How to Raise an Adult: 8 Life Skills All 18-Year-Olds Should Have

Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of New York Times bestseller How to Raise an Adult and former Stanford dean, has some important advice for young adults and their parents. Lythcott-Haims recommends that every 18-year-old must be able to:

Talk to strangers (i.e. professors, academic advisers, deans, landlords, employers, health-care providers, etc.).

  • Find her way around.
  • Manage his assignments, workload and deadlines.
  • Contribute to the running of a household.
  • Handle interpersonal problems.
  • Cope with ups and downs.
  • Earn and manage money.
  • Take risks.

We parents often act as a crutch for our kids – accompanying them everywhere, reminding them of deadlines, solving their problems, giving them money, smoothing the way for them, never giving them the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. But we’re doing our children a disservice. Surely helicopter parents and lawnmower parents mean well, but we must adjust our thinking and our goals.

Rather than focusing on how to help our kids today, we should think about our long-term goal – helping them develop resilience and the skills needed to become independent and successful young adults. They won’t need us as much (sniff), but isn’t that the idea?

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