Q. My teens are getting ready to go to college, and I see 20-year-olds having a terrible time getting jobs. Are there some tips you can give to help me get my kids ready for the real world of work?
A. As much as we parents love to coddle kids, the rest of the world will not be fair or nice to our babies. Preparing kids for the reality of working for a living means raising them without entitlement, expectations of fairness or special treatment.
Here are practical parenting tips you can use from 18 months on that will help your kids thrive in their future work:
--No means no, and the home is not a democracy. Parents clearly indicate that all decisions are not negotiations and that mom and dad makes the rules.
--Logical consequences apply when kids want to oppose the rules. No clean room means no park time. No homework means no playtime with friends. Kids learn that making bad decisions results in things they like going bye-bye.
--Give kids increasing responsibility to help the family as they get older. In the beginning, having your small children "help" is more work for you. However, in the long run these kids learn a work ethic.
--As your children become teens, make sure they have jobs where they are expected to be punctual, consistent and hardworking. Even if the job is once a month, kids learn that work equals money and money requires problem solving for an employer.
--Pay bills with your kids and let them see that life is expensive. Your teens will appreciate your financial support and understand they can't live at home forever.
--When there are problems with teachers or employers, please attempt to side with the authority unless you really disagree. Teens need to be able to accept and work with rules they don't like. If you protect them from everyone that is slightly "mean," your kid won't grow up.
As much as we adore our children, one of the most precious lessons we can teach them is to be high-functioning in the world. When we never allow them to suffer, they don't develop tenacity, resiliency and the ability to fight for their optimal future.
As rewarding as it is to swoop in when our kids are struggling, we don't teach problem solving if kids don't struggle. As good as it feels to always side with your kids when they are upset, we don't teach them to cope with adversity when we pity them.
Many kids are in school systems that try to adapt to all sorts of differences in children's learning styles. Most work places won't provide this extensive support. If your child struggles now in any area, help them realize they will definitely have to work harder than others, and that business settings will not prepare special programs.
As everyone who works intimately understands, the workplace is often unfair and difficult, and it doesn't treat everyone equally. The sooner your child assimilates these lessons, the better they will thrive in the real world of work.
The last word(s)
Q. I'd like to take night classes in an area where I have a lot of passion but no training. I'm afraid I'll end up being no good at what I'd really like to do. Is there any way to get myself out of procrastinating and sign up for a class?
A. Yes, realize that the only thing you have to lose is your self-criticism and lack of knowledge. If you find you're no good at what you think you'd like to do, you're still freer than you would be wondering "what if?"
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
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