Being a parent is a huge responsibility. Once you have a child, you also have your child’s mind, laid in front of you as an open canvas on which you must do your best work. It can be a bit intimidating, guiding the moral compass of someone so naïve, but it’s the most rewarding job ever created. To help you out along the way, here are 10 life lessons that you should make sure your child is taught before they flee the nest:
1) Money doesn’t grow on trees
When you’re a child, it is easy to assume that the little piece of plastic that mum pulls out at the supermarket checkout is a source of infinite funds. Make sure that your child understands the value of money by establishing a pocket money system and making your child save for things that they want to buy.
2) Friends come and go, but family is forever
The social lives of children are more tumultuous than those of the characters on any reality TV show. Show your child that the home is a place where they will always be loved and supported.
3) When you fall off the horse…
Failure is something that scares most adults, so teaching your child that making mistakes is okay can be a tricky lesson for parents, as well as kids. When something (an assignment, a sports game, or similar) doesn’t turn out the way that your child planned, remind them that this is just ONE hurdle in their life, and they still have the chance to finish the steeple chase in first place.
4) Health is important, looks are not
This is a lesson that is particularly important for young girls. Role model a positive self-image and a healthy lifestyle (i.e. don’t smoke or drink to excess) for your children and you will be surprised as to how much they pick up simply from watching your habits.
5) A grudge is a heavy weight for your heart to carry around
Teach your child the joy of forgiveness by exemplifying it in your own relationship. Never go to bed with an argument still in play.
6) Sometimes, you need to be by yourself
There is a simple beauty in sitting alone, reading a book or doing some craft. Children can get into a habit of complaining that they’re “bored” every minute of the day. Teach them that boredom simply means laziness; learning how to entertain themselves is a skill that will get them through many a solitary moment later on in life.
7) Lateness just means that you think your time is more important than everyone else’s
Punctuality is becoming a forgotten art in a world where a simple text message can cancel an appointment minutes from its start. Honouring your commitments and respecting the time of others is a skill that will start your child’s career, in any industry, off in good step.
8) Talk to someone about your problems, even if it’s not someone you would normally turn to
It can be hard for children to confide in anyone other than their parents about their problems. But that means that, when they have something on their chest that they don’t want their parents to know about, their problems can end up bottled up inside. Let your child know that they can talk to any responsible adult (a counsellor from a Christian youth camp at a local convention centre, or a teacher) about something that is making them feel uncomfortable.
9) Dress smart
That doesn’t mean ‘dress trendy.’ But your child should what is appropriate to wear to a job interview and what is appropriate to wear on a night on the town. If the answer is the same outfit, there’s a problem.
10) Remember what your parents taught you…
…because this advice has come from the greatest love ever known.
Lucy Ward believes that kids should be able to find a place where they feel accepted, and learn how to be good human beings. Whether that’s at a Christian youth camp at a local convention centre, or in the home, kids deserve to be sent off into the world with a solid moral grounding.