I understand that this may not apply to everyone but it was like a kick to the shin yesterday evening for me. My little boy “ain’t so little anymore”. As we were walking around speaking with all of the different recruiters at the APSU college night, it became very clear that my son is about to go do bigger and better things in this crazy world and then the anxiety kicked in. This is not for another year and a half but still… Did we do enough for him? Did we help him enough? Did we ensure that he is fully capable of sustaining his life? Did we… As you can see, I can go on from here for hours.
Kids have all kinds of ideas of where they want to go and what they want to do. Hopefully, they share that with you and give you their plans and objectives. I am not saying that they need to lay down an entire schedule but give you a rough idea at least. For those not with a teen yet, this is like ‘pulling teeth’ to get any type of information. It gets to the point of feeling like an interrogation because you are fighting to get whatever data they have. From there, you can help them learn what will be necessary for their transition.
I am a wreck about this but I cannot show fear or anxiety because I am “Dad” and MUST be strong. So, since I am all stressed out (in secret), I have done a great deal of reading and have compiled a list that may be helpful for others that concerns the transition from child to adult.
- Laundry. Ensure that they know how to do their laundry. Don’t be the reason that your kid is the ‘smelly kid in class’, especially in college. When their laundry needs to be done, make them help you in all of the sorting and running of the machines. I know that I made some mistakes when I was much younger and ended up with pink t-shirts and socks because I “thought” it was ridiculous to separate clothes. Lesson learned and currently being passed on.
- Banking. I would say balancing a checkbook but am not sure if that is even feasible anymore being that checks are so “old fashioned”. Either way, make sure that they have a bank account, can deposit money, and can balance their account. This is a tough part, teach them to live on a budget. I am not saying to leave them floundering but they need to know that if they run out of money at any point and time that that is it and they don’t have any more at THAT moment.
- Transportation. If your kid has a car, great. If not, they will need to understand how to use the public transportation systems. If they are planning to head to a large city with subways then you may want to visit a large city with a subway or whatever form of public transportation that is comparable to where they will be going and let them run the show to get you from point A to point B. You don’t want them lost when they get where they are going.
- Navigation. I understand that every single cell phone has the ability to have GPS but does your child know how to read a map. Subways are great but they are fully dependent on a detailed rail plan that is always depicted on the walls of the stations. Can your child figure out a location from looking at a map (without their GPS, “WHAT?”)? You may even want to get them a map of whatever location they are heading to and start quizzing them on different locations that may be of interest to them well before they depart.
- Cooking. Can your child prepare food so that they can sustain their existence? Microwave use is good and easy but does that really give them the nutrients they will need? Can they prepare a healthy meal for themselves on some form of cooking appliance?
Does this help me with my anxiety? NO! But these are things that every kid needs to know before they make their exit from childhood and your house to adulthood and the world. I believe that when THAT time comes, I will have a more secure feeling to know that they can at least sustain themselves with the basics. I still don’t understand why schools have stopped teaching driver’s education and home economics but that could be another post.
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