College/life prep for young kids

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Topic Author
RobLyons
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College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am

I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with all of you successful BHs on this forum. I value your input. I'm a middle class guy who wants my children (9, 6) to do better but the daunting cost of college and the rate of peers who did nothing with their expensive education, or changed majors, or are underemployed, really scares me. I bounced around community college for some time and went back to school before finding my passion at age 29.


A large part of me feels it's our responsibility as parents to guide our children and support them to achieve the best career possible. A lesser part thinks guidance counselors need to do their part.


Quick background
Involved parents (mom volunteers at school, dad is coach, etc)
Public schools (can't afford private)
Kids in social / sport activities
Screen time could be better limited at this point
Kids have excellent manners, respectful
Son is somewhat shy like dad
Daughter outgoing



With all that said, what's most crucial at ages 6 - 18 in terms of development? I would like to supplement their public school education.
Our schools are decently ranked but I can tell neither of them are being challenged.
How did you or your parents pay for college, or how are you helping your kids/grand kids with their college and career prep? How can I help them make better decisions?

Thanks all for your time
Last edited by RobLyons on Sun May 05, 2019 7:37 am, edited 3 times in total.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

livesoft
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by livesoft » Sat May 04, 2019 5:04 am

Apparently what I did doesn't count for nothing nowadays. :)

Perhaps more important is what my children did since they are in their twenties. I don't recall them using any guidance counselors. Mostly they did what their peers and friends did. That speaks to sending your children to a decent public school where most of the children go on to college for whatever reasons. I won't discuss cause, effect, nor correlation. But given the scenario I just mentioned, things fall into place sort of automatically.

If you want to make better decisions, then read the book Decisive by Heath & Heath.

Oh, and one more thing: If you don't have a dog, get one.
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trsk
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by trsk » Sat May 04, 2019 6:41 am

RobLyons: Congrats - you are already ahead of the curve because you are attending to your children's possibilities.

You may want to read the book "Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi or see his TED2004 talk called "Flow, the secret to happiness" on youtube. When we or our children are "in flow" we lose track of time, maybe don't stop to eat, willing to sacrifice other activities, etc. We are with ourselves and feel happy. Introduce your children from now until age 13 or so (when peers take over) to every activity you can - archery, bookkeeping, drawing, chemistry experiments, astrology, baseball, knitting, kayaking, singing....there are thousands...and watch, and help them observe themselves, regarding how they experience each activity. Do they ask to repeat it? What do they say about their participation in it? Do they seem lost in focused concentration? The more variety of activities they try early on, the easier it will be for them to know themselves and identify their vocations and avocations.

Another source for principles in choosing careers is "What Color is Your Parachute?" by Richard Nelson Bolles. It's for job-seekers, however there are some useful concepts which will be helpful for you to observe in your children, e.g. are they more interested in interacting with things, with people, with ideas? Do they prefer activities in a group or solo? Do they learn by listening, by doing, by watching? Do they prefer to lead or follow? Etc, etc.

:-) and if you get a dog, see Cesar Millan (www.cesarsway.com). We can learn a lot by observing how dogs explore, relate, and stay so happy!!!

Good luck to you and your lucky children!

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Tamarind
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Tamarind » Sat May 04, 2019 7:04 am

While not explicitly college related, my favorite advice (based on observation and my childhood as I don't have any of my own yet) for parenting kids who will launch is to make the kids progressively responsible for their choices, and for their own budget line items, starting as soon as they can count.

Start with things that don't matter much like getting to choose school clothes. "You have $x and you need 3 new outfits". If they blow everything on one item, they get to wear worn clothes. It won't hurt them. Expand as the chores do, ie to groceries for the meals they are going to cook for the family, their own after school activities and entertainment. The point is to give them many opportunities to make decisions large and small, to fail or regret their decisions without a parent stepping in, and to experience consequences early and safely. Helps ensure that when the big decisions arrive, they have less fear of getting it wrong, confidence in themselves, and a solid understanding of the value of money.

Regarding college, don't worry too much about majors. I have a BA in anthropology. I spent several years "underemployed". Today I am an IT consultant making 6 figures with a good reputation in my field. There is no obvious connection between my major and my work but I feel I use it every day. My parents gave me a clear budget of what they could afford for school, were available if I had questions, and left the rest to me. When I felt stuck they sympathized but did not try to step in.

Observing my coworkers who are parents of teens and college age kids, the ones who are having the most trouble have kids who get avoidant when big decisions loom because they are afraid of doing it wrong. They often defer deciding or make choices recklessly, and their parents are always trying to nudge them to make the right choice or rescue them from the consequences.

warner25
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by warner25 » Sat May 04, 2019 7:17 am

Trying to think about career decisions for 6 and 9 year-old kids just strikes me as silly. Saying that a kid at that age "has always wanted to be ____" seems even more so. Your 3rd grade son "isn't a huge fan of homework?" I don't even remember being in the 3rd grade. Did we have homework? Like you said, you didn't find your way until your late 20s, so I wouldn't expect them to figure out life much earlier. I think a lot will change over the next 10-20 years, not only with the kids but also the economy and the system of higher education.

At 6, I think I wanted to be a firefighter or policeman. At 9, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. At 13 or 14, I was hating school and not doing very well. Then I started loving school. At 15, I wanted to be in sports medicine. At 16, I wanted to be a pilot in the military, and I competed successfully for an ROTC scholarship, and I did that for a few years. But by 25, I figured out that I really wanted to be a computer scientist/programmer, which I had studied as an undergrad, and I've been tracking that way for the past few years.

My kids are younger than yours and they all want to be dinosaurs. We're setting aside money for higher education because we can, maybe enough to cover current in-state costs, but we're pretty agnostic about how things will play out.

OnTrack2020
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by OnTrack2020 » Sat May 04, 2019 8:53 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with all of you successful BHs on this forum. I value your input. I'm a middle class guy who wants my children (9, 6) to do better but the daunting cost of college and the rate of peers who did nothing with their expensive education, or changed majors, or are underemployed, really scares me. I bounced around community college for some time and went back to school before finding my passion at age 29.


A large part of me feels it's our responsibility as parents to guide our children and support them to achieve the best career possible. A lesser part thinks guidance counselors need to do their part.


Quick background
Very involved parents
Public schools (can't afford private)
Son isn't a huge fan of homework or school in general but intelligent, well mannered and tries hard. 1st - 3rd grade has not been much of a challenge
Daughter is bright, has always wanted to be a veterinarian. Dad thinks it's a lot of school for low pay.



With all that said, how did all of you decide on your careers, how did you pay for college, (college was of course much cheaper decades ago), or how are you helping your kids/grand kids with their college and career prep? How can I help them make better decisions? I have zero confidence in public school counselors.

Thanks all for your time
Four kids here-two currently in college.

