Do today’s students have these Life Skills Before Setting Off for College?

With many students starting college this month and observing how my own wife and some relatives and friends treat their kids I found this story very interesting. Do we try to do “to much” for our kids? I remember my daughter in her third year of college asking her mom why the tuna fish she tried to make was “runny”? She never was taught that it needed to be drained.

Do you agree or disagree with this article and are there items you would add? I added two.

In this article in School Administrator, Julie Lythcott-Haims describes catching herself as she leaned over the dinner table to cut her 10-year-old’s meat. Could it be that the lack of independence and agency she observed in students when she was a freshman dean at Stanford University could be traced back to parents doing too much for their children?

With that thought in mind, she compiled a list of basic competencies that every young person needs by age 18:

• Talking to strangers – Dealing respectfully with store clerks, landlords, bank tellers, health care providers, bus drivers, mechanics, teachers, deans, or advisers – with good eye contact – is an important life skill. Perhaps parents spend too much time warning kids not to talk to strangers, versus the more-nuanced skill of picking out the few bad strangers from all the others – and dealing appropriately with the latter.

• Finding their way around – Kids are driven too much, says Lythcott-Haims. They need to know how to get places, make travel plans, and deal with transportation snafus.

• Managing assignments, workloads, and deadlines – Adolescents must learn how to prioritize tasks and get things done without constant reminders.

• Contributing to a household – In addition to getting their schoolwork done and participating in extracurricular activities, kids need to do their fair share of chores and respect the needs of others.

• Handling interpersonal conflict – Teens shouldn’t always need adults stepping in to solve misunderstandings and soothe hurt feelings.

• Coping with life’s ups and downs – This includes dealing with tough teachers and principals, bullies, competition, and challenging academic work.

• Earning and managing money – Adolescents need part-time jobs with a boss who doesn’t necessarily love them, to learn about completing job tasks, accountability, and appreciating the cost and value of stuff they want.

• Persistence – Kids need a “wise understanding that success comes only after trying and failing and trying again,” says Lythcott-Haims. They need grit, thoughtful risk-taking, and resilience.

. I’d add two more from experience

Basic cooking ability – know how to use a can opener, cook eggs,toast, veggies, make coffee ( yes that includes using a Keurig), drain tuna and even be able to make cookies or cupcakes.

Basic laundry – How to separate clothes, why you need laundry detergent and how to know how much to use, why dryer sheets and the need to fold or hang right away.

“Remember, our kids must be able to do all of these things without calling a parent on the phone,” she concludes. “If they’re calling us to ask how, they do not carry that life skill.”