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?
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.
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
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.
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.
Last edited by KimPossible; 07-10-2013 at 02:37 PM.
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.
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.
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.
-Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)
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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!
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.
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...