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Discussion Starter #1
For the parents here, whether your kids are infants, currently in school, or long since have kids of their own...

Apart from the three R's, what other skills or knowledge do you think are important to learn before adulthood?
There are a lot of things I wish I had learned.  I'd like to make sure my daughter has fewer things on that list.

I'd say
Knowing how to get along with people (diplomatically but without being a doormat)
Knowing how to manage money
Having basic home-ec skills
Having basic home maintenance skills
Having basic car maintenance skills
  (and for those last three, it's not about whether you actually DO those things, it's more about knowing what's involved, so that if you decide to pay someone else at least you understand what's being done)

and lots more...  anyone want to add to the list?
 

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Typing is one of the best things I took away from HS. My brother and I have always said that if it wasn't for a "mandatory" year of typing necessary to graduate, we'd be doing the two finger method that my husband does ;)

We have a rule in the house that DD must try all food items offered to her...she doesn't have to like it but she must try it. She's surprised herself with the amount of things that she has found out that she does like. I also like for her to experience as much in life that she can.

To go along with your number 1 tip...I'd also like for DD to treat others the way she would like to be treated, taking feelings into account as well.
 

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Going back to the trying new foods thing I touched on and the reasoning behind it and the lesson of being tactful in certain situations...DH and I went to the wedding of his coworker. A few of his coworkers I've known for years and a couple of them had attended our wedding years ago. Anyhow, it was a Chinese banquet which is not everyone's cup of tea. My hubby who is Italian will try most new foods and has come a long way with typical Chinese banquet fare and I would definitely tell him not to try certain things because I know he will not like them. One friend's wife was literally repulsed to the point where she was making faces. I was a bit offended but not only because those foods are normally things that would be enjoyed at a normal dinner as well but because I though she was being disrespectful to the bride and groom for their choice of dishes.

Just saying "no thank you" would have been the better approach IMHO.
 

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Your list is great and I agree with chynared21 about the typing. Between my husband and I we have 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy. I made all of them learn to drive a standard shift and they had to be able to change a flat before they were allowed to take their drivers test. (Got that from my Dad) Life lessons are the hardest, but letting them face consequence for their actions made them better adults and parents.
 

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Work Ethic!

And being able to manage money.

Neither of which are learned in school.
 

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Susan in VA said:
Knowing how to manage money
Definitely this one. DD will know how to balance her check book and use credit cards responsibly before she moves out of the house. I also want to teach her the basics of the stock market and other investments.

Pawz4me said:
Critical thinking/logic/reasoning skills are at the top of the list of things I want my kids to learn.
That's a big one for me, too. I want her to understand how to think things through for herself, not just believe what I or anybody else tells her.
 

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Kathy said:
Your list is great and I agree with chynared21 about the typing. Between my husband and I we have 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy. I made all of them learn to drive a standard shift and they had to be able to change a flat before they were allowed to take their drivers test. (Got that from my Dad) Life lessons are the hardest, but letting them face consequence for their actions made them better adults and parents.
we had to check the fluid and air levels and change the oil as well as tires. It really is the only time my brother came to my mom in my defence "You better teach her to drive before that DMV class" we were also taught to respect others not to treat other as we want to be treated but listen and treat others how they want to be treated.
sylvia
 

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I agree about typing. That's one of the most useful classes I ever took. Something I made sure to teach my children is to always do their own thinking rather than just going along with the crowd. Before making decisions, they should gather information and make sure it comes from reliable sources. I like the advice about the golden rule, too. Finally, in our family came another big rule: Our children were not allowed to drive until they turned 18. Our feeling was that since safe driving is all about making good decisions, 18-year-olds are--in general--more mature and more capable of making good decisions than younger teens.
 

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As far as the waiting to drive, I agree to an extent.  In our state you can get a license when you are 15 if you take drivers ed.  We only made our kids wait till they were 16 for two reasons, we live in a very low population area (we got our 1st traffic signal a few years ago and only have 2 of them so the kids are not dealing with huge traffic problems and the bigger reason is we hated getting up at 4:00 am and driving them to the school so they could catch the bus to head to speech and drama meets, lol.
 

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I got my driver's license two months after I turned 16 (16 was the earliest I could take driver's ed). I couldn't wait. My son obviously inherited my gene and also got his license as fast as he could. My daughter, on the other hand, will be 18 in July and doesn't have hers. She did take driver's ed and did the practice driving but didn't get enough hours in and realized she wasn't confident enough or ready. When her learner's permit expired (over a year ago) she just stopped trying to learn to drive. She has learned how to use the public transportation system here -- something my son couldn't do if his life depended on it, I think! -- and is thinking about colleges in a city where she wouldn't need a car. It is interesting how this evolved.

As for life skills, I agree about typing. My HS had a secretarial track for the non-college bound students. For those of us planning on going to college, they had one dinky course (we didn't even get to use the electric typewriters!) but it was still good enough that it made a big difference. Of course, now, I practice all the time so I am a better typist than I ever was in those days!

Teaching about money is important. The woman at the bank, when I opened my first checking account, had to teach me how to write a check and balance my checkbook. My parents were off in la-la land on that issue -- they still are, actually, and it is becoming problematic as they are getting older. My sister and I do not have clear information about their financial situation, locations of their bank accounts, etc. When we try to bring it up we get told that it is none of our business. Sigh..

Realistic conversations about sex are needed, another thing my parents didn't seem to think I needed to know about (thank God I was curious and resourceful and managed to find out things on my own!). I had to teach my sister about menstruation when her period started. She had no idea what was going on! (She was six years younger than me.)

