- Give them a month's worth of allowance (what you would give them for lunch, clothing, etc) and teach them how to make the money last for the entire month. Include lessons on saving and giving of this money as well.
- Have them take a self defense class. Not only will this give them the physical skills to fight back but it will also build their self esteem so they will be able to stand up to more subtle threats.
- Chores. Every kid needs to learn responsibility. It's easier to do this when they are younger than to wait until they are 17 to start teaching them to do chores.
- A big project. Seeing a kid complete an Eagle Scout project is a Wow experience. The reason? All of the details, planning, creativity, effort, and coordination that goes into the project which the young person gets to take pride in after the fact.
- How to do something by themselves. This may mean traveling overseas, camping overnight in the woods by themselves, or, as in this article, riding the subway by themself. Scary? Yep. Dangerous? Possibly. A huge boost to their confidence? You betcha.
- An assignment to cook dinner for the family once a week. I'll never forget moving my son into his own apartment and him asking me how to cook something simple. It had never dawned on me that since the spouse usually cooks and in a pinch the kids could microwave something, that the kids missed a crucial lesson in something so simple--learning how to actually cook something from scratch.
- Taking care of their basic needs: ironing their own clothes, washing their own clothes, shopping the sales when they need things, how to keep their cars running well, etc.
- Knowing how to communicate well with anyone. Whether they are reasoning with a three year old, calling 911 in an emergency, or asking a community leader to be their mentor, having good social and communication skills will be extremely beneficial for their future.
- Creating their own little business. Entrepreneurial skills are learned and what better way to learn these skills (customer service, advertising, product development, etc) than to have your own business?
- Participation in any community education class they can find. First aid class, CPR class, wilderness survival class, swimming team, soccer team...the list is endless and the lessons are valuable. With the things learned in these classes, your teen could be able to save a life, improve their health, climb a mountain, etc.
- Volunteer. Giving of your time and talents to improve the community in which you live and helping people in your community is not only the right thing to do but will help your teen develop critical job skills and realize how important their efforts are to others even if they aren't getting paid to do these things.
The bottom line is that you want your kids to develop a good self esteem and have confidence in themselves, you want them to know that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to, you want them to learn as many skills as possible, and you want them to be able to take care of themselves (and others) when they grow up. Having them do these simple tasks will give them many of the necessary components of adulthood.
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