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Teens and Young Adults, “Life Experiences”


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I have met teens and YAs with what seems to me limited life experiences. This may, though not necessarily, be more common in always-homeschooled kids, but I have seen it with non-homeschoolers as well. What experiences did/do you intentionally do with your kids or things you exposed them to, specifically so they would not be narrow in this manner? 

Here are some goals I had for my kids, in no particular order:

* comfortable around the water; boating/fishing/crabbing/swimming

* comfortable in nature; hiking/biking; things to avoid (poison ivy, likely spots for snakes, check for ticks, etc.) 

* comfortable with animals; ride horses, not afraid of dogs, handle reptiles or small mammals like hamsters, rabbits, etc.

* comfortable with many foods or eating traditions; use chopsticks, eat things that are “different”; try foods from many cultures

* understand basic rules of many games and sports

* competent with home tasks; cooking, cleaning, building, fixing

* comfortable with travel-related stuff; airports, metro, bus, cars, etc. 

What things were important to you? 

 

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I don’t know that I “intentionally” did all that many things, and I certainly didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. We have always just lived a normal life, and that has seemed to provide a wide variety of experiences. 

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That’s a good list.


We’ve done a lot of the same, though not as outdoorsy as your list due to allergies.

We’ve had an emphasis on being comfortable in cities, and getting around in cities, NYC in particular.

Our focus has been on navigating life with LTFAs a lot, too:

Eating in restaurants with LTFAs is really difficult, so we have worked on that and continue to do so.  It takes a lot of advocating for oneself, being assertive, and being comfortable getting up and walking out when/if things don’t look safe.  

On the flip side of that, kids with LTFAs have to learn to cook.  It’s a must since there are not always safe options, and almost no insta-food type options available to buy in grocery stores.  Even something like pre-made safe cookies are prohibitively expensive sometimes.

Oh, and discussions with friends re: LTFAs.  Things like lotions or lipsticks with ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis.  Sigh.  It’s a lot.  

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Experiences require a lot of money and it requires parents interested enough in those things to expose their kids to it. 
 

In Oklahoma, it’s very unusual to ride metro anything. It’s extremely limited and not at all reliable. Most people don’t fly or they fly a lot it seems from those I know. 

Although I have a lot of animal friendliness, everyone in my life points out I grew up in a literal zoo. Most people either have cats and dogs or no pets at all.  And that seems to be a family thing. They don’t have pets and neither does their extended family. Or they have pets and usually so does their extended family. 
 

My husband HATES the outdoors. Like seriously loathes it. Appreciates it’s pretty from the inside. But otherwise nope.  2 of my kids are like him despite my influence taking them all on walks and going swimming. 2 kids just really dislike the feeling of not having their feet in firm ground. My husband is the same. I don’t get it. But there it is.

I find this generation disturbingly scared all the time. It frustrates me. I’m all about trying new things and going on adventures. And I try to involve them as much as possible. 

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We made sure our kids are comfortable with the things that we enjoy in life, simply because we included them in whatever we did: international travel, including using public transit; museums, theaters, concerts; hiking, backpacking and rock climbing; being fluent in German, our native language. 

There's a lot that's not important to me, and they can figure that out if they develop an interest. I couldn't care less about sports and have no clue about popular culture.

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Some things are very chicken/egg to me. Did I sign my kids up for Little League to learn teamwork and training? Or is that just hindsight and at the time was just something to do? I don’t remember.

We’ve come across a lot of opportunities, and tried as many of them as possible. I think *that was my real goal.

I do remember teaching my kids to use a crosswalk when we joined a homeschool group in a “city”. That was a big deal experience for them at the time, lol.  I will say that lack of city experience as a child never hurt me.  I managed to figure out how to cut school, use NJ Transit, and spend the day in Manhattan  without any difficulty as a teenager!

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2 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

Experiences require a lot of money and it requires parents interested enough in those things to expose to it

This is true. 

Mostly, we just include the kids in things we enjoy and would do anyway.  We are fortunate that we can afford to do so.

City experience isn’t necessary for all kids, but for at least one of ours, it’s probably a good thing since he plans to live in a large city (his chosen field would almost require it).

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This is going to sound stupid and very basic but the most intentional thing I remember doing was practice asking questions. For some reason, for some kids, it takes practice asking directions, etc. I remember myself as a kid and I would wander around a building aimlessly getting stressed out before I would just ask a question. So I made sure to let them ask questions. If they went to buy a video game and needed a case unlocked or something I made them ask themselves. This has turned out to help them alot and they've known other kids who struggled with this. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Some things are very chicken/egg to me. Did I sign my kids up for Little League to learn teamwork and training? Or is that just hindsight and at the time was just something to do? I don’t remember.

