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Ivy League Dean Says All Kids Need These Skills By Age 18

By: Krystle Crossman

As children head towards adulthood there are skills that they need to learn before they are out in the world by themselves. The list of skills may seem obvious, but there are a lot of things that parents do to derail these skills by using crutches throughout their child’s life. Julie Lythcott-Haims is a former Dean of Students from Stanford University. She has come up with a list of these important skills and tells parents what they are doing to discourage their children from learning these skills without realizing it.

1. Household chores: Many children have chores that they need to do around the house. There are quite a few however that do not have to do anything. They grow up and don’t know how to do their own laundry, clean properly, or cook basic meals. When parents don’t show their children how to be responsible with household chores they will get into their own place and not have a clue what to do.

2. Risk-taking: In order to reap big rewards you must be willing to take some risks. In the age of helicopter parenting, risks are not something that children generally take. They take the safe route because their parents tell them to. Their parents are afraid to let their child fail at something. Children need to fail every now and then in order to gain the skills that they need to solve problems and learn how to gain self-confidence when they figure out a better solution.

3. Stranger danger: Children are told never to talk to strangers. If they don’t know the person, they are told not to talk to them. Once they are older this can prove to be detrimental. Police officers are strangers as they do not technically know them. Firefighters, doctors, and teachers are all strangers at first. Instead of telling your child not to talk to anyone who is a stranger, explain the differences between strangers who could be dangerous and those who it is safe to engage in conversation with. Over time they will be able to discern who is a danger and who is not.

4. Time management: Time management is a huge issue for many adults. The best way to teach a child about time management is to make up a schedule and make sure that they stick to it. This way they can go through the thought process of listing in their head what needs to be done and how much time they have to accomplish it. This will help them when they have a job or as they head off to college.

5. Money management: Teach children how to earn money by having them do chores around the house that are worth different amounts. Once they have earned this money explain the value of saving money as opposed to spending it right away.

6. Coping with failure: When a child fails it can seem like the end of the world. Instead of babying them, show them how failure is an opportunity for success. Give them the tools that they need to problem-solve so that they can look at the failure and figure out a new approach that will bring success.

7. Sense of direction: Your child is not always going to have a GPS when they are traveling. Make sure that they have a sense of direction and are able to read a map just in case. Teach them about public transportation and how to ask for directions when they are lost.

8. Interpersonal skills: Your child must learn how to share and work with others. This is a skill that can be built upon very early on in life. Teach them about sharing. Teach them how to work out problems with other people by talking about the problem and agreeing on a solution. Most parents will hop into an argument between children and make sure that no one’s feelings get hurt. While this may seem like a good thing it can actually be a poor lesson to learn as you are not always going to be able to please everyone in life.

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