Raising children is not easy, yet somehow your parents and your parents-parents managed to accomplish it. Sometimes it is brilliantly accomplished and others, well…not so much. The subjectivity of child-rearing has given us expressions ranging from “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” to “Were you raised in a barn?” Parents have said everything from “Will you talk to YOUR son?” to “That’s my boy.”
We all have to start somewhere. Here are nine important life skills every child should know before the become a teenager.
1. The importance of remembering names. How important is a name? Just yell out “mom” in a a crowd and see how many women turn around. A person’s name is one of the most personal, valuable things they have. Knowing who new people they meet by their name is so important as they get older and that should be a skill they learn before becoming a teen.
2. How to give a firm handshake. This is a life lesson that should take all of a minute to teach. Nobody appreciates a limp handshake. A form handshake however can demonstrate respect and confidence.
3. Looking people in the eye. When you look someone in the eye it invites trust and a willingness to connect. Being “shy” may work when your child is four but probably not so much at fourteen.
4. Basic table manners. No, your teen may not need to know how to set a table for a formal dinner but they should know how to properly use a knife and fork when eating in public. Knowing where to put a napkin can be helpful as well. Then there’s not slurping soup or chewing with your mouth open thing. You probably get the picture.
5. Personal hygiene. If your teen knows the difference between smelling fresh and over-using body-spray you are a step ahead of the game.
6. The value of money and benefits of saving. If you are good at this, odds are your child may be. If not, call in some help.
7. Knowing how to swim. If your child doesn’t know how to swim by the age of 13, good luck getting them to learn later. Actually, learning to swim is critically important if you live in a warmer climate or near water.
8. How to be polite. Few things make a parent more proud than to hear how nice, respectful and polite their child is. Please, thank you and an occasional “yes sir” can go a long way.
Of course the list could go on and on, and it does. Teaching our children some of these skills needs to be done consciously and by example. What can you teach your child today?