We’ve come across a lot of opportunities, and tried as many of them as possible. I think *that was my real goal.

I do remember teaching my kids to use a crosswalk when we joined a homeschool group in a “city”. That was a big deal experience for them at the time, lol.  I will say that lack of city experience as a child never hurt me.  I managed to figure out how to cut school, use NJ Transit, and spend the day in Manhattan  without any difficulty as a teenager!

This made me snort coffee, thanks for that!  We used to cut school, metro in to DC, and go to the Library of Congress. 🤣

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1 minute ago, teachermom2834 said:

This is going to sound stupid and very basic but the most intentional thing I remember doing was practice asking questions. For some reason, for some kids, it takes practice asking directions, etc. I remember myself as a kid and I would wander around a building aimlessly getting stressed out before I would just ask a question. So I made sure to let them ask questions. If they went to buy a video game and needed a case unlocked or something I made them ask themselves. This has turned out to help them alot and they've known other kids who struggled with this. 

 

SAME! 

I did not know how to use other people as a resource and I was intentional about that with my kids, too. I had them order their own food at a restaurant, for example. Or tell a hair dresser what they wanted in a haircut. 

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5 minutes ago, Spryte said:

This made me snort coffee, thanks for that!  We used to cut school, metro in to DC, and go to the Library of Congress. 🤣

You rebel, lol

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3 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

This is going to sound stupid and very basic but the most intentional thing I remember doing was practice asking questions. For some reason, for some kids, it takes practice asking directions, etc. I remember myself as a kid and I would wander around a building aimlessly getting stressed out before I would just ask a question. So I made sure to let them ask questions. If they went to buy a video game and needed a case unlocked or something I made them ask themselves. This has turned out to help them alot and they've known other kids who struggled with this. 

 

I have big kids who can perform search and rescue in the deep woods, put out fires, save people’s lives, and loudly fight all of the injustices of the world.  But my daughter texts me from the supermarket looking for things and then leaves without them because she thinks people nearby are looking at her funny.  😂 

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My husband and I are constantly in awe of how different our kids lives are than ours were growing up.  To be blunt: having money helps. Both dh and I grew up with severely limited incomes.  I lived near a theme park so that was an every year vacation for us, staying in a $19.95/night motel that weekend. Our other trip was camping for a few days.  My parents scrimped and saved every week of the year for these two big trips.  Dh only went to visit family sporadically.  Our diet was mostly what we grew ourselves, could get in a farm share, or what was severely discounted.  Dh's food came from cans.  The idea of trying different cuisines was laughable.  Going out to a restaurant wasn't going to happen, either, and definitely not some place we might "waste food" by ordering something new.  I didn't navigate an airport until I was nearly 18, and dh was 20 before he did.

 

My kids live a charmed life in comparison.  All those things on your list? They have access to.  Okay, it took youngest ds 5 years and being exposed to about 30 carousels before he would even get on one of those horses, and never has shown interest in riding a real one, but......
Their friends do not have the same opportunities.  Some live lives like dh and I growing up.  If they leave the county it will be a big thing, and possibly only if the school takes a field trip.  The only exposure many will have to sports is through p.e., either as a homeschooler or public schooler - a 2-3 class unit on the game.

I don't feel the need to provide our kids with lots of life experiences.  I mean, we do what we can, but there isn't a list I consider to be a marker of wellroundedness.  Dh and I grew up limited and made our own experiences as adults, so I'm not hugely worried about the right or wrong thing to provide my kids.  As long as they have an idea in their head that home is a safe, secure place to go back to, they'll be comfortable branching out.

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For my kids i try to instill more of a “don’t be afraid to talk to people and figure things out.” Intentionality.

if they have that, they’ll end up as capable young people 

and “it’s ok to make mistakes”

and “work hard”

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We just live our life.  I don't do anything intentional to teach my kids life experiences.  We just follow our interests, all work together at household chores, and I talk to them endlessly about whatever the heck they want to talk about.  I also ask a lot of questions in those convos.  It seems to have taught them to ask questions when they need to.

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I think the list in the OP is good. I tried to expose my kids to a variety of things that I wasn't interested in, in case they were. For example, youth sports. So, I hated sports; my husband enjoyed a few on a very casual level. So our kids did a few sports as children, determined they didn't like them, so that was that.  Also exposed them to music lessons (piano). 

One that is not on the list - communicating well with people, particularly service people such as making calls to health insurance providers, medical billing offices, pharmacies, financial institutions, etc; speaking clearly, not being distracted, not having a lot of noise around them. I am pleased that on the rare occasion I hear one of my kids make a call that requires them to give their name, they spell their last name as a matter of course, speak clearly, etc. I work in customer service and it is so frustrating to me to have to ask someone's name repeatedly, often having to ask them to spell it (and then sometimes, embarrassingly, it turns out to be something super simple, like Jones) because they are mumbling, talking to someone else while they are talking to me, driving and cursing at other drivers on the road, in a bar... you get the picture.  

