It is never too early to begin preparing your kids to become successful adults. While most parents wait until their kids have reached double digits, it is so much easier if you begin early. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Is he/she prepared to make the tough decisions without me bearing down on him/her with consequences?
- Has he/she developed the critical thinking skills to make wise decisions absent of my counsel or other adults, especially when they go against the popular thought?
Based upon how I’ve had to answer these questions with my own teenager, here are a few things I wished I had done differently – bits of advice I wish I had known about (or listened to in many cases).
- When they come to you with a question, NEVER respond with the answer despite how easy or obvious it is. Yes, it is easier (and quite frankly less time consuming) to just give them the answer however this isn’t helping them learn how to make decisions and actually is messaging to them that they aren’t capable of coming to the right conclusion on their own. Instead of giving them the answer, return with the question, what do you think? Follow that up with why; this allows them to walk through the critical thinking and come to the resolution on their own (with a little help along the way).
- If they don’t have an answer or an opinion, send them away to think about it and ask them to return when they have some input. This forces them to seek out the information from other resources. This skill will help them immensely when you aren’t there to answer them from hundreds of miles away.
In our busy lives, it is so much easier to give them the answer (I’ve done it more times than I wish to count) but teaches them one thing only – rely on me for all the answers. If we want to raise successful adults, we must start early and start by teaching them to think for themselves.