like I was less equipped than I would have liked to be in some areas. My parents never had any debt the entire time I was growing up, except for a mortgage. They never spent money they didn't have, and always drove used cars they bought with cash. Because of their lack of use of credit, I grew up knowing very little about how it worked...like for example, what is an acceptable interest rate and how quickly interest can stack up. Because of that, when I got to college and was offered a credit card by my bank, I was very irresponsible with spending money that I didn't have. I thought that I didn't need to worry about it because once I graduated I'd be making "the big bucks" (ha ha) and would have no problem paying it off. As I result, I left college with $18,000 in credit card debt ($5,000 of which I used to pay someone else's tuition, knowing they would likely never pay me back) and realized quite quickly how hard it would be to pay that off and how long it would take. The world is very different now and my parents use credit just like DH and I do....to get rewards or to use a company's money without paying interest (like taking 18 months to pay off our floors at no interest, even though we had the money to pay them up front....why not???).

The long story short is that I really want my kids to grow up to be financially saavy. To truly understand how money works, how credit works, how much you need to live, how to budget, etc. The other stuff talked about (cooking, cleaning, laundry, chores) will of course be a part of their growing up as well, but I guess I put special focus on the financial aspect because I feel like my parents always lived wisely financially (as DH and I do now) but never really taught me how to do the same, and I had to learn it the hard way.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

I had a bit of the opposite problem when it came to cooking when I moved out. I was used to cooking for a minimum of 10 people and so cooking for 1-2 was really hard. DH complained when he moved in that I only had "real" food and he did not know how to cook it. My MIL is a rotten cook, but now after 12 years Sean can do a reasonable job on most things.

I was buying anything that was not an absolute necessity since I was 14 and so that wasn't so hard.

Robbie gets an allowance that is not attached to chores. He has chores and is expected to do them as he is a member of our family. His allowance is to teach him about saving and spending money. When he heard there was a Lego store opening in our city he started saving right away so he could buy something from there, he bought a set that cost $25 + tax (we made him do the math before we went so he knew how much he had to spend). I have not done a lot of cooking with Robbie yet but that is more because he has a short attention span and does not pay attention. I do plan on teaching him more.

SID081108's picture
Joined: 06/03/09
Posts: 1348

I let my older one (4) help me cook and bake, but it's really a struggle for me. I HATE messes and try to cook/bake as non-messy as possible, as well as clean up as I go. You know when you're working with a kid they dump half of the stuff outside the bowl, when they stir stuff goes flying, etc. That kind of stuff makes me crazy but I know it's all normal and I need to make myself okay with it. My mom always included me in cooking and taught me to love to bake especially. She made EVERYTHING from scratch and to this day I'm constantly asking her for cooking/baking advice or guidance. I want to raise my kids the same even though every part of my being wants to scream and cry when stuff goes flying. lol

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

"SID081108" wrote:

I let my older one (4) help me cook and bake, but it's really a struggle for me. I HATE messes and try to cook/bake as non-messy as possible, as well as clean up as I go. You know when you're working with a kid they dump half of the stuff outside the bowl, when they stir stuff goes flying, etc. That kind of stuff makes me crazy but I know it's all normal and I need to make myself okay with it. My mom always included me in cooking and taught me to love to bake especially. She made EVERYTHING from scratch and to this day I'm constantly asking her for cooking/baking advice or guidance. I want to raise my kids the same even though every part of my being wants to scream and cry when stuff goes flying. lol

I'm the SAME way.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

Me too. It is hard for me. When baking there are little jobs like getting me things and turning the bowl, but cooking I tend to want them out of the kitchen. There is so much to get burned on, grease splashed on. I am hoping I get better at this as they get older and less ap to get into trouble in the kitchen.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Me too. It is hard for me. When baking there are little jobs like getting me things and turning the bowl, but cooking I tend to want them out of the kitchen. There is so much to get burned on, grease splashed on. I am hoping I get better at this as they get older and less ap to get into trouble in the kitchen.