The food thing is very important to me too. It enrages me when someone calls a food "weird" or (worse) "gross." Those foods are not weird or gross to everyone. People eat them, that's why they are in the store or the restaurant or on the menu in someone's home.  That doesn't mean I am necessarily anxious to eat every food out there but I'm not doing to demean it and I don't want to hear my kids do that either.  (I make an exception for things like undercooked chicken nuggets as served at the college dining hall.) 

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My kids have had most of the experiences the OP listed. We don't travel a lot, but we've done a lot of outdoor things, have had many pets, do home projects, and try foods offered by immigrant neighbors or international students. The one thing I worry about is that my kids have very little experience with different modes of transportation and city living. I live in an area where everyone has a car and drives everywhere. Public transportation is very limited and unreliable. I haven't been on an airplane for 16 years and I've never used a rideshare so my kids at home haven't had those experiences. OTOH, my adult kids fly and use rideshares, I learned to ride the bus as a college student and one adult child lives downtown in a major city, so I guess it's not hard to learn those things when they're needed.

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Posted (edited)

Oh..basic manners. Not just table manners (no calling someone else’s food gross) but watching out for others, politely speaking to service people, smiling making eye contact...

and being able to carry on a basic conversation with someone who is “different” from you. 
 

reaching out to the loners in a group, how to draw them in...how to reciprocate an invitation 

I spend a lot more time intentionally  teaching social things because no matter where they go they’ll need that.

Edited by fairfarmhand
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This really feels like it can slip into “No Child of Mine” territory really quickly, depending on parental attitudes.

”No Child of Mine” is going to grow up not knowing how to swim, throw a baseball, take a crosstown bus, do algebra in 7th grade, not make his bed, etc...

I try to parent the kids I have. What I think is important might never be important.

and what seems bizarre and unfathomable...might be what they need.

like Owen Meany

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Posted (edited)

We have a general goal of the kids knowing what to do in lots of situations, but I think being willing to try new things (and confident enough to manage it, whether it's reading signs or asking for help) is a bigger deal because you're never going to be able to expose them to everything.  Spouse and I both grew up in a world where spaghetti was 'ethnic' food, so grad school, where lab potlucks included food from several countries, was a shock.  So, we were conscious about exposing the kids to different kinds of food.  We've been to museums and national parks and amusement parks and sporting events and concerts and different churches.  We grow a lot of our own food, so the kids are learning how to tell when things are ready to pick, and they can shell, snap, and blanche.  They have enough awareness to pay attention to when it's going to frost - last fall they ran out and picked every partially-ripened thing to bring in...not a skill, exactly, but it's becoming second nature to them to notice weather and think about how it will affect the garden, fruit trees, or greenhouse.  

I think you can try to expose kids to things, as much as your finances allow, but you only think to do the things that you know and are much more likely to do things that you enjoy.  I saw tons of plays in community theater as a kid because my mom loves plays.  My kids have seen a few plays, but have been to tons of museums because I love them.  We definitely do things that aren't our favorites to expose our kids in case it turns out to be something that they love - two of us tolerated the loud live music on Beale Street that younger kid loved, and younger wasn't particularly impressed with the Air and Space Smithsonian that older and spouse were fascinated by.  But, there always going to be gaps.  We know one family whose child placed in a national science fair and presented at the White House.  This teen had crazy amounts of experience...but ran into a glitch in college because they weren't used to eating quickly prepared food like a frozen dinner or can of soup, much less cafeteria food.  A tween that we know had a bit of a meltdown on a group outing because they didn't know how to order at Taco Bell.  After seeing those 2 experiences, we decided that we wanted our kids to be comfortable whether they were served hot dogs, steak, casserole, tandoori chicken, or a can of Campbell's soup.  We have eaten at the occasional nice restaurant and made sure that they know the basics of eating at chains, mom and pop diners, and different fast food restaurants that they are likely to encounter while traveling or out with a group.  We have all navigated airports and done some subway stuff, but 2 of us really don't like cities - I'm glad that we have the skills, but we only use them when necessary.  🙂  

Edited by Clemsondana
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Posted (edited)

The one thing that I was intentional about is "dealing with people on their own" - paying for their own stuff at the cash register, making inquiry phone calls, asking for help or directions, approach conflict head-on, etc. I would rehearse with them what to say or do, but allow them to actually do the thing instead of doing it for them.

