Streets smarts are just as important as book smarts when children leave home.
Parents seem to spend a great deal of time worrying about and developing their children's intellectual skills and athletic prowess. These are worthy pursuits, yet they alone probably won't help your children navigate the often-challenging world that they will soon face. Don't send them out into the world without the ability to do the three things I list below.
I work with many adults who don't get along well with others and thus are often far less successful in most aspects of their lives than they should be. Street smarts haven't gone out of style despite what many well-meaning parents might suggest. Here are three really important skills that will give your children an edge in the real world.
1. The ability to ask for what they want without offending those around them. Do your children know how to politely return a meal at a restaurant that was either delivered wrong or that they don't like? Can they return an item to a store that doesn't work correctly? When your children go to college, work or the armed forces, they will need to express discontent in a way that doesn't alienate others.
I've found very few adults have these skills and thus we model for our children rude, unhelpful behavior. Yet most of us know if we are able to ask with tact and diplomacy we are much more likely to get what we want and to maintain positive relationships with those around us.
2. The opportunity to be critizicized by an adult who isn't you. If you've made sure your little flowers haven't had to face any challenging weather, you may be making a mistake. The world isn't quite that perfect and your children need to learn how to manage challenging people without falling apart. The greatest life skill training I acquired came from my high school job at Wendy's.
I started as a sandwich maker and was constantly yelled at to go faster, not mess up and not to complain. When I moved up to cashier I had to face an even tougher crowd, the customer. I was blamed for everything that went wrong and I needed to learn the skill of empathy, taking responsibility for others and myself and apologizing even when I didn't think I should have to. Keep reading ...
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