My observations in a list:

--High school guidance counselors prepare students in terms of what classes they would need to take to graduate and get into specific colleges, not what types of careers they might be interested in.
--Going to community college is not dependent on what ACT score you get.
--Out of 5 of my son's peers going to college to study Computer Science, 2 have changed majors, 2 have dropped out and are working, and I believe one took some time off.
--Try to match the child's wants to the child's abilities. See the above line--so many kids want to go into Computer Science--it's a hard subject. One of our sons has always loved art/is a visual learner. It would have made no sense for him to major in English.
--"College Week" for 5th graders is nonsense.
--More than likely, your children will change "what they want to be" several times prior to graduation
--Do not let a counselor/person registering your child for college ask "What would you like to do, "Johnny"? Even though Johnny may be on the verge of adulthood, Johnny is usually not paying for college. You, the parent, are. We ran into a situation where one of our sons could only take 9 credit hours at one of our local colleges and then would have had to transfer two hours away to complete the program--never taking into consideration that he has a local part-time job that he really likes. We switched colleges very quickly after that. People that you meet along the way will not know your child like you do--it's that simple.
--We didn't have a substantial amount saved for any of our kids--no more than $25k per child. So, basically, a little over $6,000 per year for a 4-year college, and $12,500 for community college. We used that money, dividends, child's pay from working, bonus, scholarships, education tax credit, etc. We had one son take out one small loan in his freshman year because we didn't know how it would work out over four years considering a private university education is so expensive.
--For a child attending community college, pay cash.
--I hope they streamline the FAFSA more in future years.
Last edited by OnTrack2020 on Sat May 04, 2019 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

malabargold
Posts: 567
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by malabargold » Sat May 04, 2019 9:04 am

Don’t be helicopter parents - let them learn failure
and how to pick themselves up.

Give them a financial education - a few minutes every week -
they won’t get one from public school

Read to them and with them

Lead by example read books yourself

Read an article or 2 from a newspaper and discuss -
branch it off into a quick historical perspective

Give them a small investment account -just a few hundred in an
Index fund or two that they can “ manage” with you so they have a hands on example

Take trips to places with fun learning experiences- kids museums, science and natural history museums and regular
museums and invite their academically inclined friends

There is quite a bit of need-based aid out there, many elite
schools give enough aid so that even middle class parents pay
much less than in-state public school tuition. Lots of good public options too.

Let your kids be who they will be, if not a academically inclined
forcing it on them won’t help and will create stress.
Celebrate and encourage their own unique strengths and interests. You’ll both be happier.
Last edited by malabargold on Sat May 04, 2019 9:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

KlangFool
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by KlangFool » Sat May 04, 2019 9:15 am

OP,

Career is just a small part of surviving in life.

A) Take them out shopping. Show them how to shop intelligently.

B) Do they know how to do chores at home?

C) Do they know how to cook?

D) Do they know how to budget?

E) Do they have the discipline and work ethic to get things done?

F) Get them started on a summer job.

KlangFool

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 359
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am

warner25 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:17 am
Trying to think about career decisions for 6 and 9 year-old kids just strikes me as silly. Saying that a kid at that age "has always wanted to be ____" seems even more so. Your 3rd grade son "isn't a huge fan of homework?" I don't even remember being in the 3rd grade. Did we have homework? Like you said, you didn't find your way until your late 20s, so I wouldn't expect them to figure out life much earlier. I think a lot will change over the next 10-20 years, not only with the kids but also the economy and the system of higher education.

At 6, I think I wanted to be a firefighter or policeman. At 9, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. At 13 or 14, I was hating school and not doing very well. Then I started loving school. At 15, I wanted to be in sports medicine. At 16, I wanted to be a pilot in the military, and I competed successfully for an ROTC scholarship, and I did that for a few years. But by 25, I figured out that I really wanted to be a computer scientist/programmer, which I had studied as an undergrad, and I've been tracking that way for the past few years.

My kids are younger than yours and they all want to be dinosaurs. We're setting aside money for higher education because we can, maybe enough to cover current in-state costs, but we're pretty agnostic about how things will play out.


Thanks for passing judgement but it's never too early to start a discussion about our children's future. Especially on a site like this where we are planning 30-50 years out, starting to think about college 8-12 years out is hardly "silly" to me. There's a huge difference between kids with involved parents and parents who have checked out, yes even at the 3rd grade level. You will see what I mean when your kids get there.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
Posts: 359
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Sat May 04, 2019 9:21 am

trsk wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:41 am
RobLyons: Congrats - you are already ahead of the curve because you are attending to your children's possibilities.

You may want to read the book "Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi or see his TED2004 talk called "Flow, the secret to happiness" on youtube. When we or our children are "in flow" we lose track of time, maybe don't stop to eat, willing to sacrifice other activities, etc. We are with ourselves and feel happy. Introduce your children from now until age 13 or so (when peers take over) to every activity you can - archery, bookkeeping, drawing, chemistry experiments, astrology, baseball, knitting, kayaking, singing....there are thousands...and watch, and help them observe themselves, regarding how they experience each activity. Do they ask to repeat it? What do they say about their participation in it? Do they seem lost in focused concentration? The more variety of activities they try early on, the easier it will be for them to know themselves and identify their vocations and avocations.

Another source for principles in choosing careers is "What Color is Your Parachute?" by Richard Nelson Bolles. It's for job-seekers, however there are some useful concepts which will be helpful for you to observe in your children, e.g. are they more interested in interacting with things, with people, with ideas? Do they prefer activities in a group or solo? Do they learn by listening, by doing, by watching? Do they prefer to lead or follow? Etc, etc.

:-) and if you get a dog, see Cesar Millan (www.cesarsway.com). We can learn a lot by observing how dogs explore, relate, and stay so happy!!!

Good luck to you and your lucky children!


Excellent advice, thank you!!
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

jpelder
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Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by jpelder » Sat May 04, 2019 9:28 am

Hi! High school teacher here

At those ages, just nurturing a love of reading, learning, and trying new things is about all you need to do. You could always ask them what they want to be when they grow up, but there's no need for any specific preparation (they'll likely change their minds!).

Limiting screen time is important at their ages, and having plenty of time outside is great. I was out in the yard constantly at those ages, and it really developed my love of nature, along with prompting my future education choices (biology major in college with a focus on ecology and zoology).

Having them do age-appropriate chores, even before they're good at them, is also a good idea (See https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandso ... senting-it ). The nine-year-old can cook simple meals with supervision, and the six-year old can help with simple meal prep and cleanup work (depending on height)

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat May 04, 2019 9:55 am

Tamarind wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:04 am
While not explicitly college related, my favorite advice (based on observation and my childhood as I don't have any of my own yet) for parenting kids who will launch is to make the kids progressively responsible for their choices, and for their own budget line items, starting as soon as they can count.

Start with things that don't matter much like getting to choose school clothes. "You have $x and you need 3 new outfits". If they blow everything on one item, they get to wear worn clothes. It won't hurt them. Expand as the chores do, ie to groceries for the meals they are going to cook for the family, their own after school activities and entertainment. The point is to give them many opportunities to make decisions large and small, to fail or regret their decisions without a parent stepping in, and to experience consequences early and safely. Helps ensure that when the big decisions arrive, they have less fear of getting it wrong, confidence in themselves, and a solid understanding of the value of money.
Exactly. Let them start making as many decisions for themselves as early as they safely can do so. Even if they make bad decisions. Buy unsuitable clothes. Join a team they end up wishing they weren't on. Date the wrong person. Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

One of our kids was destined for a particular field from early childhood. The other has made a few course changes along the way but is finding a good path and has built up some good life experience. Not because we drove either one in a particular direction, but because we tried, at least, to give them enough support to find their own way.

I used to serve on a non-profit board with a guy who wanted to be a vet as a kid, so he went to work at a vet's office in high school. He found that vets make money mostly doing neutering and euthanasia. That appealed to him less, which is why he changed course and got to be a biotech corporate executive with a stunningly impressive net worth.

I agree that for kids with involved parents that high school guidance counselors are likely to be of little help. High school sports coaches can sometimes be more help. Not with careers, but with teaching teenagers discipline and teamwork while not being moved by whining or tears.