This has served my DD well when she was in a crappy work situation where the manager was a vindictive (b)witch who caused trouble between co-workers and passed blame. DD was able to approach the co-workers directly and nip any trouble in the bud, then ultimately give her notice and quit that job when it was clear that the situation with the manager was not going to change. She still stops in to visit her ex-co-workers because she was able to maintain friendly relationships with them despite the managers best efforts to create strife and misery.

ETA: and manners. Manners have been drilled into them since they were tiny. 

Edited by fraidycat
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I've been thinking about this a lot lately. DS is an only child. I probably did way more for him than I should have. And now I figure I have one summer left to teach him all the things I forgot:). This week he is on his first unsupervised trip with friends. He's traveled a lot, he's a smart kid. But I wonder how "street" smart he is. Can he read situations correctly? He's kind of flighty, and I wonder if he's in tune to his surroundings. I feel like he's always kind of counted on us to do that, like tour guides of life. 

DH is very big on teaching life skills - he wants him to always feel comfortable in unfamiliar situations. So, DS can do most everything on the OP list.  

This summer he is learning to cook some key meals so he can eat next year. But at this point, I think he'll have to experience and learn how to do independently. 

Like @fairfarmhand, we spend a lot of time intentionally teaching social skills. As an introvert, with some ADD, he doesn't always look at other people who might need him to step up and help out that way. We talk about that a lot. He has a great heart, but you don't always see it in action. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Catwoman in the sense that we didn't really do anything intentionally, but Dh and I are pretty well rounded and have a lot of different interests, so we really just passed that along to our children. We exposed them to a wide variety of culture (movies, music, theater/performance, museums), travel, all sorts of outdoor activities and team sports (playing and spectating), food, etc. We read tons and tons of books about all sorts of topics, fiction and nonfiction. They did a lot of work alongside dh and I (fixing things, lawn care, cooking, cleaning, etc.) Figure that gives them the ability to speak to most anyone about most anything at a base level at least, and gave them a jumping off point for them to dive deeper into those things they found interesting. 

Edited by whitestavern
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1 hour ago, fairfarmhand said:

For my kids i try to instill more of a “don’t be afraid to talk to people and figure things out.” Intentionality.

if they have that, they’ll end up as capable young people 

and “it’s ok to make mistakes”

and “work hard”

Pretty much this here too. 

And also that the whole “your teens and 20s is when you find yourself” is BS so let go of that crap mentality ASAP.

I tell my kids their teens and 20s is not when they find out who they are - it’s when they find out who they are not. A whole crap ton lot of personal growth and discovery is process of elimination.  And that’s a good thing. 

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Posted (edited)

 

 We strive to introduce our kids to lots of things and make sure they are independent and capable.  Their is no way to guarantee all these experiences and that they will take.  My kids are incredibly comfortable with water, heat related worries, animals, biking.  They are way less comfortable with public transport, forests, cold temps or most weather events. That's just the fact of where they live and what they encounter.  We travel but a once or twice trip or experience is not going to make people comfortable. 

Sports I've exposed them but they don't care about them.  At leeast not the ones most popular in this country. I guess they my come across as uninformed or whatever but I doubt they will care.

I am not really good with strange foods not due to lack of exposure I just am picky.  I strive to make sure my kids are not rude but food is very personal my kids react to it in very different ways even being raised in the same house .

Edited by rebcoola
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2 hours ago, Quill said:

I have met teens and YAs with what seems to me limited life experiences. This may, though not necessarily, be more common in always-homeschooled kids, but I have seen it with non-homeschoolers as well. What experiences did/do you intentionally do with your kids or things you exposed them to, specifically so they would not be narrow in this manner? 

Here are some goals I had for my kids, in no particular order:

* comfortable around the water; boating/fishing/crabbing/swimming

* comfortable in nature; hiking/biking; things to avoid (poison ivy, likely spots for snakes, check for ticks, etc.) 

* comfortable with animals; ride horses, not afraid of dogs, handle reptiles or small mammals like hamsters, rabbits, etc.

* comfortable with many foods or eating traditions; use chopsticks, eat things that are “different”; try foods from many cultures

* understand basic rules of many games and sports

* competent with home tasks; cooking, cleaning, building, fixing

* comfortable with travel-related stuff; airports, metro, bus, cars, etc. 

What things were important to you? 

 

I would say 90% of those things were introduced to them in boyscouts.   I don't want to turn this into a Boy Scout debate, just saying that when they were in it, it was a good experience for them.

The interesting thing to me is that even with my best intentions and exposure, these darn kids have formed their own likes and dislikes despite my efforts......DARN KIDS!