I learned how to sew in home ec which was great. That's where I also learned to iron. I taught myself to cook with some help from my mom. Fortunately we had a houseful of cookbooks (my father liked to read them, but cooked very rarely) and I liked to experiment.

I know how to change a flat tire but won't do it. The few times I've had a flat, I've called AAA.

I never really learned to clean (I can vacuum) and to this day, I don't. I despise cleaning and it instantly puts me in a bad mood. Fortunately, my husband grew up with a cleaning-fanatic mother so he does a good job and doesn't seem to mind it -- or maybe he minds cleaning less than he minds my bad mood. I learned to make beds (well) in college (nursing) and that is the one chore I'll willingly do. I also fold towels nicely.

L
 

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I used to travel into Manhattan with mom when I was in HS...would have taken me way to long via public transportation. I had a couple of hours to kill before I took the train up to school so she used to have me write out all the checks for bills, the checkbook register, etc. I've been doing that since I was 15 so when I had my own checking account, it was a snap to keep.

Knowing how to do the laundry is also key. When I went away for college, I was surprised at how many didn't know how to wash their laundry...especially the guys who would dump everything into one washer and hope for the best :p
 

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chynared21 said:
Knowing how to do the laundry is also key. When I went away for college, I was surprised at how many didn't know how to wash their laundry...especially the guys who would dump everything into one washer and hope for the best :p
Ummm, there is another way to do laundry? To be fair I do use warm water with everything as it seems to be a happy middle ground.
 

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Warm is probably fine, but if you just bought a new red sweatshirt and you wash it with your white t-shirts, well, you'll probably end up with pink t-shirts. . . . . .that's why a lot of tags say to wash with 'like' colors.  :)

Many will use cold for bright colors and hot for all whites.

Ann
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow, lots of responses here!  Let's see...

Typing, critical thinking, the Golden Rule.  --  I still can't touch-type, but I do think typing is very very useful.  And the other two are quite possibly *the* most important life skills.

Sorting laundry. Driving stickshift.  --  I used to be able to sort laundry just fine.  But it seems that lately the print on those little labels is way smaller than it used to be....  ??? :)

A former employer once assumed that I knew how to drive a stickshift  (didn't everyone??), and asked me to drive one of the company's cars from city A to city B, and take the train back.  I said yes before knowing that it was a stickshift.  When that became clear, it was too late to find someone else, and it would have been a huge inconvenience and expense to reschedule the project.  So my boss said he'd teach me, and that it would only take about half an hour.  Famous last words.  I crashed his car...  even worse, into the stone pillars at the entrance of somebody's mansion, damaging one of them...  and worse yet, the car was a kit-built replica of an antique, meaning it was made of fiberglass, and the dents couldn't be repaired but that whole side of the car had to be remade.  Amazingly, I kept my job.

Sex ed.  --  Yes, it's truly amazing how much misinformation people pick up otherwise. 

Work ethic.  --  Important, agreed, though I'm not sure how you'd teach that other than by example.  Kids naturally want to be helpful, I think, but with some of them that disappears on the way to being lazy adults.  How does one prevent that happening?


 

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I learn my typing at HS too and I'm glad I did. So when my daughters (18 & 16) start to use computer when they are 13, I taught them the basic finger location and told them to use all fingers. lol  Well, now they are so fast. Faster then me.

I've been telling them "don't treat people the way you don't want to be treated." Think about other people's feeling. Think if the situation has been reversed. How would you feel.

They both got their driver license when they were 16. I opened joint checking&saving account with my 18 yrs old and got her first credit card so she can start building her credit and learn to manage money. She is sooo confused of how whole thing work so I really have to teach her how to handle payment, saving, etc. I just taught her how to pay her first credit card payment online.
 

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Susan in VA said:
Work ethic. -- Important, agreed, though I'm not sure how you'd teach that other than by example. Kids naturally want to be helpful, I think, but with some of them that disappears on the way to being lazy adults. How does one prevent that happening?
I think you're correct about teaching this by example. But there are also opportunities to convey this as they go through school. Especially related to projects (Science Fair, etc.) and course assignments as they get into High School.

Some of the critical components for them to grasp:
- Putting forth your best effort.
- Understanding that unpleasant tasks still have to be done.
- Personal responsibility: for deadlines, quality of work, etc.
- Doing what is expected even if no one is watching.
- Showing up everyday, whether you feel like it or not.

Another critical life skill is an awareness/appreciation of the world outside of their little corner. That can come from exposure to the news of the day (carefully depending on their age), museum visits, books, civic or cultural events, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
lynninva said:
Some of the critical components for them to grasp:
- Putting forth your best effort.
- Understanding that unpleasant tasks still have to be done.
- Personal responsibility: for deadlines, quality of work, etc.
- Doing what is expected even if no one is watching.
- Showing up everyday, whether you feel like it or not.
I like that list. I'm going to use it to jump-start some conversations.
 

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Pawz4me said:
Critical thinking/logic/reasoning skills are at the top of the list of things I want my kids to learn.
Ditto on the critical thinking (see my sig ;) ). I think it's partly a skill and partly an attitude.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
From your sig, "An answer that will do", yeah, those are the ones I'm trying to avoid.  As much as age-appropriately possible, I try to give DD full answers and not just "because that's the way it is"-type answers. 

It makes for some interesting follow-up questions, though.  Having to come up with valid reasons for everything you say, do, and believe makes you look things up... a lot.    Good thing there are libraries, and Google.
 
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