Isabelle77
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat May 04, 2019 10:09 am

Be involved but not over-involved. The biggest difference I see between the kids who are excelling at college and their careers isn't whether or not they liked homework or even how good their grades were, it is whether or not they can operate independently as adults.

Don't hover, give your kids independence based on their age, plus a little because you're going to underestimate what they're capable of. Don't manage their lives, at 9 & 6 they should be able to get up for school, get dressed, clean their rooms, make their own lunches if they need to, the 9yr old should be able to do his homework without harassment. Give your kids chores, consider scouts, overnight summer camp, or camping. Make sure your kids have screen-free time and a life outside of your life as a family. Surround your kids with newspapers and books. Include them in meal prep, cleaning, financial budgeting (again age appropriate plus).

My book recommendations in order of importance to me as a parent of teenagers:

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
How to Raise an Adult by Julia Lythcott Haims
The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
i-Gen by Jean Twenge

Relax a little too :) Your kids already won the parent lottery, all you have to do is let them develop like they naturally will want to.

Best of luck!

winterfan
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by winterfan » Sat May 04, 2019 10:15 am

When my DD was born, I started a 529 plan and funded it heavily at the onset. It seemed silly at first because she was only 3 days old and college was so far away. Well, now DD is going on 11, college will be starting in about 8 years. I thought things would change a lot with the education system too, but so far, it seems like it hasn't. I'm happy I started the 529 plan when I did.

I am aware of what is going on in DD's life, but I'm not pushy. Right now one of my priorities is to take more responsibility for herself. Starting in about fourth grade I started to back away from homework checking and double checking if she has everything she needed in her backpack. If/when she didn't have her assignments completed, she quickly learned to make sure it was done. I should note, that she's a bright kid, so I never needed to "help" her with her schoolwork.

As far as careers go, she has no idea what she wants to do. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a librarian because I thought taking out the cards in the back of the books and punching them with the date stamp looked like so much fun! When I was in HS, I just wanted to work in an office because I liked playing with the big printing calculator and filing paperwork, and I wanted to wear cute business outfits, like in the movie Working Girl.

When my kid turns 15/16, she will need to get a PT job for money. I think it's important to earn a check and get used to the idea of working and being in school at the same time. I think it helps with independence too.

Isabelle77
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Isabelle77 » Sat May 04, 2019 10:23 am

Just a follow-up on my post. Be careful the amount of pressure you put on your kids, it's ok to be worried, it's ok to have high expectations, but be careful that they have time to be kids.

Do some reading about the increases in mental illness, and suicide among young people, especially the unbelievable rise in anxiety disorders. It's really important as a parent. Our local high performing high school has had 5 kids commit suicide in the last 2yrs. I have older kids so maybe this is particularly relevant to me right now but keeping my kids mentally strong is more important to me than making sure they are economically successful, and I think the two are also related.

The books in my previous post cover a lot of this as well.

lotusflower
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by lotusflower » Sat May 04, 2019 10:54 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am
warner25 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:17 am
Trying to think about career decisions for 6 and 9 year-old kids just strikes me as silly. Saying that a kid at that age "has always wanted to be ____" seems even more so. Your 3rd grade son "isn't a huge fan of homework?" I don't even remember being in the 3rd grade. Did we have homework? Like you said, you didn't find your way until your late 20s, so I wouldn't expect them to figure out life much earlier. I think a lot will change over the next 10-20 years, not only with the kids but also the economy and the system of higher education.

At 6, I think I wanted to be a firefighter or policeman. At 9, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. At 13 or 14, I was hating school and not doing very well. Then I started loving school. At 15, I wanted to be in sports medicine. At 16, I wanted to be a pilot in the military, and I competed successfully for an ROTC scholarship, and I did that for a few years. But by 25, I figured out that I really wanted to be a computer scientist/programmer, which I had studied as an undergrad, and I've been tracking that way for the past few years.

My kids are younger than yours and they all want to be dinosaurs. We're setting aside money for higher education because we can, maybe enough to cover current in-state costs, but we're pretty agnostic about how things will play out.


Thanks for passing judgement but it's never too early to start a discussion about our children's future. Especially on a site like this where we are planning 30-50 years out, starting to think about college 8-12 years out is hardly "silly" to me. There's a huge difference between kids with involved parents and parents who have checked out, yes even at the 3rd grade level. You will see what I mean when your kids get there.
I think the point is that predicting kids careers is like predicting the stock market, it's a fool's errand. It seems like some parents try to execute a "plan", and that is not the right thing IMO. That being said, you're right that preparation and caring are important and there has been a lot of good advice in this thread.

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dm200
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by dm200 » Sat May 04, 2019 12:25 pm

While there were aspects of my college life - for which I was not prepared (academics) - I was better prepared than many for some other things:
1. Sharing a room in the dorm
2. Doing laundry
3. In junior and senior years, we had a 6 student on campus apartment - and my mother taught me the basics of cooking.

My wife told me that one of her college classmates had a lot of difficulty adjusting to dorm life because, in her home, there were both an upstairs maid and a downstairs maid!

In my freshman year, before cell phones, etc., the one phone on our dorm hall was outside my room. One student would call his mother every day to discuss what clothes he should wear the next day!

tibbitts
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by tibbitts » Sat May 04, 2019 1:06 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am
warner25 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:17 am
Trying to think about career decisions for 6 and 9 year-old kids just strikes me as silly. Saying that a kid at that age "has always wanted to be ____" seems even more so. Your 3rd grade son "isn't a huge fan of homework?" I don't even remember being in the 3rd grade. Did we have homework? Like you said, you didn't find your way until your late 20s, so I wouldn't expect them to figure out life much earlier. I think a lot will change over the next 10-20 years, not only with the kids but also the economy and the system of higher education.

At 6, I think I wanted to be a firefighter or policeman. At 9, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. At 13 or 14, I was hating school and not doing very well. Then I started loving school. At 15, I wanted to be in sports medicine. At 16, I wanted to be a pilot in the military, and I competed successfully for an ROTC scholarship, and I did that for a few years. But by 25, I figured out that I really wanted to be a computer scientist/programmer, which I had studied as an undergrad, and I've been tracking that way for the past few years.

My kids are younger than yours and they all want to be dinosaurs. We're setting aside money for higher education because we can, maybe enough to cover current in-state costs, but we're pretty agnostic about how things will play out.


Thanks for passing judgement but it's never too early to start a discussion about our children's future. Especially on a site like this where we are planning 30-50 years out, starting to think about college 8-12 years out is hardly "silly" to me. There's a huge difference between kids with involved parents and parents who have checked out, yes even at the 3rd grade level. You will see what I mean when your kids get there.
There's also a huge difference between involved parents and annoying parents.

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beyou
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by beyou » Sat May 04, 2019 1:19 pm

Having 2 kids in their early 20s now, I can say that they are less predictable than the stock market.
My only advice is to help them explore areas of interest (their interest, not yours), and get them help where they struggle as early as possible.
I see my eldest struggling in some areas that were identified in elementary school, that we assumed he would "grow out of". Not sure if we could have done much. He was academically gifted, but personally challenged. School policy and human nature is to assume shy, unhappy kids will blossom.
We (school/parents) tend to worry about test scores, and get them extra help before they "fall behind". While worried, the school and our child resisted attempts to address non-academic issues, but success in life is not just about academic and career skills. Make sure they are well rounded and don't be any more shy about getting them help with emotional issues than one would with medical or academic issues. Both kids had issues, youngest got more treatment and it helped. Sort of learned at the expense of eldest, and maybe misread his unique situation. We got so much feedback that he's so smart from the school, it was too easy to try/give up/then wish away his challenges.

