Give your kids the gift that keeps giving this Christmas


Turns out that today’s young people are so unprepared to be adults that colleges are offering “adulating” classes.

Does this say something about today’s young folks? Maybe. But I believe it says much more about today’s helicopter parents. Hovering over your children teaches them to be needy, apparently useless young adults.

Good job, mom and dad!

But never fear, parents. Christmas will be here soon, and this year you can give your kids something they desperately need. No, not a new computer or phone. You can give them independence. You can give them responsibility. You can give them a work ethic.

Those things might not be a cool as a new iPhone, but they are more valuable and apparently more needed.

First, let your kids make some decisions for themselves. If that decision means they will face some mild consequences, that is not a bad thing. We all learn from our mistakes, but kids won’t if they are never allowed to make them.

If your kids are old enough, have them get a job. I know it is harder for kids to find a job these days, but working is great for building independence and a real sense of the value of money in kids.

Have them do some of their own laundry. I don’t mean they should do it all the time (unless that is what you want), but it is embarrassing to see a young adult struggle to operate a washing machine.

If you have a teen who drives, make sure they are paying some of the expenses for that privilege. When I was a teen, I paid for my own car insurance. It was not nearly as expensive as it is now, but it was enough. I always paid for my own gas as well. If I didn’t have money for gas, I didn’t drive. So I always had a job, starting from a very young age.

Show your older kids how to do taxes. If you aren’t Jeff Bezos or Donald Trump, you have to pay taxes, so they will as well. Teaching them how to do taxes and not be afraid to do taxes at an early age will certainly help them when they are on their own.

And speaking of on their own – let them be on their own. Let them stay home alone. Let them go out alone. Let them make decisions and become their own people. I realize the world is a scary place, but we can’t swaddle teenagers. It’s a bad look.

Allowing your children to fail is a great gift to give them. We all fail, and more often than we’d like. That’s life. Failure is a big part of being an adult, in big ways and small ways. Imagine you are 20 years old and have never been allowed to fail. When you do, it is going to be devastating.

Don’t do that to your kids. Let them fall and pick themselves back up. It is good for them.

I had a mom who cooked and cleaned for me and did my laundry. But she also had me do some of all of those. Just months after graduating from high school I was sharing a barracks room with a complete stranger in Guam while serving in the Air Force. I had to do my own laundry, pay my bills, and I even bought a vehicle. If my parents hadn’t prepared me for that, I would have found life even more difficult than it already was. I knew plenty of guys who failed spectacularly because they were woefully unprepared for the real world.

Don’t do that to your kids. Give them a gift this year that will seriously keep on giving.

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