Emma and her friend have taken to baking a lot this summer. They were making a bacon corn bread today. They asked me how to make the bacon...i told them to do it in the oven, but i still insisted on taking the bacon out for them. Which is probably kind of stupid at this point, they are each almost 12 and capable of doing it themselves! A "be careful, its extremely hot and will curdle your skin if you spill it on yourself" would probably suffice at this point.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

"KimPossible" wrote:

Emma and her friend have taken to baking a lot this summer. They were making a bacon corn bread today. They asked me how to make the bacon...i told them to do it in the oven, but i still insisted on taking the bacon out for them. Which is probably kind of stupid at this point, they are each almost 12 and capable of doing it themselves! A "be careful, its extremely hot and will curdle your skin if you spill it on yourself" would probably suffice at this point.

When I started cooking for my mom & sister, my mom first taught both of us how to use the fire extinguisher. She also routinely quizzed us on what to do in different accident scenarios like grease catchiing fire, burning your arm on the oven, dropping something in a pan, etc. She also insisted that I only use one burner at a time, and wear an apron which, if it catches fire, can be quickly & easily pulled off & dropped. I haven't taught Tiven to use the fire extinguisher, because I don't allow her to cook if I'm not home, but we do talk about
safety and I do make her wear an apron even though I never bother. And because our oven door opens right by the doorway, we have a family habit of calling out, "Hot oven!" whenever we open it so coming into the kitchen doesn't barrel into it.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I come from a big family so we all learned to do most things because we all had to help out. In my view the important thing is not really about teaching kids to do things as much as giving them a sense of responsibility and independence. It was just understood that after we turned 18 and graduated high school that we would move out on our own and go to college and support ourselves. It is fine for parents to be there to fall back on for temporary help if you need it, but I think kids need to at least attempt to be independent once they graduate high school. Both my older sons moved out after high school except for short periods between jobs or roommates or something.

I can tell you exactly what happens if you don't teach them that though, because my 22 year old stepson is still living at home because DH didn't teach him to be independent. He spent at least half of the last 3 years at home playing video games because he claimed he couldn't find a job even though he was too lazy to actually go look for one. He went to community college for a semester and flunked out. He currently has a part time job but contributes nothing to the household because his Dad enables his entitlement attitude. DH bought him a $9000 car in his name because he couldn't qualify for a loan that my stepson is making payments on, but he doesn't even contribute a penny toward groceries or anything, and barely helps around the house. His only responsibility is taking out the trash and cleaning his bathroom and he won't even do that until I force him to. It is so frustrating to me that he has no sense of obligation or responsibility and is perfectly happy living off Dad. (and me)

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I let the kids bake with me all the time. Nathaniel is now good at cracking & beating eggs and grating nutmeg. Juliet actually knows how to correctly measure flour.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Margaret I had a hard time learning how to just cook for two as well!

I also went into a panic the first time I had a babysitter at the house because we didn't have any "junk" or prepared or packaged food at the house and I felt like I should - I ran out to the store and bought some things just for the babysitter to eat! DS was only 7 weeks old and I was all worried about her not having anything to eat Smile

i don't worry about the kids making a mess when they cook- If I did we would never do crafts either!

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"Potter75" wrote:

Margaret I had a hard time learning how to just cook for two as well!

I also went into a panic the first time I had a babysitter at the house because we didn't have any "junk" or prepared or packaged food at the house and I felt like I should - I ran out to the store and bought some things just for the babysitter to eat! DS was only 7 weeks old and I was all worried about her not having anything to eat Smile

i don't worry about the kids making a mess when they cook- If I did we would never do crafts either!

LOL, I panic if I don't have treats for the babysitter as well. And she never eats them!

As for messes, Robbie has Aspergers and has a huge melt down if he gets even slightly messy. He is getting better at dealing with it but not worth the frustration right now. He will learn to cook eventually.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1537

I am so happy the messes my kids make dont bother me. My sister cant handle it, it really makes her a little crazy. She sends her kids over here for crafts or learning how to cook. I really think she wants to do those things with her kids, and would love to do it but it seems to be a physical reaction for her

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I didn't know how to cook well when we got married but I learned. I had some basic skills like eggs, pasta etc. and I read online, cookbooks, asked mom etc. I always liked to bake so that was fine. My mom was a SAHM so she cooked most of the time.

