We all come into this world the same way. Completely dependent on other people to help us. As we grow older, we begin to do certain things such as feeding, cleaning, and clothing ourselves. Yet, our parents still take care of many important life responsibilities. It is natural as you are growing up to let your parents help you in these areas. However, what happens when you never take the time to learn certain skills for yourself?
Over the past few years, I have surveyed countless college graduates with a focus on understanding the level of preparedness for the real world they were currently in. My research started when I discovered that the majority of people I worked with seemed to dislike their jobs and be unhappy with how their lives were playing out. I found this to be odd so I began to dig deeper. What I learned was that so many people were unhappy about their lives because they were unprepared for them.
They had no idea what the real world was going to be like.
There are several things that they spoke about when I asked them questions regarding being prepared for life after college. However, for today, I would like to focus in on just one topic. Adult responsibilities.
The majority of the adults I talk to were blindsided by the number of new tasks they were responsible for once they become adults. The reason for this was because they had spent the last 18 years of their lives letting their parents do everything for them.
It’s natural to let your parents take care of various adult related responsibilities. However, if you truly want to be prepared for the real world that awaits you, you must begin to take over the responsibilities listed below so you can better function as a successful, capable adult.
Here are 5 things your parents have to stop doing for you.
Waking You Up / Getting You Out Of Bed
Very few of my student coaching clients enjoy getting out of bed in the morning. They tell me openly that they rely on their parents to wake them up. Even those who are technically woken by an alarm report back that they do not actually get moving until they are being yelled at by a parent. This is a bad habit that needs to be broken.
The importance of getting yourself out of bed and motivated to start the day actually has very little to do with high school. It revolves around what’s coming next in life. If you are planning to go away to college, there will be no one there to wake up and get you moving. If you are late or miss class, it will impact your grade. There will be no warning or call home. The teacher will simply see this as a lack of commitment and deduct points from your grade.
Even if you are staying home for college, the chances are your first class will not be as early as your current high school classes. Your parents may already be at work by the time you have to get up. Again, it is up to you to get up and get going to ensure you are focused and on time.
Tip: First, take your phone and place it across the room before you go to bed. This forces you to get up and out of bed. Second, pick something you enjoy doing before you even start getting ready. For me, I look forward to my hot cup of coffee. For you, it could be watching a few minutes of TV or watching a funny video on YouTube. Lastly, think about how much more enjoyable your morning will be when you do not have to rush around.
Making Your Doctor’s Appointments For You
I recently conducted a research study with a college in New York around college grads and workforce readiness. It was amazing how many respondents talked about this topic as it relates to taking charge and responsibility of their health and future. Most grads reported that they did not make any doctor appointments until they were in their 20’s.
You may wonder what picking up a phone and making an appointment has to do with being prepared for life. Again, it is about mindset and skill set. This task is about getting and staying organized. Knowing when you have to go to the doctor and getting into the mindset and habit of doing things for yourself. By starting this practice now, you will get comfortable with skills such as communicating with strangers and time management.
Doing Your Laundry
I cannot tell you how many of my college classmates never did laundry at school. There would be piles of dirty clothes simply because they did not know how to do it. Then, when they got a full-time job, they struggled to balance there 50+ hour work week with this new time-consuming responsibility.
Learning how to clean your own clothes helps you develop your time management skills. It forces you to create a schedule and block out time for different chores. It is much better to learn these types of chores now when you have free time. The alternative is waiting until you are an adult and have much less free time. This is an easy way to not become overwhelmed when you enter adulthood.
Taking Care of Your Finances
This is so much a specific task you need to take over as it is a topic you should be learning more about. The number one regret of college grads is not having a better understanding of finances, budgeting, and student loans. Most grads report that they let their parents take care of those things. They never took the time to ask questions, conduct research, and learn how things actually work.
Poor financial literacy can have a negative impact on your long term future. By not understanding your student loans or how credit cards work, you could find yourself in debt and with poor credit. Put simply, you may be unable to do things such as move out of your parent’s house and buy a car just because you refused to learn about these topics and take control of your own finances.
If you are currently looking at colleges, make sure you are taking an active role in understanding how much tuition costs and why. If you are applying for loans and financial aid, you should know exactly what you are signing up for. This includes knowing exactly how much you are borrowing when you have to start paying it back and how much your monthly payment will be.
Do not leave this up to your parents to do for you. Your financial choices in your teens can impact your quality of life in your 20’s and 30’s. Again, it all comes back to mindset and intention. If you want to control where you are going and the life you are going to live, then you need to be in control of all aspects of your life.
Speaking On Your Behalf
Just like every other item on this list, there was a time and place where doing this for you was your parents’ job. When you are too young to speak for yourself, your parents made sure your needs were met, your voice was heard, and you were able to move forward in life. Now that you are a teenager, you need to speak for yourself.
Specifically, if you are facing a problem it is up to you to fix it. This may mean scheduling time to speak with your teacher about a specific project or test. There is no reason for your parents to call the school on your behalf. The same rule goes for applying to colleges. If something is unclear you should pick up the phone or send an e-mail to whoever it is that can help you out.
This is practice will help build your communication skills. You will learn how to speak to different types of people and work together to solve problems and create solutions. Communication is the number one skill that most graduates lack according to the research I have helped conduct. By learning how to speak for yourself now, you will be miles ahead of your other fellow college graduates when you enter the workforce.
You are never too young to start thinking about the future. As a teenager, you have a choice. You can continue to pretend that you are a young child in need of your parents help or you can stand up and decide that a new chapter of your life has begun. That you are going to take control of your future and build the life that you want to live. It all starts by taking responsibility for yourself and your actions to ensure you are ready for what comes next in your life.
Kyle GRAPPONE, Monthly Mentor, is the founder of To the Next Step, an educational services company that prepares students for the next steps in their lives, including college and entering the workforce and the real world that awaits them. His organization accomplishes these goals through an array of services, including: motivational speaking keynotes, group workshops, self-help books, student success coaching, on-demand courses, live online classes, and various free resources. Read More…