“A whole generation of well-educated kids are living in their parent’s basements,” sighs Melissa M, a career councillor from Toronto. “They have the knowledge they need to succeed, they come from good homes and had good educations, but they lack the skills to fit into the workplace,” she adds.
There are many things you could be doing to create independent self-starters who are geared for success. While education provides your kids with the knowledge they need, what schools no longer provide is executive-skills training. Teachers with large classes simply don’t have the time to teach organizational skills, task initiation, time management, focus and discipline and so it’s up to parents to fill in these gaps.
Don’t do It Yourself
If you find yourself doing chores, feeding the dog and picking up clothes because it’s simply easier than fighting about it, you need to stop. It is easier to find your kid’s things, to do their homework and to take care of all the daily tasks that you don’t want to nag about, but doing so means you aren’t passing on any of the essential skills they need to be organized, independent learners.
Speak their Language
What kind of learner is your child? If you keep asking a visual learner to pick up their clothes, chances are they just aren’t paying attention. If you have a visual learner, create a chart with their chores drawn on it. Aural learners are far more likely to listen while tactile learners may need a board where they can tick off tasks or paste on stickers. Giving instructions in a way that is most likely to reach your child will help them to complete tasks.
Stop nagging and implement consequences, both good and bad. This can mean rewards for things from your list that are done right, grades that improve or homework that gets done without you asking. You can also let your kids fail from time to time so they learn the value of preparation. This emulates what happens in the office as hard work and tasks competently completed result in improved salaries and promotions.
Can’t we all Get Along?
The desire to intervene if your child is being bullied, if they aren’t getting along with friends or if they have a teacher they don’t like is strong. But as long as they aren’t being hurt physically or mentally, you can use these as teachable moments.
In every office, your child will encounter people she doesn’t get along with, a boss she doesn’t like or coworkers who are bullies. Learning to deal with people who are unpleasant helps make the working and school environment a happier place.
Consider a Tutor
When kids feel like failures at school, they may act up when it’s time to study or do homework. Perhaps they have developed poor attitudes towards academics because of a teacher they don’t like or a subject they’re not copying with. This can lead to conflict in the family and, when these situations become too charged with emotion, it may be time to call in a tutor.
Ensure that your in-home and online tutor helps your child not only with their syllabus, but also with executive skills. To see just what this involves, try out the sample version of the Tutor Doctor X-skills program for free here.