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Episode 71: 10 Things I’m Glad I Taught My Kids Before They Left for College

Brief summary of show:

When the kids leave for college, it is a trying time for the parents, and of course, not so much for the kids.

My husband and I have one daughter who is a senior in college in Florida, and one leaving in just a few weeks. She graduated in the Spring and is headed off to Nashville to pursue her dreams.

In this episode, I want to talk about preparing our kids to leave home and share 10 Things I’m Glad I Taught My Kids Before They Left for College. And I don't just mean the days and the weeks before they leave, but the 18 years before they leave.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [3:15] Why what other people say or think doesn’t matter

  • [4:45] The value in doing chores

  • [6:15] Showing your kids vulnerability and that pain is okay

  • [8:30] Why you don’t need to be friends with everyone

  • [9:45] Staying true to yourself

  • [10:35] The power of listening

  • [11:15] Allowing yourself to make mistakes

  • [12:00] Teaching them how to help

  • [12:55] Patience and manners

  • [13:55] Creating traditions

Notes from Natalie:

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View Transcript for this Episode

[00:00:00] Natalie: Hi everyone. It's Natalie. When the kids leave for college, it is a trying time for the parents. Of course, not so much for the kids. We have one who is a senior in college in Florida, and one leaving in just a few weeks. She graduated in the spring and is headed off to Nashville to pursue her dreams. Today.

[00:00:19] I wanna talk about preparing our. To leave home. And I don't just mean the days and the weeks before they leave, but the years, the 18 years before they leave, before I get started today, I wanna tell you about my online blog and newsletter. , you'll find tips and articles on Natalie And you can also sign up for my weekly newsletter where I'll give you family health and positive mindset tips each and every week. And if you haven't already done so, would you please subscribe to this podcast and leave me a review? I would appreciate it so greatly.

[00:00:55] It's how I grow and how more people can learn from all of the things that I'm doing here on this podcast. Okay. It's never too soon to start thinking about what we need to teach our kids before they leave home. I know it may seem like a ways away for some of you, but it's really not. Believe me. Two of my babies are in college now.

[00:01:16] Well, one is just about to leave and I'll be doing plenty of mom crying when I take her to Nashville in a few weeks after having gone through this once already, the closest thing that I can relate it to for some of you is the first day of kindergarten. Yep. The first day of kindergarten, however times about a hundred.

[00:01:36] You're excited. You're nervous. You're scared. You're sad. You're happy. You're proud. Really? You can just name the emotion and you're probably gonna feel that way when driving away after hugging your child and saying goodbye and driving home only to have them. Not in your home anymore. We all wanna be sure that we've done what we need to do to prepare them for this next big stage.

[00:02:02] It can't be a mad dash to teach. It is so much better to think of these things along the way. So for my young parents, this is for you. For those of you with teenagers, maybe middle schoolers or high schoolers. It's not too late to start teaching these things, even for those of you who maybe already have college kids, and you're afraid that you haven't taught them all the right things.

[00:02:25] Well, the lessons that I'm gonna tell you about today can come in small doses in phone calls, and even when they're home over break. So let's get started.

[00:02:35] Natalie: Number one. I love this one so important. What other people think or say simply doesn't matter what other people think or say simply doesn't matter. We can all learn from that.

[00:02:48] Right? I was telling this to my middle school son the other day, you know, middle school. It's a time when kids live really with blinders on, they can be so insecure in those preteen years. Having confidence, being weird, being yourself. That is so hard. They try to fit in. It doesn't matter what you say and how many times you tell them.

[00:03:12] They're wonderful. They are worried about what other people think. Removing those blinders at a young age is so key. Tell them stand tall, live life for yourself. Don't live it for anyone else worrying about what other people think, what they're saying, what they are doing. It simply serves no purpose. It is a waste of energy.

[00:03:37] So please tell your kids this over and over, help them feel comfortable with who they are and the choices that they make. They will learn this themselves by watching you, by the way, and seeing that. You don't care. What other people think? I know that's hard because it's human nature to care what people think, but tell yourself I'm living this life for myself, not for everyone else.

