Three Life Skills Parents Should Teach Their Kids Before College, According To A Teacher

Sarah Kester
Student with books
Unsplash | Element5 Digital

Most parents have the wrong perception of teachers

They think that it’s the teacher’s job to teach their kids what they need to know about math, English, and general life. 

While the first two points are true, the third isn’t (they aren’t paid enough for that). 

Rachel Garlinghouse, a former college teacher, has come up with three life skills that parents should be teaching their kids before they finish high school. 

Rachel was a college teacher for nine years. 

Picture of Rachel
Insider | Insider

During this time, she taught anywhere from 50 to 70 students every semester. Soon, she saw a pattern emerge — and not a good one — where many students weren’t ready yet for life beyond high school. 

And yet, there they were, in college, without a clue or mommy and daddy to turn to. 

Sad man with hat
Unsplash | Andrew Neel

This left them feeling anxious and depressed. These harsh realities helped Rachel come up with three things students should know come graduation day. 

No. 1: Teach your child to be an honest and clear communicator.

Man crying on couch

“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,” Rachel wrote in an article for Insider.

She has four kids of her own — she didn’t need another 70 of them.

Redhead teacher
Unsplash | ThisisEngineering RAEng

She also said that college teachers don’t have the time to coddle their students. They have to be able to communicate their issues with an adult in charge. Or, better yet, be able to take responsibility for what’s causing them to feel overwhelmed. 

No. 2: Teach your child to be proactive with their health.

College student sleeping

When you’re away from your parent's watchful eye and have so many temptations around you — junk food, endless choices in the cafeteria, and alcohol —it’s so easy to gain the Freshman 15. Or even more. 

Rachel says that parents need to teach their kids healthy habits now. 

Weights and a smoothie
Unsplash | Derick McKinney

She found that very few of her students utilized the university fitness center and that many had anxiety attacks in their first year.

“I prompted many of them to seek assistance from the university's mental-health-service center,” she wrote.

“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," she added.

Lizzo exercising
Giphy | Lizzo

Taking good care of yourself is healthy and a good way to mitigate stress. 

No. 3: Teach your child how to manage money.

Unsplash | Josh Appel

“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,” Rachel cautioned.

Think about it: there’s the cost of going out partying, buying new clothes so you fit in, Uber rides, and so much more.

College girls taking a shot
The Wrap | HBO

Before long, students are drowning in debt and living off of Kraft dinner and cheap ramen noodles.

Rachel gets that college students will make mistakes. It's all a part of their learning journey. 

College students laughing
Unsplash | Brooke Cagle

But they don’t have to find themselves graduating from college with a huge mound of debt. That’s why parents should be teaching their children to budget while they’re still living at home.

They should also know how to ask for help before the financial issues spiral even further. 

Johnny Travolta in wallet

All of these tips will make better college students and better adults. It's a relief for parents, too, as they can do less worrying about their kids and enjoy more of their kid-free life!

H/T: Insider