How to Prepare Young People For the Real World
While parents, care-givers or legal guardians cannot necessarily directly steer young people to the right career, they can play an important, if not “critical” role, in developing the personal qualities, attitude and mind-set, which will be of great importance no matter what career their children choose. As basic as the following list may appear, anyone who is responsible for raising a child into adulthood can begin preparing them for the real world by focusing time and attention in the following areas.
“A Parents, Care-giver or Legal Guardians Guide” for preparing children and young adults for Success in the Real World
1. First and foremost, understand that you have the responsibility to prepare a child to be ready to learn their first day of school and to prepare them to grow and develop mentally, physically and emotionally to meet the tests of life and become productive citizens. Parenting is very hard and demanding work!
2. At an early age give a child specific tasks or chores to do on a daily basis and make sure there are real consequences if they are not accomplished.
3. Establish a sense of pride in those things a child “truly” does well. Have them do things over that are not up to a specific standard.
4. Teach a child the personal qualities of respect, integrity, honesty, self-management, sociability and doing things to the best of their ability.
5. Constantly read with a child and continually check their homework for correctness and completion.
6. Encourage a child to become involved in community activities and work on projects that will benefit not only themselves but others.
7. Make sure a child takes time at home to learn new activities and skills along with doing their homework.
8. Incorporate learning into vacations by going to museums, historical points of interest and taking tours of a business.
9. Talk at the dinner table about their day at school, current news and subjects of interest such as hobbies, sports or other activities they are involved in.
10. Provide financial learning in the form of developing a budget, opening a bank account, saving for something they really want, and taking on some of the responsibility of buying their cloths in their early teens.
11. At the appropriate time and age, ask a child their view on important subjects such as drugs, relationships, love, sex, careers, money, politics, education, etc. And provide “factual” feedback and solid guidance.
12. When they become teenagers, get job applications, help them fill them out and conduct practice job interview sessions with them. This is also a time to make sure they are dressing for success. With only a few exceptions, the real world does not hire turned baseball caps, baggy pants, pierced body parts or green hair.
13. Help them get a summer job between their junior and senior year in high school so at the end of their senior year their first job does not come as a shock or a completely new experience.
14. As a parent, care-giver or legal guardian model the attitude, behavior and thirst for knowledge you want to see in your child.
15. Be attentive and in tune with a child’s academic performance throughout “all” twelve years of school, but especially in grades 6 – 12. This is where they need the most encouragement and guidance.
16. Teach young people to understand and embrace the notion of lifelong, continuous learning. They must understand that learning is not just something they do in school. Learning is not limited to a period of time in their lives. Learning is an ongoing process that takes place wherever they are (in or out of formal school) and continues throughout life. Young people need to understand they are not just learning to get a diploma or a degree, but that they are learning to learn for a lifetime.
As a parent, care-giver or legal guardian, you must understand the important role you play in the formation of the young people you are charged with developing. Yes, it is both a difficult job and a big responsibility; but, using the above guide can provide you with the information required to make the journey more meaningful and successful. The young individual will be better prepared for the real world and you will have the satisfaction of being an important part of the process.
-Roger M. Ingbretson (Article here)