Other than that I felt prepared. DH knows how to do a lot...cook, laundry etc. but had NO money skills at all. His parents paid his bills until he was 23-24 (and we were dating.). He had no bank account and just gave his mom money. I was floored. They wanted to track what he was spending money on. He had no credit and no idea what to do. All 3 of their kids. Was so weird to me.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Also, as a side note...please teach your children how to navigate insurance and doctors visits. Once they are 18 you don't get any information and they can be clueless. It's amazing to me how many young people with full time jobs just have NO idea on records, insurance coverages etc.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"mom3girls" wrote:

I am so happy the messes my kids make dont bother me. My sister cant handle it, it really makes her a little crazy. She sends her kids over here for crafts or learning how to cook. I really think she wants to do those things with her kids, and would love to do it but it seems to be a physical reaction for her

I will say they created a total physical reaction at first for me as well. Like, playdoh??? Pure crazy. The mixing of colors? I am 100% certain there was a reason I accidentally had my first two 13 months apart..... I had to get over ALL of my perfectionism. I think that it was a blessing, seriously. I hate mess. But when I know that the mess is for a reason, like ~ we are making this thing ~ it's okay. I do understand the unwillingness to make messes, but mess with a purpose, and mess that gets cleaned up, I can deal with. So anal. Smile

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

My parents never taught me anything - my Mum did everything. Also, nothing ever needed doing because she would get up at stupid o'clock every AM and do it all! Anything I was made to do as a teenager, I don't like doing as an adult. For example, changing my bedding. Honestly, that has to be the biggest 'chore' to me.

I can't cook either, as in throw stuff together and make something delicious. I can cook the regular spag bol, sausage and mash but I'm not imaginitive in the kitchen and neither were my parents. That's the suckiest part for me.

Whenever I clean, DD wants to help. I will give her a duster and spray polish for her and she loves to clean it up. She tries to help me make the beds but is still little so gets mad when she can't do it properly haha. She knows how to work my washing machine, but that's just from me telling her which buttons to press when she has helped me load laundry. I like to think that she will be like this as an adult, but who knows!

xx

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"Stupid o'clock" made me laugh.

Sometimes I think I get up a stupid o'clock but probably stupid o'clock is about an hour earlier. (I'm up at 6:30.)

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3317

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

"Stupid o'clock" made me laugh.

Sometimes I think I get up a stupid o'clock but probably stupid o'clock is about an hour earlier. (I'm up at 6:30.)

Yeah but 6:30 is "stupid enough o'clock" if you ask me Smile

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"KimPossible" wrote:

Yeah but 6:30 is "stupid enough o'clock" if you ask me Smile

That's how it feels! Stupid!

And every Wednesday I THINK I'm going to get up and go to 6 a.m. yoga, and I don't. It would be smart, but the hour is too stupid.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

Let's see...
I love Jessica's point re insurance.. been having the go around lately as they changed it without notifying us... My biggest point for my kids will be to call yearly and understand your benefits/costs etc.

ok-
I was taught hard work, how to clean the home and stack wood for example.. also that saving and giving were important.. but my father can't fix things, so not a handy man, though he did built us a fort when kids... he always had a hard time changing oil. I learned all mechanics from my fix it husband who is amazing in that way.
Cooking I wasn't taught.. was allowed to do some.. but mom was a horrible cook.. she kept us fed but would cook beans for hours.. as she would start veggies before the meat.. she rarely seasoned the meat etc. My husband turned into my guinea pig, and I gathered recipes always having Top Raman or hotdogs or hamburgers on hand.. And in turn he was loving and honest told me what he liked and what he didn't.. I now have a group of tried and true recipes our family loves.

For my kids.. they have ALWAYS had chores.. at 2-3yo they were picking up their stuff.. with help, and helping me to put away dishes.. I have pictures of them helping with laundry at 4-5. Now my 11yo does all the dishes (I help him scrape off the nasty stuff still, as with the new soap for dw'rs they don't clean well. My almost 10yo does all the laundry (gathers, sorts, washes, dries, puts away his, puts towels etc away, puts his brothers in his room, and mine in my room.. he folds everything but his brothers). They know HOW to do almost all common chores.. and since they are home most days all day it is important for them to help with the upkeep even more.

