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*This is a Collaborative Post* As a parent, the fundamental mission that life gives you is to ensure that when your children become adults and go out into the world, they are ready for it. There is no perfect way to do this, and it’s a hard job that doesn’t automatically get easier the longer you’ve been doing it. This isn’t in any way a criticism of kids in general, or any kids in particular, or indeed of any parents. It’s an acknowledgement that the world does not work to a pattern, and you need to be ready for anything. You can’t parent on autopilot.

While most of a child’s education will come in school, one important contribution a parent can make is to fill in the gaps. There are some things that aren’t really taught in schools, because they don’t fit into a scholastic framework. A good schooling will teach a child the principles of maths, language, history and science among other things. A parent can help make the link between these principles and real-world situations. These are a few of the things you can help your kids learn, which will help them for the rest of their lives.

Teach them to think deeper

Relying on instinct has its value in life: if something is hot, don’t touch it; if something is bright, don’t look right at it. However, the ability to think critically is essential too. Many times in life we all come into contact with situations that seem to be x, but later learn that they are in fact y. It is hard to teach this in a school, but as a parent, you can take a moment when your child is seemingly certain of something and make it teachable. Why do they think that? Could it be something else? What facts would make things clearer? These lessons are invaluable for later on in life.

Teach them about money

Although mathematics lessons will deliver a certain amount of knowledge that is applicable to finance, kids tend to leave school without a full understanding of some key points about money. It’s not uncommon to head off to university without genuinely understanding what a credit card is and how it works, for example. Teaching your kids about budgeting and contingency can be invaluable too. You don’t have to get so in-depth that you’re teaching them how a pension sharing order works, or train them to play the stock market, but everyday financial realities are a useful topic to broach with older kids.

Teach them how to handle setbacks

Everyone has some hardships to deal with in life. Some setbacks are going to be worse than others, but however hard they hit us there will be a life on the other side of them. When you are young, each setback can feel catastrophic, unfair, and like a personal slight. It is important to help your child bounce back from each setback by showing sympathy, helping them get over the impact of the event, and promising them that things will get better. 

When they see that an unpleasant event is not the end of the world, they can go through life with the knowledge that however hard it seems at the time, adversity can be overcome – which will in turn help them deal with issues in real time as they get older.

*This is a collaborative Post*

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