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7 Survival Skills Every Kid Needs

Preparing our kids for adulthood is no easy task, but no one needs to be an expert to teach these modern-day survival skills. Even as a kid, my mom didn’t cook much (long story) but she taught us basic cooking skills, and that at least was enough for my brother and I to get started as adults. Through her example, I also learned basic organizational skills and she taught us to read a map. She also taught us the basics of sewing, and how to be frugal (not cheap!) when shopping.

We teach the twins these things asĀ  a part of growing up – it’s our responsibility to see that they become self-sufficient. Our job is to do such an awesome job at this parenting thing to work ourselves out of a job! You can imagine my dismay when my husband called me yesterday to tell me about an incident that happened in Italy. It was an article about three 20-year old American exchange students who are studying in Italy. I had to read this for myself.

After a quick search, I came up with…

American Exchange Students in Italy Start Fire by Cooking Pasta Without Water

What the oh-my-goodness??? Who doesn’t know that you need water for pasta? As the article points out, the instructions are on the back of every box. I haven’t read them in so long that I don’t actually know what they say. Still, I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t know what I was doing, I would read them. That said – the point of this isn’t to bash those college students. I feel very badly for them, and I applaud the local chef who has volunteered his time and kitchen to teach the girls cooking basics. It was a truly classy thing to do for young women who must be very embarrassed by the incident.

No, I’m not bashing them. I’m calling out the parents on this one.


Because this is a parenting fail, plain and simple.

How can that be? These students were adults, at some point they need to be responsible for their own care and feeding. We can’t blame parents for the actions of their adult children, right? True – and not.

While these students were indeed adults and responsible for their own actions, their parents failed them in one very important area: They neglected to insist that they learn basic survival skills beyond hitting up the local Carl’s Jr. How can we expect our kids to thrive, or even survive, as adults if they haven’t learned a few basic skills?

If your kids can do all or most of these things already – fantastic! They’re well on their way to surviving in life. Yes, there are obviously a great many other things to teach, but without these skills, daily survival is a challenge, even on a good day.

Every future adult needs a set of basic survival skills

  1. The ability to read instructions.
  2. To be capable of basic car maintenance – changing the oil, flat tires, etc.
  3. Basic kitchen skills.
  4. Basic map-reading skills.
  5. Basic organizational skills.
  6. Sewing basics – how to fix a button or zipper.
  7. Basic finances.

Sure, I don’t change the oil in my car myself, and I try not to have to change a flat, but you can be that I know how to do it.

What life skills do you teach your kids, and why?

Let us know in the comments, or discuss it in the forum!