They are learning this year to start and run the riding lawn mower. They weed/water/plant the garden with me. They harvest fruits.. they run the property and neighboors gathering berries for pies.. etc.. and will be helping me pick come apple time. They are adept in kitchen tools like knives and can prep most foods.. like dicing onion, or pealing potatoes.. They help cook when I ask, or they want to.. we made ice cream and cherry pie from scratch yesterday. They both know how to fry eggs..scramble eggs, toast bread, and heat up anything in a can, and read box instructions, and read a recipe.. WE just got a new oven that has issues so we are relearning that together. They helped a lot last year canning pears.. and will again come fall with the pears and salsa making.. and apples for jelly/sauce etc. We have a huge shop (hanger actually) and know more about planes than any other children, simply because we built one, and have owned 3. DH has tons of tools, and they are allowed to use them, but must replace them.. It warms my heart but it is a bit frightening for a momma to let their 11 yo use a band saw, but he does, as well as the electric sander/drill etc. Since DH is a fix it all type.. they help him a LOT.. bring him tools.. Right now we are working on the bathroom, they have helped him work on installing new toilets/pick out paint.. help clean, tape, mud paint etc.

I think the biggest thing.. if you don't have the skills or time to teach the kiddos, is to at least give them a LOVE of learning.. and ability to find the answer themselves.. That is something my parents did. And Even though doing ones laundry or cooking great meals can be learned later.. it is the want/desire/drive and perserverence.. (Character Traits) that are even more important than the skills.

MONEY -
They kids do get an allowance but it is minimal.. though they love it.. it started at .75 a few years ago.. and now is $2 a week. They now tithe 10% to the church or other Christian organization... or even friends that need it.. missionaries etc. Then they are pretty much left to decide what they want to do with it.. BUT.. I teach them when we go to the store, what things are worth. We are a low income family so I discuss purchases with them..we do frequent garage sales, thrift stores etc.. we discuss when to buy something new.. and why.. what warranties mean..etc. If you let your kids into your own head it teaches them a lot I think. We look at ads, use coupons when we can. They have their own bank accounts, and my grandma also gave them money that they put there. They also have a wonderful opportunity because my father owns a business they can earn money at. My youngest is amazingly strong and hardworking.. and can and has topped highschool boys in wood stacking.. blows my mind as he isn't large. With all that.. they have managed amazingly to save quite a bit just in their savings they have about 600ish each I would guess. They could earn more if I could get them to my father's more. They also worked together and split the cost to buy the set of Ben 10 DVDs they had been wanting.. I HELPED them choose where to buy them.. (Amazon) and was able to get them free shipping by putting items I needed for their schooling with it. Which they thought was great.. but they had to wait a MONTH for me to be able to get them... I think this was wonderful... they learn many things this way.. just living.

I wish I could give my children more money.. but figure if I can offer what I can.. when I can.. and then teach them well how to be able to afford what they need/want.. and the difference.. it is better than if I just gave them more money.

Off to finish working on the bathroom today... oh and put away the canned pie filling we canned up yesterday.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

Sorry for the book.. how is that for a crazy train wreck train of thought.. lol enjoy!

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"Jessica80" wrote:

Also, as a side note...please teach your children how to navigate insurance and doctors visits. Once they are 18 you don't get any information and they can be clueless. It's amazing to me how many young people with full time jobs just have NO idea on records, insurance coverages etc.

So glad we don't have to deal with that here. For extended benefits most companies here will go until the child is 25 as long as they are a student, otherwise I think our current policy cuts off at 21. I would hate to deal with the American health care system.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"Jessica80" wrote:

Also, as a side note...please teach your children how to navigate insurance and doctors visits. Once they are 18 you don't get any information and they can be clueless. It's amazing to me how many young people with full time jobs just have NO idea on records, insurance coverages etc.

I still don't know how to navigate insurance. I have a great policy at work but I just do what I'm told and that's that. I find it all baffling.

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

I have to say, at least before my mother had her mental breakdown, she did teach me to bake. We baked something almost daily starting from when I was really little.

I did learn my lesson though about ingredients when I was very young. My mother never labelled any jars/containers. Sugar, flour, salt, etc, were all in tupperware type containers. I remember I was making Kraft classic peanut butter cookies and I accidentally used 1 cup salt instead of 1 cup sugar! Now I taste my white crystal ingredients just in case!!

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

We grew up learning how to take care of ourselves. My mom raised us by herself and wanted us to be able to be independent. By 12 I could take care of the house and prepare all the meals. We didn't have to do it all ourselves, but she made sure we could. By the time I moved out I was able to deal with all of the financials and my schooling. I am very glad that she taught us all that she did.