Also pay attention to extremes. One kid was too busy, one too stressed and didn't take on enough activities.
Encourage the to try things beyond what is required, but not to take on too much or too little.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat May 04, 2019 1:56 pm

With all that said, how did all of you decide on your careers, how did you pay for college, (college was of course much cheaper decades ago), or how are you helping your kids/grand kids with their college and career prep? How can I help them make better decisions? I have zero confidence in public school counselors.
I liked math and science, and my dad was an engineer, so I applied to his alma mater and never looked back. The cost of college, while much lower then, was still much higher than my parents had expected. But they had saved for it, and had plenty left for retirement.

The cost of my kids' college was more than we expected, but we had saved for it, and had plenty left for retirement. We got there mostly by doing all the things recommended on this forum, like saving early and often and sticking to some low cost investments. We made a few mistakes along the way, but recovered from them.

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Watty
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Watty » Sat May 04, 2019 2:13 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
With all that said, how did all of you decide on your careers, how did you pay for college, (college was of course much cheaper decades ago), or how are you helping your kids/grand kids with their college and career prep? How can I help them make better decisions? I have zero confidence in public school counselors.
There was a long thread last fall about how people ended up in their career.

viewtopic.php?t=264957

As I recall maybe half the people had unplanned twists and turns that lead them to where they are today.

I think that the best thing that you can do it help your kids have a strong base of the fundamentals in the proverbial "Reading, writing, and arithmetic" and an exposure to a lot of different things so they can find what they have some natural ability for.

stoptothink
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by stoptothink » Sat May 04, 2019 2:24 pm

Watty wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:13 pm
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
With all that said, how did all of you decide on your careers, how did you pay for college, (college was of course much cheaper decades ago), or how are you helping your kids/grand kids with their college and career prep? How can I help them make better decisions? I have zero confidence in public school counselors.
There was a long thread last fall about how people ended up in their career.

viewtopic.php?t=264957

As I recall maybe half the people had unplanned twists and turns that lead them to where they are today.

I think that the best thing that you can do it help your kids have a strong base of the fundamentals in the proverbial "Reading, writing, and arithmetic" and an exposure to a lot of different things so they can find what they have some natural ability for.
+1. I had no idea what I wanted to do until 4yrs ago, at 34. I had a PhD and just kind of fell into it (was randomly recruited while working in a totally unrelated industry). I grew up in a single household, my mother did not graduate high school and had a low-skilled job (medical assistant). She knew nothing about college or professional careers. I had to figure it out all on my own, and there were A LOT of mistakes made along the way. As far as I am concerned, the only thing I can do is be a role model for my children and hopefully they learn from some of my mistakes. The more experienced I become as a parent, the more I realize that being an example is the one thing I can control; so much of what they are going to do and become is on them.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat May 04, 2019 2:31 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
A large part of me feels it's our responsibility as parents to guide our children
Agreed!
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
and support them to achieve the best career possible.
Support how and when?

Best career possible in whose opinion? The child? The parent? Someone else?

Best in which way? Financially? Personal happiness? Something else?
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
A lesser part thinks guidance counselors need to do their part.
IME they have. I do admit that I had to adjust my thinking a bit in realizing exactly what their part was and how their resources might be limited in expecting them to do what I initially thought they should be doing. IMO it is a little early to be criticizing a person or their career a dozen years in advance.

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by ohai » Sat May 04, 2019 2:48 pm

OP, a hugely disproportional amount of kids are influenced by their parents or other role models, even if no one pushed them in this direction. A lot of doctors' kids go to medical school, lawyers' kids go to law school, and college professors' kids get PhDs. Kids naturally emulate the people around them and think about their future in the context of what professions they observe in adults. Your kids are young, but as they get older, I expect that you will see them think in ways that are related to your household, your profession, and people in your social circle.

So, when people say "I am letting my kids choose their own path", that is not completely true, as the kids are still strongly guided unintentionally by their parents.

Anyway, that does not directly answer your question, but it does lead to my recommendation to expose your kids to adult role models in different fields. Kids need some kind of adult model that embodies a possible future. No kid will say something like "I want to be an architect" if they have never seen an architect or inspiring architecture in real life.

In terms of admissions and cost of college, your primary goal as a parent is to prepare the kids as much as possible to be admitted to college. This means researching different schools at different selectivity levels and educating yourself and your kids on what it will take to be a competitive applicant. Generally, this means keeping grades up, taking hard classes, and being active in some extracurriculars (hopefully something the kids cares about).

I am going to put forth my debatable opinion here, that cost is second to competitiveness in students. This is because truly good student applicants will get overflowing scholarship opportunities. Any person who is admitted to Princeton can likely choose to attend another school for full scholarship. If not, they will be able to achieve careers that will easily pay back the cost of college. You will never see MIT graduates studying with student loans. From what I have seen from my perspective as a foreign person with a US college degree, kids in my country work harder academically than kids in the US, but we have fewer opportunities. US is a great place to grow up, as the opportunities are in front of you, just waiting to be taken.

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by bluebolt » Sat May 04, 2019 3:19 pm

Some of the things I appreciated my parents doing for me, but I don't know if it prepared me any better:

- Started working at age 14. Had to look for, apply, and interview for jobs by myself. I gave my parents each paycheck and they gave me a small allowance. They invested those funds in my name and by age 18, I had a significant portion of my tuition saved up. That felt good.

- Giving me freedom to choose what I wanted to do outside of school, but requiring that I do *something*. Sports or music or community service. My parents said it was up to me to decide what I liked and they would be supportive. My parents supported even some of my not so great interests. (Bow & arrow? Sure!), but it was clear they were supporting me & my decisions.

- High expectations. I was expected to do well in school. I was expected to do well at whatever job I had. I was expected to be a good & helpful person. In some areas where I didn't excel, the questions were, "Are you satisfied with how you did?" or "Are you giving it your best effort?" They didn't focus on failure, but put a big focus on effort. And, were perfectly satisfied when I said I was trying my hardest even if I didn't succeed.

- Set an example. Both of my parents worked hard. They liked their jobs (most of the time). Family was a priority, but we knew that there would be a rare occasion where work meant we had to adjust plans or that one of my parents wouldn't make it to dinner. They were also very involved in community causes and helping other people. They spoke regularly about helping out and they put their money and time where their mouth was. They would raise money for important causes, they would look after relatives & friends who were sick, they would offer their home to a relative who was having problems at home, etc.

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by mnnice » Sat May 04, 2019 5:22 pm

Be open minded. I am the parent of a high school junior. I kind of figured he would attend a four year college and get an engineering degree. He was a happy go lucky extrovert that loved school. Then about 8th grade he lost his loving feeling for school. He continued to have good grade as a freshman and a the first half of his sophomore year.

About half way through his sophomore year a friend completed suicide and the whole next year was tough both academically and emotionally. He seems to have turned the corner on both fronts (counseling has seemed to help).

