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Lessons That Will Stick With Your Kids: Part 1

At 18 years old, your child becomes legally responsible for themselves. How scary is that?! As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our kids lessons as they grow up and give them the confidence they need to take on the world. 

As a parent myself, thoughts that I find constantly running through my head are “will my kid be able to tackle the world with the lessons I’ve given them? Have I done enough? Will they always be living in my house? Did I teach them enough about finances? Kindness? Cooking? Grocery shopping?”

In the meantime, It can feel so overwhelming to know if we’ve “done it right” as parents, or if we’ve been hand-holding them through life so far. We always want to teach our kids lessons, but we also don’t want to be peeking over their shoulders at every move they make.

With raising two teenagers in my own home, I decided to write a list of 10 teaching moments that I believe will stick with your kids – including the good and the bad times, the easy and the hard talks, and creating experiences that your kids will never forget. These are a few scenarios that I’ve gone through as a parent, and my hope is that this will help other parents when it comes to tackling these experiences with their children – and maybe provide a helpful tip or two for when it comes to the “awkward” moments! 

Lesson 1. The Birds and the Bees – but make it fun!

Yup, I’m getting this one out of the way first. It can be a tough topic to bring up and feel a little awkward at times. They know the talk is coming; you know it’s coming…so now’s the time just get it over with! My advice is to dive right into the deep end, laugh about it with your child all you want, and frame it as “a one and done” scenario. Legado Family Founder Rich Christiansen talks about how he does an “Eight is Great” date with each of his kids, where they go out for dinner and talk about these sorts of topics with their kids. 

Whatever you do, make it fun, have a few laughs, and openly communicate that if they ever have any questions, they can come right to you. This will stick with them, even if they might not admit it. (P.S., I used the Communication Cheat Sheet ALL the time for this stuff! Download it HERE).

Lesson 2. Buying A Car

Buying a car is a big deal – especially as a teenager. The feeling of independence can be so rewarding, and it’s moments like these that we want our kids to experience. My son bought his own car at 16, and the smile on his face when he was handed the keys was something I will never forget. He beamed with pride, knowing that he was able to do this all on his own.

I know that many parents help their children out with purchasing cars, and that’s also a great thing! Regardless, I find that when your teenager owns their first car, it teaches them a whirlwind of lessons including handling independence, saving up, and managing ongoing expenses. 

 Lesson 3. Booking Appointments

This one might sound a bit ridiculous, but I’ve noticed over the years that our kids don’t have the confidence to speak on phones. We’re all stuck behind screens these days and the convenience level of booking appointments is higher than ever before. However, I find it limits our children’s confidence in speaking over the phone with others or having to go to appointments alone and explain what their needs are.

Getting your kids to pick up the phone, make an appointment, and then go to their appointment alone will force them to become more independent and grow their confidence. Warning – they will likely complain, but I guarantee you that they will appreciate it in the future! The notion of letting go will actually result in bringing your kids closer.

Lesson 4. Getting a Job

It’s hard to let go of our babies, but we must consider what can happen the moment we find ourselves being helicopter parents. Did you know that some parents have gone to interviews with their children for their first job?! 

Time is a tough thing to go against, especially when you have children. You want to be there for every moment they experience – but oftentimes, that doesn’t always happen. And you know what? That’s okay. 

I would rather miss out on a few “teachable” moments with my children, than find myself watching their every move, filling out forms on behalf of them, or negotiating my child’s first job. Whatever you do, don’t become a helicopter parent. If you find yourself missing out on an opportunity, find time on your calendar to talk with your kid about how their interview went, how you can support them in the future, help them update their resume, and more.

Even better – help them start their OWN business! My son started his own business, and has cash coming out the wazoo! To help support your kids in being their own boss, I would recommend the Futurepreneur program found HERE. 

Lesson 5. Changing a Tire

Back in our day, there was always someone who taught us to turn a wrench, clean our cars, and change a tire. For many of us, that’s been our parents. Now it’s our turn to teach our kids lessons that we valued growing up.

If your kid ever gets stranded with a flat tire, give them the confidence that they can fix it themselves instead of calling you up to change it. This is a life-defining moment that my dad taught me growing up, and not only has it been quite useful in my years of driving, but it’s a memory that I’ll never forget. I think at the time, he didn’t realize how much it meant to me – but it was something that we bonded over throughout my teenage years.

To pass on this moment, just remind your child that this is a job they will have to encounter at some point in their lives and make this learning opportunity fun for them. Get your hands dirty, crack open a soda or two together, turn on some music in the garage, and let them take the wheel. Another gentle reminder – make sure to be patient! Give them an opportunity to make mistakes, ask questions, and tell them where they went wrong. It’s better for them to figure it out with you now than when they’re stuck on the road!

Those are the first 5 scenarios that I believe will teach our kids lessons that will stick with them for life. To check out the rest of them, visit Part 2 of the blog HERE!

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