Note: This post has been contributed.
If you would like to raise happy and successful kids, it is important that you pay attention to more than their grades. While they will get them into college and university, alone, they will not land them in a successful career. Have you ever met college graduates working in dead-end jobs? Of course you have. People, unfortunately, don’t learn how to progress their lives, be assertive, question everything, and focus on their long term goals. This is something they - if they are lucky enough - pick up from family members and mentors. Below you will find a few skills not taught in school that kids would certainly benefit from.
Image via Erik Lucatero
With so many facts and dates to learn from heart, and living in the world of information overload, it is hard to develop critical thinking skills in school. Kids are not welcome to question authority figures, such as teachers and the writers of the textbooks, and are told to take what they learn for granted. However, no invention was born without breaking up with the traditions. Instead of acting as an authority figure at home, you might ask higher level questions from your kids, so they can consider other approaches and unconventional methods.
The reason for most missed opportunities is the lack of effective decision making skills. Kids are told what to do, and they are presented with the problem and the solution at the same time. In school, most decisions are made for them. As a parent, try to encourage your child to make their own decisions and choose between different options. This will help them decide which college or university course to take later in life, or which job offer to accept. There are great decision making resources available on the internet to help you with this task.
Of course, kids learn art and music in school, but they will have to follow a pattern and official guide. Creativity is all about finding unusual solutions that work better than original ones. Whether your kid is a talented writer, programmer, painter, or singer, you will need to encourage them to follow their passion. Even if they will not end up making a living off their skills, they will be able to use their creativity in real life situations and be more innovative than 90 percent of people.
Image via Clarisse Meyer
It is a big world out there, and it is full of good and evil. If you are worried about letting go of your child’s hand and allowing them to go to college away from home, visit friends alone, or simply drive to another city, you want them to be safe. Kids should learn some basic self defense skills at an early age, so they can deal with bullying, crime, and offensive behavior. If you want to make sure that they are safe when out and about, you might want to enroll them for a self defense course where they can learn how to protect themselves. Check out Defensive Planet for information on self defense and the skills and tools needed to stay safe.
You might think that your child doesn’t need to have strong debating skills unless they want to become politicians, but this is not the case. Kids don’t learn in school how to be assertive, get their point across, and convince others through the facts and logical arguments. Debating skills will not only be useful when they go to college and university, but also when they start pursuing their careers and try to be more assertive when proposing a project or initiating change. While not many schools hold debating clubs, you might find some in your local area to get your child to practice.
For most kids today, it is all or nothing, black or white, and they are used to instant gratification. If they cannot compromise, however, they will be up for a surprise when it comes to getting what they want in real life. Negotiation skills are based on one’s ability to compromise, put themselves in others’ shoes, and coming up with a solution that is beneficial for everyone. The skill will be useful when your child is trying to manage their career, get a pay rise or promotion, or simply sort out a conflict at work.
While some schools have financial education, they don’t base their scenarios on real life situation. As soon as your child gets their first part time job and becomes responsible for paying for their fuel and car insurance, they will need to have the money management skills of adults. While you can talk to your child about different forms of credit and budgeting, saving up for deposits, and having their priorities right, they might benefit from professional advice as well. Money management courses can help young people build wealth, avoid credit traps, and make their money work for them.
Mental Health Self Care
Image via Kinga Cichewicz
It is said that one in three adults is likely to experience mental health problems. With the increased pressure at school and at work, chances are that your child will need to develop their own coping mechanism. Without learning how to care for themselves and practice self-compassion, they might turn to unhealthy habits or cope in an unhealthy way with the problems they are facing while transitioning into adulthood. You have to teach them some of the mental health skills you are using, such as meditation or exercise, so they can be ready for the challenges.
If you would like to make sure that you are raising happy, healthy, and successful kids, you can’t rely on school education alone. Instead, make sure that you are addressing the different challenges of working life and adulthood from an early age. Teach your child to respect others’ opinion but question everything. Encourage their creative talent, and help them make better decisions using advanced techniques. Teach them about managing their money, their mental health, their relationships, and being assertive when it is needed.