 

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My list has more to do with people.   I want all my boys to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves.  I have made sure my kids:

  • volunteered in nursing homes
  • worked with special needs kids
  • volunteered with refugees, homeless, and inner-city youth
  • spent significant time with those who don't come from the same culture they come from, speak the same language, etc....
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Much of the above, but I also took Dd to ballets and operas so she would learn that even povs like us can have nice things if we save up, and we can belong there. Nobody ever looked at us as though we were the country cousins who didn't belong. They said "Oh, you've picked such a good version to attend, this one is excellent!"

When Dd learned that she couldn't learn hard things any more, and had forgotten the time and trouble it took to read, I had her learn to spin. Not only did that remind her that she could learn things even if it took a few years of trying, she learned that it was safe to be better at something than her mother, since I can't. She resented it at the time, but relearned the lesson and now appreciates the skill, since she just used it to make a birthday present for her bestie, who is a domestic goddess in all other ways. It also gave her some confidence that she can create, not just consume.

I used to have her go shake hands and thank speakers at events, so she would learn that celebrities and other people doing cooler stuff than we know how to do are just people too, and to have the experience of being treated like a proper person by these people doing cool things. She was untaught that and circumstances have prevented me getting her out and about to relearn it, but Covid won't last forever and I'll be doing what I can to help her regain her confidence and feeling of being an equally valid human.

Inspired by a lousy budgeting assignment at school, I have had her budgeting and cooking for herself on the school holidays. Adulting, I think we call it these days? Anyway, if she wants to be a poor apprentice in a city with dreadful rental prices, she needs to learn to eat well on little money. She's actually picked that up really quickly, and is now learning how to spend a bit extra for taste and variety when she has spare $$. She's finding that harder to learn. She was barely beginning to memorise how much things cost or should cost when Covid ramped the prices up, so she's kind of had to start learning that all over again.

Boundaries. An <expletive> amount of work on boundaries and healthy relationships...

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There are a lot of life skills my kids have not acquired, either from lack of opportunity, lack of interest, or anxiety.  They can both swim well, but they haven't been boating or crabbing or anything like that.  Limited hiking and outdoor awareness, though they've done some at camps and as a family.  Pretty competent at household tasks, at least to a reasonable level.  I worry about travel skills.  We're working (really slowly and reluctantly) on driving.  Neither have ever flown in their memory.  Nor have they navigated mass transit or a large city, because we really haven't ever been to one in their memories.  We talked briefly about having my youngest fly somewhere, but it would have been alone, and the thought made her super panicky.  I worry about navigating travel, but we really haven't had the opportunity to train them in that.  One kid can use chopsticks a bit.  Honestly, I really can't figure out chopsticks, so I'm not too worried about the one who can't.  Their experiences with food are pretty middle class.  The fanciest restaurant they've ever been to is the Melting Pot.  

Honestly, the life skills I'm most worried about them dealing with are skills at interacting with people, including using the phone to make phone calls.  We're working on it, but covid shut down a lot of opportunities to work on this.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Quill said:

I have met teens and YAs with what seems to me limited life experiences. This may, though not necessarily, be more common in always-homeschooled kids, but I have seen it with non-homeschoolers as well. What experiences did/do you intentionally do with your kids or things you exposed them to, specifically so they would not be narrow in this manner? 

Here are some goals I had for my kids, in no particular order:

* comfortable around the water; boating/fishing/crabbing/swimming

* comfortable in nature; hiking/biking; things to avoid (poison ivy, likely spots for snakes, check for ticks, etc.) 

* comfortable with animals; ride horses, not afraid of dogs, handle reptiles or small mammals like hamsters, rabbits, etc.

* comfortable with many foods or eating traditions; use chopsticks, eat things that are “different”; try foods from many cultures

* understand basic rules of many games and sports

* competent with home tasks; cooking, cleaning, building, fixing

* comfortable with travel-related stuff; airports, metro, bus, cars, etc. 

What things were important to you? 

 

Yes, we've done all of those.  While I love to have experiences with my girls, I will admit that they got quite a bit from scouts, summer camps, and extended family.

My basic motivations:

  • Saving them from my fate as a culturally ignorant working-class country girl, who came to the big city to study and work in professional fields.
  • Not allowing them to miss all the useful lessons learned as a working-class country girl.  🙂
  • Making sure they know how to keep themselves safe in various situations.
  • Just enjoying things together as a family, some of which happen to be "good life experiences."

