What are skills every kid needs to learn before they’re fully independent?

What are skills every kid needs to learn before they're fully independent?

When I was in high school, we had a required course called “Consumer Education” which covered a broad range of topics from: how to read a nutrition label, how to set a budget, different kinds of car insurance and health insurance, how to do your taxes, how to plan for retirement (including compound interest math and investing), what to look for in an apartment lease, and how to not get suckered into scams.

After becoming an adult, I found out that it’s not required coursework for everyone, and many friends and coworkers struggled with these things in transitioning to adulthood.

  • What are some of the skills and topics you are prioritizing for your kids before adulthood / independence?

  • What do you wish your parents had equipped you with? And what are some things your parents taught you that you’re going to definitely pass on to the next generation?

I’m parent to a toddler, so I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but I like to hear a broad range of perspectives. For instance, I’m definitely going to teach my kid(s) to cook, and I’m grateful my mom (who ran a restaurant) taught me. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just enough to have a positive relationship with food, and being able to have a nutritionally balanced diet when they’re out on their own.

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Comments: 5
  1. Dredka1001

    Wow! That’s the kind of course that should be taught in EVERY high school, and that I’ve never heard of from anyone else’s experience. All those subjects you mentioned are things my wife and I are teaching our kids, the best we can(we’re still learning too!) and for their ages(11&7) and comprehension. Cooking is definitely important, as is moving/staying active. Not pushing sports/athleticism necessarily, but keeping a happy healthy body is important. Swimming, basic first aid, driving, growing food; all important skills.

  2. oneman

    Boys and girls both should learn basic home and self care. How to wash dishes, do their laundry, sew on a button, cook basic recipes, change sheets and towels on the regular, and especially how to put things back where they go. Putting things back is the final part of every job, and future you will say, “Thanks, Past Me!” when they go to do something it’s really easy because everything is there when you need it.

    Am I the only one who has this weird, terrible urge to put things near where they go? Like I’ll go to put something back in a drawer, and if I’m feeling harried I’ll just put it on top of the counter like “I’ll put this back in the drawer later,” …when the drawer is literally right there. Somehow my brain is constantly trying to convince me that I’m somehow saving time or energy by avoiding that one extra step to put the thing all the way away.

  3. Garret123

    Understand bodily consent

    Know the main relationship red flags

    First aid

    How to ride a bicycle safely on the road

    Some form of exercise that they enjoy

    How to read the basic body language of common animals, e.g. how to tell if a dog is angry or scared

    How to do laundry PROPERLY, plus several years experience of actually doing it, including how to hang things flat so you don’t have to iron

    How to play a musical instrument

    Which cleaning products to use where, and WHY, e.g. acid for cleaning off limescale

    Three easy, cheap, healthy meals to cook from scratch

    The habit of noticing beauty in the things around you

    How to be really polite, and why you should

    The privileges they have and the oppression it would be easy for them to not see in the lives of others.

  4. flagg

    Not a parent, but the big things for me(that my parents and/or mentors taught me):

    -What credit is and how to build it

    -How to cook

    -How to grocery shop on a budget with future meals in mind

    -How to make a professional phone call

    -How to introduce yourself in a professional setting (handshake/eye contact/how to address others)

    -How to dress appropriately for….you guessed it, a professional setting

    -How to do laundry (what items need to be hang dried/dry cleaned)

    -How to write a cover letter and resume

    -How to negotiate (It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Book recommendation: Never Split The Difference)

    -How to change a tire

    -How to jump a car

    -How to make an appointment (have them make doctor/dentist appointments in teenaged years)

    -How to do CPR/Stop the Bleed

    -How to exercise

    -How to defend themselves

    -General time management skills (they should learn what works for them. I live by my Google calendar)

  5. patrickandrachelnard

    One thing that I have been thinking about with my kids right now that I don’t hear a lot from other people is teaching them how to handle their medical care. How to call and make appointments, how to talk to the doctor (how to explain what you’re experiencing with appropriate language/anatomy), when to go to the doctor vs. urgent care vs. ER, etc. And along with that, we’re starting to talk about how insurance works.

    I started thinking about this after a friend told me she never took her kids to checkups and they hadn’t been sick in years, so they had almost no experience with doctors. And I thought that might not necessarily be a good thing.

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