Imagine the following three scenarios…

Ron and Judy love their 26-year-old son Jim. Unfortunately, whenever Jim
calls his parents they cringe. Will he ask for more money asks Judy? Ron
replies, “What do you mean if, the question is how much this time?”

Linda visits her mother. Linda would like her mother’s help in cooking a
dinner and baking a dessert. Linda’s mother just does not understand how
Linda could have two left hands in the kitchen. Thinking to herself, “I
always cooked and baked, how could she not have learned these skills?”

My daughter is very overweight and she never exercises says Tom. Tom
continued, “She is now 22 years-old and even though she never exercised, now
that she is getting older she must begin. I never had to exercise because I
always worked and didn’t have time.” Tom does seem a bit overweight himself.

All three of these sets of parents have a similar problem. Their grown
children have not developed certain life skills. There is a way to minimize
this with your children. Become proactive and develop “A PARENT PLAN.” A
parent plan is a family blue print. Before getting too far into the parent
plan here are a number of important questions to think about.

Where would you like to see your children when they turn 25 years old?

Employed or Unemployed?
Living at home with you or out on his or her own?
Married, single or divorced?
Paying his own debts or having you pay them?
Being responsible for his mistakes or dependent upon others?

Another important question to ask is: what legacy would you like to instill
in your children?

Scary questions aren’t they? As mentioned a parent plan is a blue print for
your family. You want to create the positive environment where your
children can learn your desired values by your desired actions. It is that
easy, remember nobody plans to fail they just failed to plan.

We want to teach our children how to function in the ever changing real
world and this means planning. This might include:

· How to be independent

· How to be a decision maker

· How to be a motivated worker

· How to handle finances

· How to live a healthy life style

· How to handle time management issues

· How to be organized

· How to live a balanced life

· How to be healthy

· How to develop a good self-concept

· How to be resilient

· How to communicate effectively

· How to develop a mature character and integrity

· How to set and respect boundaries

Here are a few suggestions in order to achieve some of the above list.

· Model the behavior you would like your children to inherit

· Providing choices develops ones decision making ability

· Have your children write the monthly checks. It is helpful for them to
know how to write a check and to know how much the utilities cost

· Help budget their homework time, putting in rest breaks every so often

· Serve healthy meals

· Verbalize your thought process. Let your children hear how you solve
a problem. Ask them for their insight. For example, time management: Work
backwards when you have to be at a designated place. If you have to arrive
somewhere at 9:00 and it is a 30 minute ride, a stop at the drug store will
take 10 minutes, and 15 minutes for you to get ready. What time should you
start getting ready?

· Explain why you use certain stores. Why do you patronize your bank,
this dry cleaner, or that grocery store? For example, your answers might
say that you like the service you receive at this bank or the lack of
service you received elsewhere caused you to change banks.

· Set your limits and boundaries.

· Encourage your children to plan a meal or cook a dessert, each week.

Going back to our three sets of parents lets see if they could have done
anything different. Ron and Judy may have never talked about finances with
Jim when he was younger. Jim may have never had control over his allowance
or his own money. In many homes finances are not discussed. Therefore, Jim
may have never been exposed to his parent’s bills.

Even though Linda’s mother could cook and bake we wondered if she ever took
the time to teach Linda how to cook, or was she critical of Linda every time
Linda helped out in the kitchen. Do not expect all traits to be picked up
by observations. We need to take the time to teach.

Tom had an excuse for not exercising, even though it was a poor one. He
never modeled the desired behavior he desired for his daughter. Where did he
think she would learn to live a healthy life style including exercise?

Too conclude a parent plan is very important when it comes to preparing your
child for the real world. Now have some fun and answer the following: Place
yourself 20-25 years into the future. What could you have or should you
have passed along to your children before it is too late?

What will you put in your parent plan? Take these and write some goals you
want to achieve.

What do you want to pass along to your children?

What would you like your children to say about your parenting when they are
25 years old?

If you have questions about your parent plan feel free to give us a call.

Author's Bio: 

Derek and Gail Randel have customized programs for corporations, schools, and parent groups for putting the fun back into parenting so you can enjoyyour children. They also have a free parenting newsletter through their website, and a parent consulting service. The Randels are the authors of TheParent Manual and Bittersweet Moments. They can be reached at Parent Smartfrom the Heart 1-866-89-SMART, www.parentsmartfromtheheart.com or