So to try to summarize the many experiences they've done and will continue to do:

  • Basic basics - with or without me, they've spent time at historic farms where they've learned lots about agriculture/husbandry, Amish-style food production and preparation, sewing, woodworking, etc.  They've done primitive camping, fishing, indoor and outdoor cooking, laundry, pet care ....  More to come....
  • Safety - they could swim since age 4, are working on their 3rd degree black belt, are certified in CPR and first aid, have taken self-protection courses, probably other stuff....  More to come....
  • Sports - they've done at least a little of almost every kind a local kid can do, and we watch major contests on TV so they are able to discuss such things.  They've never "not" done at least 2 sports each, and have had the privilege of seeing some college and professional contests in person also.
  • Performing arts - they've studied multiple instruments, played/sang/danced/done theater on the stage, attended many professional musical and theater performances including once on Broadway in NYC.  🙂
  • Travel/culture - they've been to thirty-some countries on six continents, have ridden in/on almost every imaginable mode of transportation, studied at least 3 languages other than English, eat often at ethnic restaurants (even though they claim they don't like this nowadays), attend culture camp, participate in many ethnic/cultural events (big and small), ....  Bonus - they are very into Korean and Spanish-language music these days, and as teens do, they dig into the backgrounds of their favorite musicians.
  • Business / professional stuff - they attend some of our business/professional activities and have done some work to help out at our properties.  (Maybe money / finance should go here too ... not that my kids have much experience here, other than spending and a tiny bit of saving ....)

I'm probably forgetting a bunch.

Edited by SKL
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4 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

This is going to sound stupid and very basic but the most intentional thing I remember doing was practice asking questions. For some reason, for some kids, it takes practice asking directions, etc. I remember myself as a kid and I would wander around a building aimlessly getting stressed out before I would just ask a question. So I made sure to let them ask questions. If they went to buy a video game and needed a case unlocked or something I made them ask themselves. This has turned out to help them alot and they've known other kids who struggled with this.

Not stupid at all.  I was that kid (and adult!) who was (is?) very uncomfortable asking questions.  I really noticed this when my much younger sister would ask them for me!  I didn't want my kids to have that problem.  So among other things, I forced them to go buy stuff on their own, order at restaurants, discuss things with their teachers, find their own way around at a new summer camp, etc.

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Posted (edited)

I was trying to figure out where volunteering fits in there.  Volunteering has always been part of our lifetstyle, but it isn't focused on one particular area.  Working with animals, kids, elderly, making various kinds of care packages, planting trees, car washes, ....

Edited by SKL
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3 hours ago, pinball said:

This really feels like it can slip into “No Child of Mine” territory really quickly, depending on parental attitudes.

”No Child of Mine” is going to grow up not knowing how to swim, throw a baseball, take a crosstown bus, do algebra in 7th grade, not make his bed, etc...

I try to parent the kids I have. What I think is important might never be important.

and what seems bizarre and unfathomable...might be what they need.

like Owen Meany

I don’t really think it does that, though. I’m not saying they have to like all these experiences, or excel at them; just that they know what they are, or they can manage them without complete ignorance if they come up

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6 minutes ago, SKL said:

I was trying to figure out where volunteering fits in there.  Volunteering has always been part of our lifetstyle, but it isn't focused on one particular area.  Working with animals, kids, elderly, making various kinds of care packages, planting trees, car washes, ....

I do really like this. I did not do a good job of this with my kids. My oldest volunteered at a cat shelter, but she “had” to do hours for NHS and loved cats, so that’s what she chose. But ver the years, *I* have not focused on volunteer work much (unless you include my volunteer commitments to our co-op) and I don’t feel I did a great job of really impressing the need to help others who need more help/resources than we do. 

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That is a very socio-economically particular list, other than the home tasks. 

Nobody could be surprised, surely, that many YA do not know how to ride, or do not have extensive boating or travel experience? These things cost $$$

My kids can run a home, navigate a city, hold down a job, rent a home, and use their brains to learn how to go crabbing ( what even?!) if they so desire as adults. 

My list would be very different. Has child had time in nature? Does someone talk to the child? Are they taken to a local library? Do they have the chance to try out a sport and/or creative activities? Are there interesting discussions in the home? Does an adult make time to teach child skills like cooking, cleaning, budgeting, small house repairs, shopping? Is child able to sometimes access experiences in the community - open days, festivals, markets? Is the child supported to an affordable extent in particular interests? Can child access other cultures at times? 

There are so many children who do not get the above, I can't even begin to wonder about the kids who don't get riding lessons. 

I'd settle for all children having access to books and a regular outdoor play time. 

 

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Confidence to try new things, comfort with occasionally failing or looking “stupid”  and ability to ask questions/seek help is going to cover a lot of these. 
 

My kids have handled travel as young adults even though we were not able to give those experiences. I so wanted to fly with them before they had a need or opportunity come up that didn’t include us. It didn’t work out that way and they all managed flying solo for the first time. I felt like a failure not giving them that experience but they all managed just fine. 

Now, I think they are all wise not to try to sail a boat on their own. 
 

We really couldn’t give our kids most of that. We did our best, they are awesome, and they are experiencing life as young adults. Some kids I’m sure need more hand holding to build confidence and that is worth exploring. But no one should feel guilty they can’t give all  (or even most) of them. If you are limited focus on building confidence to try stuff. It will go a long way.