[00:04:01] And remember it does start with you. As an example, parents

[00:04:05] Natalie: The second thing. I am glad I taught my kids before sending them off to college. Is this the value in chores? My kids do daily and weekly chores. And guess what? I don't apologize for it. I'm not a super strict parent, but I see the value in doing work and chores. More importantly, the value. In hard work.

[00:04:26] I was talking to a young person at our house the other night, my son had to do the dishes before he could play. Or as they say, hang out, I asked this young man, if he did chores and he said, no, my mom does the dishes. Well, we're not doing them any favors. By not giving them work no matter how many resources you have in your home, make sure your kids know the value in doing things that are hard in work in accomplishing things, give them expectations and hold them accountable.

[00:04:57] I saw an article recently quoting Tom Brady. The football player for my numb sports people out there. He said the greatest challenge as an ultra rich athlete is they have people who clean make food and do their everyday chores, raising kids in a world where they don't have to do much. Is not teaching them about hard work, no matter your financial situation.

[00:05:21] I hope that you will give your kids chores. They won't like it, but they will learn and they will appreciate the structure and work ethic later in life. And they may thank you for it, but they will be better for it.

[00:05:34] Natalie: Okay. Next number three. Pain is okay. Don't hide from it. You know, it's natural that we want the best for our kids.

[00:05:43] And of course we don't want them to hurt or have pain. Let me give you an example here. We lost one of our dogs last year, our sweet, sweet Bernice mountain, dog, Georgia. It was one of the most painful things that our kids have been through. They grew up with this dog. Very thank. They have not lost any loved ones.

[00:06:02] And we know that that day is inevitable, but they loved that dog so much. She was just a big Teddy bear. My oldest daughter was at college telling her on the phone that. Brings tears to my eyes now was heartbreaking. She didn't get a chance to say goodbye. Our 12 year old son, he cried for days. I wanted so badly to take that pain away.

[00:06:28] You know, pain is hard for kids, but we also know that in life we're gonna lose pets and we're gonna lose loved ones. Understanding that pain. Talking about it, processing it, and then preparing and walking through loss and pain is so important while I wanted to just hold him and take the pain of losing sweet Georgia away.

[00:06:51] I knew that letting him have some time to deal with the pain was an important part of him growing. One day when he loses someone, he loves, he will know how to process pain because he's had it and he's overcome it. And he did. Okay. Overcoming it. We are able to talk now about sweet Georgia and how much we miss her without tears.

[00:07:44] Natalie: Okay. Number four, the thing I'm so glad I taught my kids. You don't have to be friends with. Not even your roommate. So college, isn't all fun. Sometimes roommates don't work out and sometimes teammates or people in the groups you're a part of are not so friendly, not so nice. That's okay. You don't have to be best friends with everyone.

[00:08:08] Sometimes you can be friendly without putting energy and time into a relationship. I have found that roommates good and bad are amazing growth opportunities. Dealing with conflict, dealing with different morals and values in a healthy way. Well, that's part of growing up too and learning your own values.

[00:08:28] My suggestion. To talk that through with your kids early and often appreciating and valuing other opinions without judgment is so important in college. It's important in life for all of us. We see so much division in today's world, over political views. I hope that we can teach our kids to be better to.

[00:08:51] Unconditionally and without division over differing views to that end, we can be friendly. We can be kind, we can be loving without being BFFs with everyone.

[00:09:03] Natalie: Number five, stay true to yourself. Need I say more? Of course our kids are gonna grow and they're gonna change teaching them to listen to their gut and their instinct. Oh boy, that's a big one. It's key. I use the phrase often with my kids. How does that make you feel? You know, listen. Feel, and then move on from there in our family, we know that that inner voice is God's voice and he never leads us astray being in constant communication with him being in his word, listening to that is so important.

[00:09:41] It's not something that happens overnight though. It's like any relationship it takes work, but it is by far the most important relationship that my kids and that I will ever. All right. So.

[00:09:55] Natalie: Here's number six. College is a time to listen and then decide as a journalist. I have learned the skill of listening.