Now I look at our kids. DSS (19) doesn't know how to do much. I think his mom tried to teach him but he resisted. He lives on noodles and take out and doesn't clean. It is a big part of why he no longer lives with us. He needs to learn that if you want to eat, you do have to cook! DSD (16) also resists having to cook or clean for herself. Her mom feels that it is an adults job to take care of the house and meals and children shouldn't have to. To this day she still makes DSD's lunches and cleans up after her. (Sigh) When I met DSD when she was 8 she wasn't allowed to use a knife or make herself any food at her moms. DH tried to teach her more but she always said she didn't have to cause her mom said so. I have disputed that for years and still have to fight the girl to help out a little. She can do it, but tries to choose not to. I keep insisting that she does have to help!

So with all of that we are choosing to teach Kaiya differently. I refuse to have a child who cannot or does not take care of herself! I insist that she helps to clean. I insist that she learns to dress herself. At 4 she can make herself a sandwich or get her own snack from the fridge (yay!). She wants to learn how to take care of herself so I am jumping on it now! I want to know that she will be able to rely on herself as she grows up. I don't want her living off noodles like her siblings. So as she grows her responsibilities will grow too.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

As an aside I just signed my older two girls up for a new co-op. One of their first classes will be a cooking class (along with PE). I am so excited for them to take the class.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"KimPossible" wrote:

See the notion that someone can't cook because they weren't taught during their childhood is kind of foreign to me. I think its something an adult can learn to do. Not everyone will become a fancy super spectacular cook, but i think everyone can learn enough to feed themselves or their family fine...at any age. As a parent, i think its highly convenient to equip my kids with the basics though!

I don't think it is that people cannot learn these things later. It is just that if you don't learn to do housework, cooking etc routinely then it can be harder to get used to as an adult. It is easier to be a slob if you are not used to doing for yourself.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I can tell you exactly what happens if you don't teach them that though, because my 22 year old stepson is still living at home because DH didn't teach him to be independent. He spent at least half of the last 3 years at home playing video games because he claimed he couldn't find a job even though he was too lazy to actually go look for one. He went to community college for a semester and flunked out. He currently has a part time job but contributes nothing to the household because his Dad enables his entitlement attitude. DH bought him a $9000 car in his name because he couldn't qualify for a loan that my stepson is making payments on, but he doesn't even contribute a penny toward groceries or anything, and barely helps around the house. His only responsibility is taking out the trash and cleaning his bathroom and he won't even do that until I force him to. It is so frustrating to me that he has no sense of obligation or responsibility and is perfectly happy living off Dad. (and me)

This sounds just like my stepson. All he does is play video games and feels he is entitled to do so. He no longer lives with us. It got to be too much and we kicked him out once he had a job (that we forced him to get). I was appalled at how he treated us and the nothing he expected to be able to do!

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

This sounds just like my stepson. All he does is play video games and feels he is entitled to do so. He no longer lives with us. It got to be too much and we kicked him out once he had a job (that we forced him to get). I was appalled at how he treated us and the nothing he expected to be able to do!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it that way. I have been past the point of kicking him out long ago and if he was my own son it would have already happened. I just keep hoping DH will come to realize that he is not doing him any favors letting him live like that with no ambition to do something with his life.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it that way. I have been past the point of kicking him out long ago and if he was my own son it would have already happened. I just keep hoping DH will come to realize that he is not doing him any favors letting him live like that with no ambition to do something with his life.

Same thing happened with us. I would have kicked the boy (no, not man!) out about 8 months before we actually did. DH needed time to come to the understanding that his son was harming our family and that he needed to kick him out. When it did happen (cause he was a bully to his sisters) it was explosive! But it was worth it. We are all (DSS included) much happier with him living on his own. And he no longer has parents telling him what to do which makes him happier. But, boy was that a hard process!

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

"mom2robbie" wrote:

So glad we don't have to deal with that here. For extended benefits most companies here will go until the child is 25 as long as they are a student, otherwise I think our current policy cuts off at 21. I would hate to deal with the American health care system.

Dependents are now on the majority of health plans until age 26. Parents still cannot ask about anything to do with their claims after age 18 as they are protected under HIPAA.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I don't think it is that people cannot learn these things later. It is just that if you don't learn to do housework, cooking etc routinely then it can be harder to get used to as an adult. It is easier to be a slob if you are not used to doing for yourself.

I agree. That's why I'm trying to get the kids into simple routines, so it doesn't become a "THING" they have to do, it's just part of the routine and not a big deal.