He is now saying he wants to do a union building trades apprenticeship. I am pleased and think it’s a good match. He is thinking about the pros and cons of a couple different trades and if he wants to apply to places around here or try a different part of the country. I am also happy he has a younger sibling that I can transfer his 529 money too :wink:

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market timer
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by market timer » Sat May 04, 2019 10:10 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:04 am
Perhaps more important is what my children did since they are in their twenties. I don't recall them using any guidance counselors. Mostly they did what their peers and friends did. That speaks to sending your children to a decent public school where most of the children go on to college for whatever reasons. I won't discuss cause, effect, nor correlation. But given the scenario I just mentioned, things fall into place sort of automatically.
Yes, my understanding is that--in studies that try to identify causality--peer effects are more important than parenting style. The top 3 determinants of explainable variation in adult outcomes are, in order:

1. Genetics
2. Peer effects
3. Parenting

Best thing you can do for your kids is to pick a partner with a desirable genotype. Then live in a good neighborhood and send the kids to a school with people who will be successful later.

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by tibbitts » Sat May 04, 2019 11:13 pm

market timer wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:10 pm
livesoft wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:04 am
Perhaps more important is what my children did since they are in their twenties. I don't recall them using any guidance counselors. Mostly they did what their peers and friends did. That speaks to sending your children to a decent public school where most of the children go on to college for whatever reasons. I won't discuss cause, effect, nor correlation. But given the scenario I just mentioned, things fall into place sort of automatically.
Yes, my understanding is that--in studies that try to identify causality--peer effects are more important than parenting style. The top 3 determinants of explainable variation in adult outcomes are, in order:

1. Genetics
2. Peer effects
3. Parenting

Best thing you can do for your kids is to pick a partner with a desirable genotype. Then live in a good neighborhood and send the kids to a school with people who will be successful later.
That's interesting, but I had all those advantages and still wasn't successful, certainly not nearly to the degree most Bogleheads are.

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by StealthRabbit » Sat May 04, 2019 11:40 pm

Preparing your kids for independence has a million formulas and every kid / situation is different.

Ours are now 12 - 14 yrs BEYOND college and of course we did it all wrong but kids turned out great! So do what is right for you... kids are resilient .

1) Our kids FIRST went to school in college (age 16) thanks to WA State "Running Start program" FREE college instead of burning daylight and learning (?) social skills in a high school.
2) From age 10... We volunteered every week in Public Schools, with homeless / druggies, and with elderly, so our kids got a 'taste' of the social spectrum.
3) We lived and worked internationally starting when kids were age 5 and 7 (good perspective gained by all).
4) Parents chose to 'give-up' career advancement for 16 yrs so we could both be home with kids... wage earner worked night shift
5) Farmed / lived rural


Pluses... (I think)
1) Kids started Roths at age 12, We matched wages 100% into Roths until age 18 ~ $20k in Roth accts by college. (One kid became a financial analyst for investment arm of a prominent USA top wealth individual)
2) Kids did 4H and farming and worked for neighbors (learned management skills)
3) Kids designed (on computer) and built their own homes from scratch during Jr High (family projects), but each kid had to get permits (County, State, and Federal in our case, homes were in National Protected Scenic area) Inspections, bids, approvals / draws... ) kids made ~ $80k earnings from this and gained a serious case of college INCENTIVE!!! ('Hey, I don't want to run a shovel or hammer the rest of my life!')
4) Financially responsible and independent by age 16 (bought their own cars, insurance, clothes and totally on their own before age 18 (including college and housing costs) They each had over $100k available (earned) by them by age 18 ) They had acquired technical skills (Electrical / plumbing / carpentry / cabinetmaking / sewing / cooking / mechanics by age 16).
5) Kids were very engaged in their U's (leaders / tutors / boards / public speakers / advocates for higher learning) We all graduated with gold ropes (Parents went back to different U's while kids were in college) They REALLY held their school's feet to fire to deliver quality EDU, since their own dollars were at risk. They frequently commented about going to school administration leaders to 'improve' the quality of education to all students. (USA Higher EDU schools are woefully poor at meeting 'education' emphasis, vs social agenda. )
6) kids ended up with great jobs and very engaged in community leadership / helping others be successful.
7) They had served with technical volunteer and trade activities so each held certificates and got very dangerous and exciting ...but high pay jobs during college. (AK fishing, Wildland firefighting / Paramedics) ~ $30k earnings for 6 weeks each summer. (and a wealth of very demanding work and responsibility experience)

Not perfect,

Amazing, but kids who are prepared, then 'set-free' by their parents can really shine.

Sad issue... they had No 'real' grandparents for guidance (we cared for one disabled grandparent, but was very contentious)

Both spouse and myself were very much influenced and benefited from grandparents. (we lived with them for safety from our own family situations. !)

bluebolt
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by bluebolt » Sun May 05, 2019 2:32 am

tibbitts wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 11:13 pm
market timer wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:10 pm
livesoft wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:04 am
Perhaps more important is what my children did since they are in their twenties. I don't recall them using any guidance counselors. Mostly they did what their peers and friends did. That speaks to sending your children to a decent public school where most of the children go on to college for whatever reasons. I won't discuss cause, effect, nor correlation. But given the scenario I just mentioned, things fall into place sort of automatically.
Yes, my understanding is that--in studies that try to identify causality--peer effects are more important than parenting style. The top 3 determinants of explainable variation in adult outcomes are, in order:

1. Genetics
2. Peer effects
3. Parenting

Best thing you can do for your kids is to pick a partner with a desirable genotype. Then live in a good neighborhood and send the kids to a school with people who will be successful later.
That's interesting, but I had all those advantages and still wasn't successful, certainly not nearly to the degree most Bogleheads are.
i don't think anyone's saying those things will guarantee a specific positive outcome, but will increase the likelihood.

fasteddie911
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by fasteddie911 » Sun May 05, 2019 6:32 am

Lots of great advice here I'll take with me.

Reading all this and I have no idea how I came out ok, my parents were pretty hands-off and did little of the things folks have mentioned and I turned out ok. I guess I just kind of figured it out on my own. Interestingly, my spouse and their siblings were raised the same but went in different directions in terms of maturity, decision making, etc. So who knows. My parents being hands-off helped me in many ways, but also I realize that they, and seemingly many of my peers parents, were pretty hands off for school and career guidance to a detriment too. They let the school handle it and parents themselves maybe didn't understand college and careers. I think a lot of parents at that time were narrowly focused on education, going to the best college and getting a good job, without any thorough understanding what that all meant or how to get there, just that their kids needed to do it.

My spouse and I both agree our parents could've exposed us to college, careers and professional life more. I basically went into the same field as my parents as that's all I knew and was expected of me somewhat. My spouse didn't know anything about careers and really didn't figure things out until after college. We both didn't know much about college, careers and the like. Our schools had college counselors but it seemed they were solely focused on getting kids into college, but little discussion was made of what to do after and the purpose of college or the possibility of non-traditional pathways. Many of my peers had similar experiences. I think just having open, regular discussions about the future, going to 4yr college (or not), what it means to have a job, how to get there, what's out there, what the kids may be good or interested in, etc. Having them work part-time, shadow jobs, talk to people, etc. may help too. 6 & 9 seems a touch young for this, maybe high school would be a better time.

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by DarthSage » Sun May 05, 2019 6:41 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am
warner25 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:17 am
Trying to think about career decisions for 6 and 9 year-old kids just strikes me as silly. Saying that a kid at that age "has always wanted to be ____" seems even more so. Your 3rd grade son "isn't a huge fan of homework?" I don't even remember being in the 3rd grade. Did we have homework? Like you said, you didn't find your way until your late 20s, so I wouldn't expect them to figure out life much earlier. I think a lot will change over the next 10-20 years, not only with the kids but also the economy and the system of higher education.

