My Students’ Blog

Skills for Parenting

By Jenny Brockway

It is an unrealistic expectation to send your children to school and expect the staff to teach them every skill they need to be successful in life. So, what should parents be teaching their children? Parents have the responsibility of teaching life skills necessary to live a successful life, including cooking, doing laundry, and even how to garden and preserve their own food. They are also in charge of teaching their kids the many 21st Century skills that employers are looking for when hiring employees, as well as modeling healthy relationships and parenting styles to their children.

Without learning the essential life skills from their parents, many young adults starting out on their own have no idea how to survive on their own. Simple tasks such as doing the laundry and washing the dishes seem very simple however, many young adults these days know little of the life skills necessary to survive on their own. With the continued growth of new technology, generations are relying more on technology than they ever have before. The age of technology is aiding in the decline of learning skills for success in children and young adults.

Skills such as gardening and canning vegetables are some which parents rarely teach their children, but can be incredibly useful to know. Growing and canning is a very effective way to save money, maintain a healthy diet, and it is even said to taste better than food that is purchased from the store. Additionally, the process of canning food also provides a sentimental connection. It is a unique bonding experience that families can pass down through generations.

Humans are shaped by their experiences as children. As parents, it’s your responsibility to give your children positive experiences and positive role models to look up to. The way you are raised influences the way you will parent your children. Some adore their parents and want to raise their children similarly, yet some may try so hard to not be like their parents that they go too far in the other direction. There is a balancing act required to ensure that you raise children to make their own decisions, yet be there for them when they need you. Mistakes come when you try too hard to ensure your children have everything they want. Author Julie Lythcott-Haims has an interesting theory of a common mistake of parents. “They think they have to prepare the road for the kid instead of preparing their kid for the road.” It is vital for kids to continue to grow and adapt rather than be catered to and have everything made easier for them. Building a relationship with your children, being there for them whenever they need it, and providing “sensitive caregiving” are important to the success of children. Children with this kind of care are proven to have better childhood test scores, healthier relationships, and greater academic achievement as adults.

There are many skills that are important for children to know to be successful in life. While school provides children some social experiences, a lot of these skills need to be taught by parents. Developing social and emotional skills in children is vital to a healthy future. Problem solving, understanding feelings, cooperating with others, and helping others are positive signs of social competency. Children with these skills are more likely to complete a college degree and get a job than those who don’t. 

What are the most important skills that you can teach your children? While the answers may vary from person to person, the central idea is the same. April Kaech is a mother of three. Two of her children have graduated high school already and are living on their own, and one is starting high school next year. She believes respect and honesty are valuable lessons to learn. “Our number one rule in our house is never lie, because once you lie you lose trust, and that is very hard to get back. Respect is something that we hold of high value.”

Being a parent comes with many responsibilities; however, one of your greatest responsibilities as a parent is teaching your children the skills needed to be a successful adult.

Many parents even seek advice from authors like Julie Lythcott-Haims, who makes a living studying parenting and teaching parents the important skills for children to learn. “I call it the “ARC” – Agency, Resilience, and Compassion. Agency is the knowledge that you can do the task in front of you; Resilience is the feeling that you can cope with whatever setback has come your way; Compassion is caring about others.” Teaching your kids these simple skills will help them to become the most successful adults possible. 

One easy way to be there for your child is to get involved in their education. There have been many studies conducted on the benefits of being an involved parent. Children with engaged parents have higher test scores, are more likely to attend post-secondary education, have better social skills, develop more self-confidence and motivation in the classroom, and their risk of chronic absenteeism is decreased by twenty percent. That is exactly the type of parent that Ashley Hansen intends to be. With a one-year old daughter, and another child on the way, she is doing her part to get her child ready for school. She is teaching her daughter phonics skills, how to express herself in a proper way, and hygiene. “Kaelyn and I read a book together every night. It is our time to bond and to expose her to reading early on.”

Parenting is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Not only are you in charge of ensuring that your children are healthy and safe, but you are also in charge of teaching them how to be successful in life. No matter the research you do, the number of parenting books you read, or the advice you receive, one fact remains. As long as you are there to love, support, guide, and teach your children, you have done everything possible to set your child up for success.

Resource Links

Household Chores for Children

Parents of Successful Kids Have These 23 Things in Common

Backyard Gardening: Grow Your Own Food, Improve Your Health

What is canning and what are the benefits

Millennials Struggle to Pass Life Skills 101