I asked my 3 millennial and Gen Z young-adult children: “what are the 3 things you think every child should be aware of so they can succeed as an adult?” Here are the three areas they have identified as most important. I agree with them. I will tackle these 3 areas, in no particular order, and trust that you will find it most helpful and supportive as we all take this unscripted journey call parenting. Let’s begin!
Prioritize Wellbeing and Self-Care:
We have always known that ‘putting on our mask first’ is the smart thing to do but what stops us from doing this? One of the reasons is a poor model that says to succeed you must: work, work, work and if you don’t succeed just work harder. No wonder so many of us are grinding at work and falling apart (aka burnout). Now imagine a home where we model for our kids a life that demonstrates a work-life ethic that values rest and work as going hand-in-hand for sustainable success. This is possible and here are 2 ways you can start to model this work-life integration that values work AND personal well-being.
- Set boundaries with your time: This practice ensures that time for well-being is a top priority. For example, put a daily item in your calendar for well-being so you can ensure you do not fill your day with no time for ‘play’. Don’t forget to include the children and make it family time.
- Reassess your relationship with Technology: The Covid pandemic has taught many of us to become more proficient with technology. That said, too much of anything is not good. Now is the time to show our children how to use technology to enhance our lives, not dimmish them. Consider coming offline at a certain time so you can engage and be fully present to create a deeper connection, meaningful interactions, and focus. Let’s start to recalibrate and look for ways to right-size the imbalance of screen time brought on by the pandemic so we can truly rest and recharge as a family.
It is true, all work and no play make us dull but remember: “Health is wealth”.
Basic Money Management:
Financial planning guru Dave Ramsey says, “winning with money is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior”. From the lower class to the upper class, everyone is struggling with managing their finances. Parents need to show their children how to let go of their fear and anxiety around money with smart money management skills.
We need to discuss with our children the value of money through honest work and the respect for what money can provide and how it can be a resource to help others in need. When our children were younger, we taught them about splitting any money given to them into the following 3 categories or jars: GIVE, SAVE and SPEND. We discussed with them why it’s important to think about your money in this way, and how to manage it well. We showed them how to set up a basic budget, and how to track their spending. Find ways that work for your children that will set them up to confidently manage their money so that money will serve them well.
It’s our goal as parents to provide our children with what they need to thrive socially, academically, and professionally. ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’ is the golden rule that will set your children apart.
Yes, it’s more about who you know than what you know. Learning how to make ‘small talk’ with anyone, listening well to ask great questions, and nailing the perfect personal presentation are all skills you can deliberately teach at home. These social skills make children more confident in the company of others and leave a great impression behind. Children will need these skills to build a robust network of connections that will help them to find great jobs and other opportunities. Start early to practice introductions at home, understand place settings at the dining table, use “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me”, always and speaking clearly so others can hear you.
It’s never too early to start or too late to catch up on these social skills. These skills will round off the exposures your kids receive from other extracurricular or passion activities and make them interesting and engaging as they build great relationships that will last a lifetime.
Biography: Lorene Phillips is a (re)insurance executive and the founder of Clarendon Wallace and The British School of Etiquette, Bermuda. She provides executive and career coaching, business etiquette training and works as a motivational speaker and facilitator for clients. She is the proud mother of 3 young adults and co-author of the book ’29 Keys to Parenting & Win!. To learn more: www.clarendonwallace.com