At 6, I think I wanted to be a firefighter or policeman. At 9, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. At 13 or 14, I was hating school and not doing very well. Then I started loving school. At 15, I wanted to be in sports medicine. At 16, I wanted to be a pilot in the military, and I competed successfully for an ROTC scholarship, and I did that for a few years. But by 25, I figured out that I really wanted to be a computer scientist/programmer, which I had studied as an undergrad, and I've been tracking that way for the past few years.

My kids are younger than yours and they all want to be dinosaurs. We're setting aside money for higher education because we can, maybe enough to cover current in-state costs, but we're pretty agnostic about how things will play out.


Thanks for passing judgement but it's never too early to start a discussion about our children's future. Especially on a site like this where we are planning 30-50 years out, starting to think about college 8-12 years out is hardly "silly" to me. There's a huge difference between kids with involved parents and parents who have checked out, yes even at the 3rd grade level. You will see what I mean when your kids get there.
Thinking about college and preparing the kid for the world are both really good things. Thinking about specific careers is what's silly. If you asked 100 random 6yo girls, probably half of them would say they wanted to be vets. Maybe--MAYBE!--one of them will be. The others will find a different path that works for them.

I have weird kids, so at 6, my oldest wanted to be a forensic pathologist. The scientist in me was thrilled! She actually became a bilingual teacher, working with immigrant children who are learning English. She is amazing at her job, is changing lives, and loves it--even though it's a really tough career choice. Will she get rich and famous? I'm guessing not--but she'll continue to have a rewarding career and be happy with her life choices. In the end, isn't that really what we want for our children--to find their path and be happy and successful?

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by il0kin » Sun May 05, 2019 7:03 am

My kids are still young, so I really don’t know yet about preparing them for college, but a piece of advice that is already paying dividends with my oldest is to teach them how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Personal growth comes from being challenged at all ages. My parents were completely hands off for some personal reasons past age 14 or so and contributed nothing to my collegiate education, which forced me to learn everything on my own. It was a hidden blessing although frustrating as a young adult. As far as I can tell by social markers, that has made me one of the most successful of my peers. I won’t take that approach with my kids as I know how difficult it was on me, but I will absolutely give them space and the ability to choose for themselves and then support them (but not too much).

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RobLyons
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Sun May 05, 2019 7:20 am

Watty wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:13 pm
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
With all that said, how did all of you decide on your careers, how did you pay for college, (college was of course much cheaper decades ago), or how are you helping your kids/grand kids with their college and career prep? How can I help them make better decisions? I have zero confidence in public school counselors.
There was a long thread last fall about how people ended up in their career.

viewtopic.php?t=264957

As I recall maybe half the people had unplanned twists and turns that lead them to where they are today.

I think that the best thing that you can do it help your kids have a strong base of the fundamentals in the proverbial "Reading, writing, and arithmetic" and an exposure to a lot of different things so they can find what they have some natural ability for.


Thanks!

I was preparing myself to receive a lot of "find a way to pay for private school" responses, but glad this isn't the case.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

Topic Author
RobLyons
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Sun May 05, 2019 7:27 am

DarthSage wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 6:41 am
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:17 am
warner25 wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:17 am
Trying to think about career decisions for 6 and 9 year-old kids just strikes me as silly. Saying that a kid at that age "has always wanted to be ____" seems even more so. Your 3rd grade son "isn't a huge fan of homework?" I don't even remember being in the 3rd grade. Did we have homework? Like you said, you didn't find your way until your late 20s, so I wouldn't expect them to figure out life much earlier. I think a lot will change over the next 10-20 years, not only with the kids but also the economy and the system of higher education.

At 6, I think I wanted to be a firefighter or policeman. At 9, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. At 13 or 14, I was hating school and not doing very well. Then I started loving school. At 15, I wanted to be in sports medicine. At 16, I wanted to be a pilot in the military, and I competed successfully for an ROTC scholarship, and I did that for a few years. But by 25, I figured out that I really wanted to be a computer scientist/programmer, which I had studied as an undergrad, and I've been tracking that way for the past few years.

My kids are younger than yours and they all want to be dinosaurs. We're setting aside money for higher education because we can, maybe enough to cover current in-state costs, but we're pretty agnostic about how things will play out.


Thanks for passing judgement but it's never too early to start a discussion about our children's future. Especially on a site like this where we are planning 30-50 years out, starting to think about college 8-12 years out is hardly "silly" to me. There's a huge difference between kids with involved parents and parents who have checked out, yes even at the 3rd grade level. You will see what I mean when your kids get there.
Thinking about college and preparing the kid for the world are both really good things. Thinking about specific careers is what's silly. If you asked 100 random 6yo girls, probably half of them would say they wanted to be vets. Maybe--MAYBE!--one of them will be. The others will find a different path that works for them.

I have weird kids, so at 6, my oldest wanted to be a forensic pathologist. The scientist in me was thrilled! She actually became a bilingual teacher, working with immigrant children who are learning English. She is amazing at her job, is changing lives, and loves it--even though it's a really tough career choice. Will she get rich and famous? I'm guessing not--but she'll continue to have a rewarding career and be happy with her life choices. In the end, isn't that really what we want for our children--to find their path and be happy and successful?


I guess I didn't communicate my point clear enough. I just want better for them than I have achieved.
Right now I'm simply looking for what others do or have done with their kids at this age and going forward.
Kids at this age are big into video games, iPads, PS4.. We allow this but limit it. I would like to continue them down the right path.
Part of me is trying to prepare for what comes next. And eventually yes I will have to have discussions with them as to what they want to do in life.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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RobLyons
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Sun May 05, 2019 7:32 am

beyou wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 1:19 pm
Having 2 kids in their early 20s now, I can say that they are less predictable than the stock market.
My only advice is to help them explore areas of interest (their interest, not yours), and get them help where they struggle as early as possible.
I see my eldest struggling in some areas that were identified in elementary school, that we assumed he would "grow out of". Not sure if we could have done much. He was academically gifted, but personally challenged. School policy and human nature is to assume shy, unhappy kids will blossom.
We (school/parents) tend to worry about test scores, and get them extra help before they "fall behind". While worried, the school and our child resisted attempts to address non-academic issues, but success in life is not just about academic and career skills. Make sure they are well rounded and don't be any more shy about getting them help with emotional issues than one would with medical or academic issues. Both kids had issues, youngest got more treatment and it helped. Sort of learned at the expense of eldest, and maybe misread his unique situation. We got so much feedback that he's so smart from the school, it was too easy to try/give up/then wish away his challenges.

Also pay attention to extremes. One kid was too busy, one too stressed and didn't take on enough activities.
Encourage the to try things beyond what is required, but not to take on too much or too little.


I can absolutely relate to this. My self being shy and not overly social has (potentially) negatively impacted my own destiny, career, earnings, etc.
Son is the same way. He's in sports but trying to change his behavior is difficult. Any tips?
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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RobLyons
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Sun May 05, 2019 7:48 am

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 2:31 pm
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
A large part of me feels it's our responsibility as parents to guide our children
Agreed!
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
and support them to achieve the best career possible.
Support how and when?

Best career possible in whose opinion? The child? The parent? Someone else?

Best in which way? Financially? Personal happiness? Something else?
RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
A lesser part thinks guidance counselors need to do their part.
IME they have. I do admit that I had to adjust my thinking a bit in realizing exactly what their part was and how their resources might be limited in expecting them to do what I initially thought they should be doing. IMO it is a little early to be criticizing a person or their career a dozen years in advance.

