Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Hannah. Hannah Wonders, “What are the basic life skills?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Hannah!
When you're young, it seems like your job consists mostly of going to school and learning. Some kids probably look forward to the day when they graduate and they can stop learning. But guess what? We never really stop learning.
Even if you get tired of school from time to time, there are probably plenty of skills you look forward to acquiring. For example, most kids can't wait to learn to drive a car. Others might want to learn skills for a hobby, such as archery, woodworking, or playing an instrument.
Of course, there are also other valuable life skills you need to learn that might not be as exciting. These can include things like doing the laundry, paying the bills, balancing the checkbook, and changing the oil in an automobile.
Unfortunately, college counselors have recently noticed an increase in the number of new students who lack many of the basic skills they need to survive and thrive once they leave home and are out on their own.
Some experts blame so-called "helicopter parents" for the increasing number of college students unprepared for independence. The term "helicopter" is used to describe parents who hover over their children, controlling all their actions.
Helicopter parents are characterized by being overprotective, over-controlling, and over-focused on their children. They guide their children's every move, worried that their children will fail or not achieve the parents' dreams for them.
While it's important for parents to be involved in children's lives and offer love and support every step of the way, experts note that experiencing challenges and failure can teach kids valuable lessons.
Helicopter parenting that doesn't let children succeed or fail on their own can have a variety of negative consequences, such as decreased confidence, low self-esteem, increased anxiety, and underdeveloped life and coping skills.
So how can parents be involved in their children's lives in a positive way? Help them acquire the skills they will need to succeed.
Experts recommend eight basic skills all kids need to know before they turn 18: how to talk to strangers, how to navigate the world, how to manage time, how to earn and manage money, how to run a household, how to take risks, how to handle interpersonal problems, and how to cope with the highs and lows of life.
For parents who need some help balancing just the right amount of hands-on attention, here's a four-step method for teaching children new skills without too much hovering: (1) You do it for them; (2) You do it with them; (3) You watch them do it; and (4) They can do it independently.