Parenting is easy, said no one ever. While each stage of parenting is challenging in its own right, transitions if handled carefully can actually become a rewarding experience for both parents and kid/s. Adulthood means more freedom and independence. Even kids know this. The idea is to prepare them for this newfound phase with confidence and responsibility. This is a phase when they gravitate more towards their friends and challenge parental authority openly. While rebelling is a good sign, for it means your child is forming an opinion and utilising her/his critical thinking abilities, rebelling for no cause means their faculties need to be employed positively.
You as a parent can start early to make your not-so-little child prepare her/himself for the world by teaching them about these 7 fundamental skills about adulthood.
1. Money Management
Finance is one of the most important cornerstones for each one of us. If you started early by teaching them the concept of money and saving, or even if you did not, reinforce the need for financial planning. It is easier to fall into the trap of EMI and credit cards for young adults, for it promises the ‘enjoy now, pay later’ concept. You need to show them how to manage their money better, even if they are dependent on you financially for now.
2. Life Skills
Basic life skills like cooking, washing utensils, managing time, cleaning up, being responsible for their own things, simple repairs around the house, first aid, etc are necessary to be learnt. Start small by asking them to help around the house in return for small rewards, so that they can learn these life skills.
3. Healthy Habits
As your kids grow older, and more independent, teach them how to eat healthily, have healthy habits like exercising regularly, sleeping well, engaging in a sport, etc. But preaching won’t help. They are bound to emulate what they see, so you will have to become a role model too by practising these healthy habits. Your child should be able to take care of herself/himself in your absence.
4. Communication with Parent
Remember, even if your child is maturing into an adult, they are bound to make mistakes. Just like us adults. They would need your guidance, even when they do not ask for it. Try to keep communication channels open with your child/children, without imposing your thoughts on her/him. They should know that you are their safe place when they feel overwhelmed with this new transition.
Provide your child with a stable and loving home environment that s/he can turn to, whenever required.
5. Interpersonal Skills
With most communication swiftly moving online, it is important that children are taught how to talk and communicate effectively with their peers offline. Give your child opportunities where they can socialise and talk to people across ages.
Also, teach them how to navigate through negative emotions, tough situations and resolve conflicts, which they will increasingly face as they transition into an adult.
Apart from psychological changes, teach your child to accept physical changes in his/her body positively. Healthy conversations around sexuality, body, and race need to be spoken about at your dining table. When most children get their information from the internet, skimming through the right and the wrong might not be the best job they can do on their own. You can also consult a professional to teach your child about right and wrong if you are not confident to talk about these topics on your own.
7. Restriction and Independence
Children that are older are usually caught between parental expectation and societal/peer pressure. It is important for you to keep them away from the negative aspects but without constricting their independence. Tell them about the pros and cons of their actions, without preaching. They are seeking more of a confidante than a preacher as they grow older.
Once you change your perspective from ‘telling’ them how to live to ‘preparing’ them for life, this transition from teen to adulthood would not seem difficult.
Ananya is a WFH mother based in Delhi.