I edited my post because the intended message was not properly communicated. Let's forget career planning as that's obviously way to far off and I don't care what they become as long as they are happy.

We want to support them in any way possible.
Online learning systems? Exploring nature? Making them more independent? Limiting video games?
Long term thinking, future college financial support is probably my biggest concern. I've had colleagues work 2 full time jobs, killing themselves, to pay for their kids college education and I'm not willing to do this.



Current challenges are -
son is socially a little shy
but has not been challenged academically in 2 years
school isn't as responsive to students not being challenged academically
School safety - there's a student that throws tables and chairs, has threatened teachers, pushed them down, yes in 3rd grade, and their current plan is to "evacuate" all the students in the classroom. this hasn't helped and student has become more aggressive.
--> our plan has been to raise awareness with the principal. and if it continues, superintendent may need to be involved (started last year)


Just trying to stay on track and assist in any way possible!
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

staythecourse
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by staythecourse » Sun May 05, 2019 8:01 am

Interesting discussions. Of course, there is NO right answer otherwise everyone would just do that and have a successful kid. I personally don't agree with the whole let them figure it out mentality. To be as objective as possible the most successful culture in this country is asian americans. They have the HIGHEST per capita income (by a mile) AND the lowest crime rates so I think they would be a good model to emulate. The parents are SUPER involved at a very early age in pushing their kids to be the best. They don't follow this "Oh just follow Johnny's lead". Folks may or may not agree with their parenting, but there is something to be learned from their methods if you really want to the kids to the best. Those parents are ALWAYS involved on a daily basis with their kids. So be involved and STAY involved!

If you read "Tiger Mom..." it will show one way of parenting (not saying it is correct), but MORE importantly show you what many folks are doing who your kids will be competing with in the new world 20 years from now. We have toddlers at home and my wife and I are constantly wondering what types of jobs will be available going forward. With automation and how small the world has become through tech. I don't think there are many jobs that can't be outsourced or labor force reduced to cut overhead. The world is going to be VERY competitive then it has been the last 20+ years. Think about it having a college education is the NORMAL going forward vs. for many of the older posters on this board where it was not so universal on a CV. Think how many folks have their careers end premature (50-60) with the even a lower level of competition that exists today. Multiply that competition by 1000x and that is the world our kids will be competing in.

Personally, I think (as a parent as well of toddlers) there is a definite reason to worry about our kids going forward as the labor force is going to be MUCH more difficult to be "successful". I don't think the competition is slowing so taking this issue serious as a parent is a very REAL concern.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by beyou » Sun May 05, 2019 8:07 am

Dealing with other people’s kids that are disruptive is a difficult task. You need to be demanding that “something is done” but do not expect they will or can share exactly what will be done. This is confidential. But if it appears nothing is being done, you must demand some indication that there is a plan (better than evacuation). Ask to have you child moved to a different class if the problem is dangerous. If enough parents ask, they will be forced to deal with root cause of the issue.

As to shyness, no easy answers. All I can say is we tried many things with both kids, psychologists, psychiatrists, sports, gifted enrichment programs. One kid eventually found helpful treatment and headed in a good direction, though even at 20 now suggesting he get more help for residual problem affecting him. Other child pushed back eventually on theraputic efforts, but now at 23 is open to it again.

Gifted/bored issue is a matter of both finding something that will excite and motivate them, and determining if acceleration is something they are mature enough to do. Many “gifted” programs focus on acceleration, but that would have been wrong for my kid, both because he got anxiety when stressed too much, and because he was immature dealing with other kids socially. In hindsight maybe older more mature kids might have been easier to deal with for him, but most of his friends over time were immature. He ended up going to an excellent university but it was known to be very difficult (accelerated pace) and it made him very unhealthy. The anxiety for academics was not identified early enough to avoid this. Did think being around gifted kids would help him socially, and it did, except the accelerated academics ruined it for him. Still not sure what we would do over again on this kid. All I can say is get them to join social activities they like and expose them to creative and accelerated supplemental academic programs and figure out what makes them happiest/most productive.
Last edited by beyou on Sun May 05, 2019 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Harry Livermore
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Harry Livermore » Sun May 05, 2019 8:11 am

It's tough if you have a shy guy. Our oldest is a college sophomore and he's grown by leaps and bounds but still shy. Encourage him to "find his tribe" so to speak. Our son really comes out of his shell when he's with friends who share the same interests. We are confident he'll be a fully functioning adult ;)
Lots of good advice here. We are involved but not smothering. We encouraged activities, sports, music, scouting, whatever each child seemed interested in. Daughter is a junior in high school and little dude is a 7th grader. They all THINK they know what they want to do but who knows?
Save, save, save. The FAFSA and CSS are merciless. If you have been responsible, saved for your own retirement, maybe own an income producing rental property or two... then you are Moneybags. They tell you that you are full-pay, no matter how stretched you might be at that moment, or what your regional cost of living is... so the only way to overcome that is to set aside money until it hurts, so when they smile and say that they expect you to pay $74K per year, you can at least pay some or most of it.
Cheers

staythecourse
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by staythecourse » Sun May 05, 2019 9:25 am

Harry Livermore wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 8:11 am
Save, save, save. The FAFSA and CSS are merciless. If you have been responsible, saved for your own retirement, maybe own an income producing rental property or two... then you are Moneybags. They tell you that you are full-pay, no matter how stretched you might be at that moment, or what your regional cost of living is... so the only way to overcome that is to set aside money until it hurts, so when they smile and say that they expect you to pay $74K per year, you can at least pay some or most of it.
Cheers
Or just make a good example and tell your kids you can only afford x for their tuition early on. It is OKAY to tell have your kids you are not a money bank. Isn't that the point of many of the posts above? To have your kid understand what the "cost" of buying stuff is... college tuition is no different.

If you can't really afford x then just tell them. It isn't like there is great evidence that the more costlier the school increases wealth or job satisfaction or career success or career stability.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

tibbitts
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by tibbitts » Sun May 05, 2019 9:46 am

Harry Livermore wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 8:11 am
It's tough if you have a shy guy. Our oldest is a college sophomore and he's grown by leaps and bounds but still shy. Encourage him to "find his tribe" so to speak. Our son really comes out of his shell when he's with friends who share the same interests. We are confident he'll be a fully functioning adult ;)
Lots of good advice here. We are involved but not smothering. We encouraged activities, sports, music, scouting, whatever each child seemed interested in. Daughter is a junior in high school and little dude is a 7th grader. They all THINK they know what they want to do but who knows?
Save, save, save. The FAFSA and CSS are merciless. If you have been responsible, saved for your own retirement, maybe own an income producing rental property or two... then you are Moneybags. They tell you that you are full-pay, no matter how stretched you might be at that moment, or what your regional cost of living is... so the only way to overcome that is to set aside money until it hurts, so when they smile and say that they expect you to pay $74K per year, you can at least pay some or most of it.
Cheers
If you save until it hurts you'll deprive them of some experiences when they're young, so there is a tradeoff.

DarthSage
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by DarthSage » Sun May 05, 2019 11:07 am

Since you edited your post, I want to add a couple things. Most important: enrichment, enrichment, enrichment! Aim for your child's interests, but don't be afraid to stretch them. My parents didn't have very much money, but we always seemed to have museum passes and library cards.