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9 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

That is a very socio-economically particular list, other than the home tasks. 

Nobody could be surprised, surely, that many YA do not know how to ride, or do not have extensive boating or travel experience? These things cost $$$

My kids can run a home, navigate a city, hold down a job, rent a home, and use their brains to learn how to go crabbing ( what even?!) if they so desire as adults. 

My list would be very different. Has child had time in nature? Does someone talk to the child? Are they taken to a local library? Do they have the chance to try out a sport and/or creative activities? Are there interesting discussions in the home? Does an adult make time to teach child skills like cooking, cleaning, budgeting, small house repairs, shopping? Is child able to sometimes access experiences in the community - open days, festivals, markets? Is the child supported to an affordable extent in particular interests? Can child access other cultures at times? 

There are so many children who do not get the above, I can't even begin to wonder about the kids who don't get riding lessons. 

I'd settle for all children having access to books and a regular outdoor play time. 

 

These were my thoughts when I first read the question.  Especially your first sentence.  

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4 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

That is a very socio-economically particular list, other than the home tasks. 

Nobody could be surprised, surely, that many YA do not know how to ride, or do not have extensive boating or travel experience? These things cost $$$

My kids can run a home, navigate a city, hold down a job, rent a home, and use their brains to learn how to go crabbing ( what even?!) if they so desire as adults. 

My list would be very different. Has child had time in nature? Does someone talk to the child? Are they taken to a local library? Do they have the chance to try out a sport and/or creative activities? Are there interesting discussions in the home? Does an adult make time to teach child skills like cooking, cleaning, budgeting, small house repairs, shopping? Is child able to sometimes access experiences in the community - open days, festivals, markets? Is the child supported to an affordable extent in particular interests? Can child access other cultures at times? 

There are so many children who do not get the above, I can't even begin to wonder about the kids who don't get riding lessons. 

I'd settle for all children having access to books and a regular outdoor play time. 

 

Sure, but I did say it was my list, not that it should be everybody’s

I realize, for example, that crabbing is very specific to my region. I’m sure there are kids growing up in Oklahoma who have never crabbed, lol. 

The interesting thing about going to the library: when I was a kid, we always went to the library. We brought home gobs and gobs of library books. It was the most normal thing in the wide world. But when I was first married and had my first child, I kept going to the library and coming home with gobs of books, movies, music and even educational toys. My dh literally could not believe this was a thing. He never ever went to the library growing up. He actually kept asking me what all this stuff was costing. I was like, “IT IS PUBLIC! IT COSTS NOTHING!” He for real couldn’t believe it because he had no experience. 

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

The interesting thing about going to the library: when I was a kid, we always went to the library. We brought home gobs and gobs of library books. It was the most normal thing in the wide world. But when I was first married and had my first child, I kept going to the library and coming home with gobs of books, movies, music and even educational toys. My dh literally could not believe this was a thing. He never ever went to the library growing up. He actually kept asking me what all this stuff was costing. I was like, “IT IS PUBLIC! IT COSTS NOTHING!” He for real couldn’t believe it because he had no experience. 

This is so sad, and I know kids who can relate.  They're not allowed to use the public library because their parents are afraid they won't return materials/will lose them/destroy them...they've never been given the chance because their parents decided years ago never to take them.  FWIW, our library fines are $.02 per day in a non-pandemic, waived during, and it takes a $10 accumulation to put a block on the card.  But these kids don't know that.  They've been taught it isn't worth it to borrow, so they have rare access to good books.

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

Sure, but I did say it was my list, not that it should be everybody’s

I realize, for example, that crabbing is very specific to my region. I’m sure there are kids growing up in Oklahoma who have never crabbed, lol. 

The interesting thing about going to the library: when I was a kid, we always went to the library. We brought home gobs and gobs of library books. It was the most normal thing in the wide world. But when I was first married and had my first child, I kept going to the library and coming home with gobs of books, movies, music and even educational toys. My dh literally could not believe this was a thing. He never ever went to the library growing up. He actually kept asking me what all this stuff was costing. I was like, “IT IS PUBLIC! IT COSTS NOTHING!” He for real couldn’t believe it because he had no experience. 

I think access to a library is really different to being able to travel or ride. 

I agree; many children do not get to access these cheap or free basics. That's where to start; not with thinking some YA were deprived b/c they aren't au fait with taking an international flight. 

Anecdotally, lack of access to a local library is far more common in the schooled kids I see than in the homeschooled kids, who live in the library during elementary years, at least. 

That's why it's so important public school libraries are well resources and form is central part of the curriculum. 

