“Pick up your jacket and clean your bathroom!” I called from the kitchen.
I was ticked as I cleaned the mess my teen had left after they made their own pancakes. The batter was everywhere (even the walls) and the dirty dishes looked like they had just fed an army.
Why does it take 4 pans to make 2 pancakes?
Preparing our teens for real life is an important part of child-rearing. There are important things your teen needs to know before leaving home. But training them for adulting is so exhausting. Many times I just do the chore myself because I’m too tired to fight. Then I suddenly realize how foolish that is and I go on strike, waiting for my child to notice.
Dumb. They may notice but they won’t care.
The “Have a New Kid by Friday” approach (Kevin Lehman) always seems to work when I’m needing a quick, easy way to correct and realign my kids. But not everything is about correcting your child. Much of it is just educating them for the realities of life without you.
Your teen should know young adulthood means money is tighter, living spaces are smaller, clothes are cheaper and sometimes (heaven forbid) public transportation is involved.
There are a million facts your youngster needs to discover, and you can’t even begin to share them all before they launch out on their own. But to set them up for success, here are 20 important pieces of advice to start.
1. They should know the cure for boredom or depression is to serve others. Volunteer somewhere. When they see the plights of others, life for them won’t seem so terrible.
2. Learn to persevere when things get difficult or they face disappointments. Giving up is an epidemic with today’s youth because we always seem to rescue them. Hitting rock bottom won’t kill them.
3. The lifestyle they enjoyed under your roof is not waiting for them upon moving out. Learning to support yourself is key, especially for young men. They must understand independence from Mom and Dad, and total dependence on God.
4. Adulthood is not for the weak. They cannot move back home every time things get difficult. Jobs are lost, cars break down, bills need to be paid. They must realize they cannot be rescued from feeling the impact of unplanned circumstances.
5. Prepare them for adulthood early by requiring them to pay a small room and board fee when they get their first job at 16. Help them open a bank account and don’t bail them out if overdraft fees occur.
6. Everyone has bad days. Help them understand God is not picking on or punishing them for something.
7. Teach them the importance of showing up on time. For work, church, weddings, parties, and dinner. Being late makes you look like you aren’t reliable, don’t respect other people’s time, or you just plain didn’t care.
8. They should know how many employers would prefer not to see tattoos, lip piercings, or eyebrow rings.
9. Their role models and mentors should not be their peers. Your young man should never ask a roommate how to propose to a woman. Your young ladies should never pursue a guy, no matter how often their girlfriends encourage her to.
10. When you have a weak, flabby handshake people wonder about your spine. And looking someone in the eyes is not aggressive, it’s polite. Be articulate–don’t mumble!
11. They must understand the importance of choosing friends carefully. We become like those with which we associate.
12. The quickest way to get rid of a crowd is to talk about yourself.
13. Learn how to read well, read fast, and read aloud. It gives the impression that you’re sharp and stand above the rest.
14. While it’s true, ending every sentence you speak with a question mark might be trendy, it doesn’t reflect confidence or intelligence. Making a definitive statement that ends with a period isn’t hostile–it’s called confidence.
15. Observations, profiling, prejudice, and racism are all completely different. Learn the difference.
16. Learn the importance of planning and how it leads to success. Never let life carry you wherever it goes.
17. Own your mistakes and failures. Pointing fingers and blaming others makes you look unreliable and irresponsible.
18. Save money for emergencies. Don’t spend everything you make. And if you don’t give to God (tithe and offerings), you’re messing up and you’ll never get ahead.
19. Know the Word of God. Study it, otherwise, you’ll be led astray by everything.
20. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul…and love others like you love yourself. Love people and use things, not the other way around.
This might only be scratching the surface on all the advice our kids need. But I can start with these and repeat them often. They won’t hear me the first time.
Do you have a few pieces fo advice to add to the list above? Share them in the comments.