First Gen American asks:
[What are] things your kids should know how to do before they go to college[?] Socially and practically. (Safe sex, how to make eye contact, manners, laundry, managing money, dishes, etc.)
We live in a school district with zero sex ed. DC1 got some age appropriate instruction in 5th grade when we were on leave, and DC2 has read both a boy’s and a girl’s version of puberty stuff. I believe zie asked DH some questions about them and he gave matter-of-fact answers. DC1 also has the teen vogue issue on sex, though I’m not sure if zie ever opened it. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing consent. We’ve also discussed sexual identity and sexual attraction (specifically, why DC1 may not be feeling attracted to anybody yet even though many other 15 year olds are dating). But we haven’t yet talked about birth control/STDs (DH says they did when DC1 started going through adolescence and we got those puberty books, but it was a talk aimed at a much lower age), or, what I think is more important, how to deal with sex as a teen/young adult (other than the consent thing, which we have emphasized goes both ways). We will definitely have those conversations before zie goes off to college (or after zie gets a significant other, whichever comes first).
We’ve been focusing on basic cooking skills, including some simple dishes without a recipe and how to follow a recipe. Both of our kids can now feed themselves and follow a recipe well enough to feed other people with minimal help.
Laundry is another important thing. One would think people could just read the instructions on the washer/dryer, but given my experiences at boarding school and college, no, people (including high school me) need instruction. I’d rather have my kids be doing the instruction than the other way around.
How to make a bed. How to be a good guest. How to load and unload a dishwasher.
How to drive and pump gas and use a credit card, maybe even a checkbook. And how not to get into consumer debt.
DC1’s school recently had a “learning how to adult” day, which is new. But they gave such terrible advice! The financial person (who works for a local bank) was 100% Dave Ramsey (name-checked him a lot) and said never to ever use credit cards. They showed them how to write checks and recommended they call up to negotiate the price on their land-line every time the introductory rate changes. (Which is great advice for all our rotating services, but who has a land line?) The college person said that everyone should apply to exactly three schools (aspirational, good chance, safety– not bad advice, but for kids in DC1’s bracket, aspirational and good chance blur a lot and they need to apply to more) and either go to the university in our town, or if they can’t get in, then to a specific one of our regional state schools (one that’s about 7 hours away, which is weird when there’s others that are closer).
Grumpy Nation, what do you think kids should learn about adulting before they leave the nest?