Karen L. Kehler, MA,  MSHA - Private- Professional- Affordable Counseling Services
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Kehler Counseling Blog

What to Do This Summer

First put down your phone.    Really.  

Anyone born before the 80's knows that you really can have a summer without having a phone attached to your ear or palm.   We survived.  We had to be creative!   We also survived all those 'horrific' events of bug bites, poison ivy, seeing snakes, catching frogs, trips in the back of station wagon or pick up truck, discovering swimming holes, learning how to dive into mucky waters, card games, board games, Jarts(!), Kick the Can, numerous bikes (without motors), dragging our butts home bleeding from falls, jumps, and dares where a bunch of bandages, grilled cheese and tomato soup cured the pain . . . 

Its 2016.  "New Kids" have little idea how much true freedom and independence that 'we' had.  Looking back we were rarely supervised!   I don't know about my peers but my parents never 'played' with me.  They took us places -  but it was basic: church, scouts, store, and friend's house -when they were actually home and able to!    We never felt 'scheduled'.  We didn't have non-stop 'practices' or strict schedules to maintain to fit multiple activities in a day.   In my world there was the 'late bus' - that allowed for 'after school' activities but if that wasn't available - you didn't go - no one did.    In the summer I was more privileged than I ever realized at the time - because I got to go to 'scout camp' and 'away camp' - I never saw it as a vacation from me by my parents . . . I saw it as what I did every summer.   I loved it.   I laugh now how we spent the 2 weeks SINGING . . . non-stop . . .every where.   Silly stuff.   We didn't have portable music.  We were the music.   Everywhere we went we sang. . . how many kids do that now?  Seriously.  They all have ear buds or face down in cell phone screens.  

So what do you do with 'the kids' in this day and age of technology plugged into their heads? 
REMOVE IT.   
Get them outside.  Get them away.  Get them thinking, exploring, debating, curious, understanding.   Pick a subject they WANT to explore.   School requires them to memorize - use summer to let them explore alternatives.  

Start with Skill Building of Life Skills. 
We tend to worry about kids knowing academic subjects but do they know HOW to manage themselves in LIFE?  Seriously.   
These are the 7 Areas of "Life Skills" that an 18 year old should be capable and ready to do:

Environmental Skills:
         Able to independently manage a household/apartment/home including:
        Creating a safe –clean – desirable place to live
        Know how to plan/manage groceries, food preparation, serve meals to others
        Able to trouble shoot home/appliance repairs
        Able to Plan/coordinate/budget for a trip out of area
        Able to drive in new location – navigate through unknown area
        Able to complete a move of a residence that includes coordination of others, planning,     organizing and setting up new residence.
§  Manage hook-ups/installation of services
Financial Skills:
         Able to independently manage finances.
         Manage multiple bank accounts: checking, savings, investments without penalties/fees
         Able to locate/ read and monitor Credit report and understand important elements
         Able to read/apply and manage loans and contracts
         Able to handle sales situations that include negotiation, bidding, and deposits/down payments.
         Able to hire an attorney
         Able to submit proper tax forms and pay accordingly.
         Pay bills on time – budget accordingly
         Knows and understands basics of Investments, Retirement funding, Mortgage documents.
o    Knows and has initiated Insurance products including: Car, Health, Life, Liability, Specialty
Social and Civic Skills:
         Able to consider the needs of others – sensitive to moods-intentions and motivations of others.
o    Have stable moods and good self-esteem
o    Can manage rejection and defeat yet still rise above negative experience with insight of lessons learned.
o    Capable to participate in church/civic/volunteer organizations
o    Able to run for a political office or participate in local/state/national campaign
Employability :
         Possess  adult level social skills- able to communicate clearly.
         Can conduct presentations – communicating ideas clearly that educates/motivates audience
         Has skills that are a valuable asset to the organization
         Can apply skills learned from formal education
         Gets along with others in both team and as an individual
         Able to ask for help, ask questions as well as help and train others
         Takes initiative to complete tasks
         Contributes daily to successful operation of organization
         Able to read and follow directions without confrontation/argument/delay/resistance.  
Friendship and Intimacy:
         Ready for a committed/lasting relationship.
         Know own value system and looking for a partner who has similarities
         Able to participate with effort, understanding and gratitude in a relationship with another person long term.
         Able to manage rejection, end of a relationship and move on.
 
Medical Care/Nutrition/Mental Health care System
·          Able to schedule and keep appropriate appointments for healthcare including annual prevention, follow up testing, consults, and specialists.  
·         Able to afford co-pays, basic costs and premiums as expected.
o    Has researched and selected proper health insurance policy.
o    If qualifies, has investigated and used government programs to reduce health care insurance premiums and costs. 
·         Familiar with own health care basic numbers:
o    Cholesterol
o    Blood Type
o    Weight/BMI
o    How to read a food label.
·         Able to initiate conversations with health care providers regarding future treatment, advice/guidance on how to manage diagnosis, implementation of medical management that may include: medications, physical exercise, nutrition/diet, rehabilitation, meeting attendance, follow up individual counseling sessions.  
Life Planning:
         Has a Plan for long term: 
o    Retirement funding
o    Insurance Products
o    Legal protection of assets
Savings for children’s future needs: education, transportation, weddings, housing.

Start with a 'check off list' with your family - even adults may not know some of these elements. Schedule meetings during their 'off' time with Insurance agents, bankers, attorneys, employers, and healthcare providers to allow them to meet and become educated.   Expose them to a variety of professions and professionals.   Explore their interests or encourage them to design a plan to build their skills.   These elements can be truly life changing.  I have witnessed young people who were petrified to start college, move away or start careers because they believed that they would fail in these basic scenarios.   Too often parents step in and 'take care of it' - leaving the young person to distrust their own competency or ability to do it on their own.   They begin to internalize the 'They think I'm too stupid' or 'I am clueless and will fail' - and this intensifies anxiety - that many use both prescriptions or illegal drugs to 'manage'.    

So I'll keep this short - go through the list and work with your family to build 'life skills' -so that you're armed for the challenges it hands you - not blindsided.  

Enjoy!
Karen 


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