It's also why public libraries have to actively understand their local demographics and find ways to reach out to families who don't use them. 

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Complete ignorance is embarrassing, btw, but not a sin. If ppl judge you for being ignorant of how to do X for the first time as a YA, then they are not nice ppl and you should not spend any more time with them.

We're all ignorant of something. 

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Yeah, having access to the library can make up for a lot of other things kids don't have access to.  🙂

When I was little, the school used to walk us down to the library once a year.  We got our own library cards and were allowed to have 2 books out at any given time, plus sit in the library and read (if we didn't make too much noise).  It was a great escape from a hot summer day!  The library was walking distance to our house - by 1970s standards.  My parents never ever went there.  They didn't have to.  We always went on our own.

So I always found it strange to hear about library access being about whether parents did or didn't take kids there.  In every non-farm neighborhood I've been in, there's been a library within walking distance of the schools.  Do people not know kids can go there without parents?

But then I learned that libraries started having age cutoffs to get into the library without a parent.  IMO that is ridiculous.

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2 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Complete ignorance is embarrassing, btw, but not a sin. If ppl judge you for being ignorant of how to do X for the first time as a YA, then they are not nice ppl and you should not spend any more time with them.

We're all ignorant of something. 

I get that. I just find it pretty unfortunate when an older teen or twenty-something is ignorant about quite a lot of things. 

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Yeah, a kid can't sign up for a library card on their own here. And most couldn't walk there on their own. 

I've seen preschools and child carers do a great job with introducing kids to the library, though. And libraries do a lot of outreach for kids 0-5. 

I guess most kids after that have access to a library at school, but not the habit. Kids whose parents don't support them to return books get banned from borrowing at ours, though, and they are often the kids who need access most. 

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15 minutes ago, Quill said:

Sure, but I did say it was my list, not that it should be everybody’s

I realize, for example, that crabbing is very specific to my region. I’m sure there are kids growing up in Oklahoma who have never crabbed, lol. 

The interesting thing about going to the library: when I was a kid, we always went to the library. We brought home gobs and gobs of library books. It was the most normal thing in the wide world. But when I was first married and had my first child, I kept going to the library and coming home with gobs of books, movies, music and even educational toys. My dh literally could not believe this was a thing. He never ever went to the library growing up. He actually kept asking me what all this stuff was costing. I was like, “IT IS PUBLIC! IT COSTS NOTHING!” He for real couldn’t believe it because he had no experience. 

I was not taken to the library as a child. To this day, I don't think my mom has EVER been to a public library. I offered to take her once and she told me she isn't going to start using the library now. However, I loved the library and would ride my bike miles to get to the two nearest libraries and would wander the stacks for hours. My mom was shocked when she learned, after I was an adult, how far I biked and how often I went to the library.

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1 minute ago, Quill said:

I get that. I just find it pretty unfortunate when an older teen or twenty-something is ignorant about quite a lot of things. 

My kids are ignorant of some things on your list. That's not unfortunate; that's just different lives and opportunities.

There's plenty they aren't ignorant of, and I have absolute faith in their adult abilities to experience and learn from things that are new to them. 

Sorry, Quill, for being snippy! Your inclusion of 'ride horses' got under my skin. Only wealthy kids ride horses around here. 99% of young adults in my suburb are not water sporting or horse riding!

I really do think it's worth focusing on the more basic lacks. 

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15 minutes ago, Quill said:

I get that. I just find it pretty unfortunate when an older teen or twenty-something is ignorant about quite a lot of things. 

I met a lot of "clueless" young adults when I lived in the grad school dorm.  People who had never cooked a meal, changed sheets, swept a floor, gone to the bank, written a check, changed a diaper, sewed on a button, installed a gadget, changed a tire.

But those who were "clueless" about things I felt comfortable doing had had lots of valuable experiences I'd never had.  It made things a lot more interesting to share these things with each other.

I guess that's one thing I hope my kids learn ... how to bring out the best in others who are different from ourselves.

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15 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

My kids are ignorant of some things on your list. That's not unfortunate; that's just different lives and opportunities.

There's plenty they aren't ignorant of, and I have absolute faith in their adult abilities to experience and learn from things that are new to them. 

Sorry, Quill, for being snippy! Your inclusion of 'ride horses' got under my skin. Only wealthy kids ride horses around here. 99% of young adults in my suburb are not water sporting or horse riding!

I really do think it's worth focusing on the more basic lacks. 

We have programs here for city kids to do these things for free or very cheap, though it's not always easy to get a slot.

My kids don't qualify because they don't live "in the city."  Luckily, there is a farm / riding school just 5 miles from our home.  No, it isn't cheap to ride as a sport, but as an occasional thing, it is affordable.  So at least kids will know what riding a horse is.

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