A couple of months ago, our household lost power in the middle of the evening. Although the outage only lasted for a few hours, it felt like forever. We lose power a couple of times a year where we live so it’s nothing new.
This incident wouldn’t have stood out from the others, except that this time, I invited my kids to tag along as I did the power outage rounds. I wanted to show and explain what it is I usually do when the lights go out so that they’d know how to handle it on their own someday.
Besides a power outage meant that their Wi-Fi was off giving me a perfect excuse to spend time together with my kids, away from their ever-present screens, while imparting some useful knowledge.
I wasn’t about to pass up this opportunity.
Raising Self-sufficient Kids
The thing is, I have always wanted my kids to grow up to be self-sufficient. With my teens growing up so fast, I knew it was only a matter of time before they flew the coop. This came with the realization that there were still so many things I wanted to teach them to help them become responsible, independent adults.
I was so used to automatically doing things for my teens that they’d be clueless on their own if I didn’t start teaching them. For instance, they were always used to me checking the power so they didn’t even know the basics about home electricity. Or the way I was always booking appointments on their behalf so they didn’t know how to call and do it themselves. Same thing with basic car maintenance, changing the oil or flat tires, etc.
Things had to change and that power outage gave me a good place to start.
Getting My Teens Ready for Adulthood
My teens didn’t know it but that blackout marked the day I started preparing them for adulthood. Here are some of the ways I did this:
- I taught them to always be prepared. Dealing with power outages as well as other problems we encounter in life usually boils down to how prepared we are to face them. I explained that having a plan of action to respond to problems that crop up makes all the difference. For example, what would they do if the car broke down or they found themselves running low on cash?
- To teach them about financial independence, I helped them open their own bank accounts where they could deposit their allowance and any cash they earned from their various jobs. They were responsible for these accounts and they learned how to write checks, save and budget.
- I also taught them to book their own appointments, whether they needed to go to the dentist, take their pets to the vet or take their cars for tune-ups, among other things.
- As part of learning how to live healthily, my teens started preparing dinner for the family 2 or 3 times a week. After teaching them the basics, it was their turn to do some cooking. They would choose what to cook, shop for groceries and prepare the meals. Sure some didn’t turn out right but they learned as they went along.
- My teens share a car and after teaching them what I knew about responsible driving, car maintenance and emergency preparedness, I handed it over to them. They were fully responsible for buying gas, getting it repaired and doing whatever was needed to keep it running.
These are just a few of the many lessons that I’ve been striving to teach my kids in a bid to pass on as much knowledge as possible before they’re on their own.
In a way, I’m grateful to that power outage because it gave me the wake-up call I needed to start my teens on the road to self-sufficiency.
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