I'm a former college teacher. I wish parents would teach their kids these 3 life skills before they're done with high school.

·3 min read
The author, Rachel Garlinghouse, in a black tank top smiling at the camera
Courtesy of Rachel Garlinghouse
  • I was a college teacher for nine years.

  • In those years I realized that many of my students were not ready for life beyond high school.

  • From clear communication to taking care of their health, this is what I wish parents taught kids.

I spent nine years teaching college students. I had anywhere from 50 to 70 students every semester, most of them fresh out of high school. I saw a pattern emerge among my college freshman — and it wasn't a good one.

Many students were not ready for life beyond high school, and it wasn't their fault. In my one-on-one talks, many confessed that their parents had done everything for them. College was a wake-up call because mommy or daddy couldn't rescue them.

What's interesting is that my students weren't grateful for all the "assistance." Rather, they were discovering how ill-prepared they were for college life, which worked to their detriment. The parents anticipated their child's every need and took care of them. When conflicts arose, the parents jumped in, dictating the outcome. College has no space for such things.

I'm a parent of four kids now and want to share what I learned as a college teacher with other parents.

I recommend that you pause and consider what you're doing when you always step in for your child. They need to learn some basics before they walk across the stage and accept their diploma.

Video: Parents of unsuccessful kids could have these 6 things in common

Teach your child to communicate — clearly and honestly

I had countless students who would wait until the proverbial poop hit the fan, and then they'd have a tantrum or they'd crumble. College teachers do not have the time — and are not required — to coddle students who are struggling before freaking out when it's the end of the semester and grades are due.

When your child is struggling with anything, teach them how to communicate this to the adult in charge. Ask them to be proactive and honest, taking responsibility for their part in the problem. Being polite about it is important, too.

Teach your child to take charge of their health

You've probably heard of the "freshman 15," or perhaps experienced it yourself. Many freshmen get a major taste of freedom in college and make poor dietary choices — gaining 15, or more, pounds during their first semester.

They don't have their parents preparing and serving them meals anymore. Between the meal card and the access to alcohol, students can quickly spiral.

Very few of my students utilized the university fitness center, which led to not only weight gain, but a lot more stress. I had several students have anxiety meltdowns, especially during their first year of college. I prompted many of them to seek assistance from the university's mental-health-service center. Though I'm grateful that I was able to help my students, their parents should have taught them these lessons prior to sending them to college.

Teach them how to manage money

Many students rack up debt — and quickly. The taste of college freedom can feel euphoric, and students don't always make the best financial decisions; they're too busy having fun.

While your child is living at home, help them learn to budget their funds. Encourage them to keep track of their money, and show them what to do if they find themselves spiraling. They should ask for help before they are in a pit of debt. Making sure they have opportunities to earn their own money is also important — because they treat money differently when they realize how hard it is to earn.

College students will inevitably make mistakes, which is part of their learning journey. However, you help your children far more by letting them fumble now instead of when society starts considering them adults.

Read the original article on Insider