10 Things You Should Teach Your Kids Before They Grow Up

As parents, we are charged with an awesome responsibility - - helping to shape this new person that has entered our lives. We need to guide and encourage our children as they grow into adults so that they can lead healthy, productive and happy lives.  All parents have dreams of the adult their children will grow to be; however, we must remember that our children are individuals and they may or may not follow the path that we would choose for them.  Therefore, it is important that we give them a strong foundation to build upon so that as they grow and leave home they can be responsible members of our society.


With that in mind, there are 10 things that you should teach your children before they grow up.


1.       Practical life skills – Every adult needs to know how to cook a few basic meals, wash their clothes, balance a checkbook and change the oil in their car (or have it changed).  As parents, we need to make sure that our children can be self-sufficient and take care of their basic needs before we send them out into the world.


2.       Compassion. Compassion is something that humanity needs to survive.  We must be able to go beyond empathy and truly understand and feel the pain and suffering of others so that we can help in times of need.  By teaching our children compassion, we help them understand why we must sometimes sacrifice to help others.


3.       Respect.  This goes far beyond being respectful to your elders.  Teach your children to respect property, people, animals, our planet and even themselves.  Respect is not simply being polite and having manners.  Respect is realizing boundaries and being mindful of those boundaries in everything we do or say.


4.       No one is perfect. We must teach our children that it is okay to make mistakes as long as we acknowledge our mistakes, correct them when possible and learn from them.  No one is perfect and it is okay to learn from our failures because those lessons tend to be the most helpful as we go through life.


5.       To think for themselves.  Wise counsel is always helpful; however, our children must learn to think for themselves instead of blindly following others.  The ability to decide for oneself is precious and we should not give that right away freely.  Teach your children to be independent and rely on what they have learned to make decisions that are right for them.


6.       Knowledge is power.  A love of learning is something that we can all share with our children from an early age.  Make learning a family pursuit so that your children will see that you learn new things.  Read to your children, teach them new skills and take the time to go over homework with your children.  Having knowledge is power and continuing to learn your entire life will make you successful, happy and productive.


7.       The value of a dollar.  The present generation is often referred to as the “entitled generation” because they believe they are entitled to whatever they desire simply because they exist.  However, we should teach our children the value of hard work and earning money to purchase what we want rather than hand them everything on a silver platter.  Children will respect their belongings, and the property of others, if they work to earn the money to pay for those things.


8.       Always be honest.  Being honest and trust-worthy are strong character traits that will serve your child well all through his or her life.  However, temper this lesson with the ability to recognize when being truthful could hurt someone’s feelings.  Learning the difference between truth and opinions is a difficult but necessary lesson.


9.       Be responsible.  With age comes a greater level of responsibility.  Being responsible is an important quality in successful people.  Being responsible goes far beyond cleaning your room or feeding the dog - - it is realizing that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions and choices.


10.     You are in charge of your own happiness.  People, money and things will not make us happy.  We must choose to have a positive outlook and to be happy with who we are as we make the best of any situation life hands us.  We may not have everything we want; however, we must learn to make our own happiness rather than wait for it to happen to us.


As we teach our children the morals and values that are important to us, we help shape and guide who they will become as an adult.  While our children will take their own paths, they will remember what you taught by your example much more than your words.

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