[00:10:03] Sure. I do ask a lot of questions, but really listening to people. And then following up with questions that is where you learn and grow. Try to understand before being understood. I'm gonna say that again. It's so key. Tell yourself this. Understand. Before being understood. This concept is gonna cut down on conflict and it will help with communication in life.

[00:10:29] It's not easy, but it is certainly a life skill we can all use

[00:10:35] Natalie: next. Make more mistakes. We know it is how we learn. So why do we protect our kids from making mistakes? It only takes once, you know, to wash whites with a red shirt and the kids won't do it again. I know that I never did it again, but if we always do the laundry for.

[00:10:54] For our kids, then they are never gonna learn that lesson for themselves. Same goes for not taking an umbrella. When it's raining, we can remind them and save them over and over. But making the mistake will help them make better decisions. So when the mistakes are not high stakes parents, and we all know what that means.

[00:11:15] Let them make simple mistakes, so they don't make them again.

[00:11:19] Natalie: Number eight. Okay. The value in this phrase, I am so glad that I have taught my kids before they went to college. What can I do to help? I love this phrase and I watched my oldest daughter last week as we were moving, I was exhausted and she would come over to me time and time again and say, mom, what can I do to help?

[00:11:42] Wow. The power in that is so big. Just imagine a college student going to a professor or a roommate or a new friend and saying, what can I do to help the empathy, the selflessness, the compassion in that phrase, it disarms and it shows humility. What can I do to help, to walk into any situation? And say that really shows people the kind of person you are.

[00:12:10] So I hope you can teach that to your kids.

[00:12:13] Natalie: Number nine, Patients and manners go a long way. That's number nine. I am not the most patient person. It's something that I'm working on. I'm very well aware that I am impatient. And I talk a lot about that. Even with my kids. I tell them I'm not patient, but I'm working on it.

[00:12:31] Our young generation. Is even more impatient than I am immediate gratification. It's very real being a high school teacher. I see it with teenagers and I see it in my own kids, but not giving your kids what they want the day they ask for it. The moment they ask for it, having them work for things by paying for it themselves, or delaying that gratification.

[00:12:56] All of that is super important later in life. In addition, Let me just address manners from please. And thank you. And I appreciate you. Those phrases will help them with their relationship, their friendships, and even professional relationships as they grow up.

[00:13:15] Natalie: Number 10 finally. Create more traditions. I am so glad that I created traditions and that our family has so many fun traditions.

[00:13:26] My husband and I have been really big on this. And I think it's something you will appreciate in your family as well. Just last week as we moved out of our old house. Well, My daughter ordered Chinese food. We ate it on the kitchen floor. This goes back 22 years when my husband and I bought our first home, we didn't have furniture.

[00:13:46] So we ordered food and we sat on the floor. Each time we have moved, we've done the same thing. Our kids have heard us talk about it. And although they've only lived in two homes, they wanted to continue this tradition, you know, Tradition is just so important from weekly calls home well away, holiday traditions, the lucky penny, the, the food on test days.

[00:14:09] My mom used to make biscuit and gravy. very Southern thing on big test days. For me, it was a tradition I remember, and I value so much, whatever those traditions are for you. Keep them. Encourage them create new traditions. Let the kids create traditions because building those connections and those traditions are a very important part of feeling, a sense of family, a sense of belonging and purpose, and know that it's okay to continue them.

[00:14:40] When the kids are away, we take photos now of our silly traditions, even just my husband and I, and we send them to our family group chat. It's a fun way to keep the kids engaging in a way that they relate to. And we do it weekly. Okay. I said I had 10 tips, but I have a bonus tip. God doesn't waste anything.

[00:15:00] The good, the bad, the ugly. When we have hardships, which we know we will all have. I hope you and your kids know that you will only get stronger and have impact in ways. You never imagined through those hardships. I hope this has been helpful to you. I would love to hear more about what you are doing and how you're preparing your little ones to spread their wings.

[00:15:25] If you're on a flight, by the way, from Florida to Denver or Nashville to Denver in the next month or so. You might see me on that flight wiping away tears, but don't worry. I'm a crier. It's usually tears of joy as I am so excited for the next chapter in the lives of my kids. Until next week, hug your family, stay healthy and be positive.

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