A little story--I mentioned my "weird" daughter, who wanted to be a forensic pathologist when she was little. Obviously, we exposed her to a lot of science. But--here's the other thing: she was always really good with language, and was reading well before kindergarten. We were concerned about her reading too much above grade level--she could comprehend well above her age, and that's not always a good thing. For example, try explaining abortion to your 4yo because she read a protester's sign. So, we looked for ways to expand her language skills, without just pushing her to read harder books. As a result, we put her in German lessons, starting at age 5. (We chose German because her German grandmother wanted to take her to visit the Old Country).

Well, she's now 23, and probably could speak three words of German. She switched to Spanish, never looked back, and, as I mentioned, is teaching English to immigrant children from around the world. She spent a semester in Ecuador, and loves to travel around the world. She is completely comfortable speaking English or Spanish anywhere. We were in Italy a couple summers ago, and she had a 15-minute conversation with a Syrian immigrant who was selling sunglasses--he spoke Italian, she spoke Spanish, they understood each other. I sat in awe! (I speak neither Italian nor Spanish).

My point is, you just don't know what little thing that you do is going to spark a life-long passion. Our goal was always "lifetime love of learning".

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Harry Livermore
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Harry Livermore » Sun May 05, 2019 7:40 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:46 am
Harry Livermore wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 8:11 am
It's tough if you have a shy guy. Our oldest is a college sophomore and he's grown by leaps and bounds but still shy. Encourage him to "find his tribe" so to speak. Our son really comes out of his shell when he's with friends who share the same interests. We are confident he'll be a fully functioning adult ;)
Lots of good advice here. We are involved but not smothering. We encouraged activities, sports, music, scouting, whatever each child seemed interested in. Daughter is a junior in high school and little dude is a 7th grader. They all THINK they know what they want to do but who knows?
Save, save, save. The FAFSA and CSS are merciless. If you have been responsible, saved for your own retirement, maybe own an income producing rental property or two... then you are Moneybags. They tell you that you are full-pay, no matter how stretched you might be at that moment, or what your regional cost of living is... so the only way to overcome that is to set aside money until it hurts, so when they smile and say that they expect you to pay $74K per year, you can at least pay some or most of it.
Cheers
If you save until it hurts you'll deprive them of some experiences when they're young, so there is a tradeoff.
Agreed, but that's the tradeoff, isn't it? Our kids have done summer camps, Disney trips, a trip to the UK, music adjudication trips with the high school choir. We have a summer place on the ocean that we go to every year. They have had music lessons and various rec sports. We've probably deprived them of some experiences, but having 4 years of state school money in the bank for each by the time they graduate high school is worth whatever we've shorted them, IMHO.
When I say "save till it hurts" I mean it in the classic frugality theme. We drive used cars. Our house is a 1959 colonial with the original siding and windows. I mow my own lawn. I try to do every home repair that I can. All the money that normal middle-class people throw at those items, I throw at savings. It hurts. Sometimes I wish I would treat myself to a fancy car (on paper I can certainly afford it) and raking my own leaves for 6 hours on an autumn Saturday is no fun. My back hurts afterwards. That's all. Not to raise my kids in a sterile environment.
I probably should have been clearer in my original post, apologies.
Cheers

likegarden
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by likegarden » Mon May 06, 2019 6:48 am

Wife and I are retired. We have house paid off, have IRAs and other savings at V. Grandson sees that I and son are engineers and have decent income and safe jobs. Wife was a public school teacher. Grandson sees that we all are doing fine and decides to also get a STEM education and works hard in high school in the high honors group. He likes to be with his buddies doing robotics. So far everything goes fine, in 3 1/2 years he will be in college, and will not be part of the party going group there.

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RobLyons
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by RobLyons » Mon May 06, 2019 7:39 am

Harry Livermore wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 7:40 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:46 am
Harry Livermore wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 8:11 am
It's tough if you have a shy guy. Our oldest is a college sophomore and he's grown by leaps and bounds but still shy. Encourage him to "find his tribe" so to speak. Our son really comes out of his shell when he's with friends who share the same interests. We are confident he'll be a fully functioning adult ;)
Lots of good advice here. We are involved but not smothering. We encouraged activities, sports, music, scouting, whatever each child seemed interested in. Daughter is a junior in high school and little dude is a 7th grader. They all THINK they know what they want to do but who knows?
Save, save, save. The FAFSA and CSS are merciless. If you have been responsible, saved for your own retirement, maybe own an income producing rental property or two... then you are Moneybags. They tell you that you are full-pay, no matter how stretched you might be at that moment, or what your regional cost of living is... so the only way to overcome that is to set aside money until it hurts, so when they smile and say that they expect you to pay $74K per year, you can at least pay some or most of it.
Cheers
If you save until it hurts you'll deprive them of some experiences when they're young, so there is a tradeoff.
Agreed, but that's the tradeoff, isn't it? Our kids have done summer camps, Disney trips, a trip to the UK, music adjudication trips with the high school choir. We have a summer place on the ocean that we go to every year. They have had music lessons and various rec sports. We've probably deprived them of some experiences, but having 4 years of state school money in the bank for each by the time they graduate high school is worth whatever we've shorted them, IMHO.
When I say "save till it hurts" I mean it in the classic frugality theme. We drive used cars. Our house is a 1959 colonial with the original siding and windows. I mow my own lawn. I try to do every home repair that I can. All the money that normal middle-class people throw at those items, I throw at savings. It hurts. Sometimes I wish I would treat myself to a fancy car (on paper I can certainly afford it) and raking my own leaves for 6 hours on an autumn Saturday is no fun. My back hurts afterwards. That's all. Not to raise my kids in a sterile environment.
I probably should have been clearer in my original post, apologies.
Cheers


Thank you for clarifying that. My own concern this year is spending more time with them vs working 50-60hrs this summer and poof it's gone like I've had to do the past 7-8.
We can't afford Disney, UK trips, a 2nd home, but I see how you've been frugal in other ways and maybe ways I could improve my own habits (newer cars I justified, repairs that could be put off, etc)

This summer I'm planning a lot of quality time together. Exploration on the low cost (car trips, local beaches and a couple over nights vs flights and resorts). The memories we make now will last a life time. Thanks again for the input.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

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Harry Livermore
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by Harry Livermore » Mon May 06, 2019 4:20 pm

Rob,
We have, of course, also done tons of "staycations" and inexpensive car-based vacations. It's a balancing act for sure. And I don't mean to imply that I'm some sort of Superdad. My wife is the waaaay better parent, with more maturity, smarts, and instincts than I. But we have given the kids a lot I think, fun and rewarding activities, opportunity at school and extracurriculars, and still managed to sock away a pretty good kitty for college.
I was really replying to tidbitts, and after reading my reply I probably come off as aggressive, so my apologies to you and tidbitts. And I realize that I dragged the thread off-topic.
Your initial post where you describe your family:
Quick background
Involved parents (mom volunteers at school, dad is coach, etc)
Public schools (can't afford private)
Kids in social / sport activities
Screen time could be better limited at this point
Kids have excellent manners, respectful
Son is somewhat shy like dad
Daughter outgoing
Might as well be a description of my family, except we also have a third (son) child. In my opinion, you are probably doing great for your kids. The fact that you're on this forum asking such questions already indicates that you go above and beyond. Bottom line, never stop teaching them life lessons, taking them to museums, music festivals, historic sites, and the like. They will evolve and impress you!
I liken parenting to baking... but in a twisted way. When I was younger I read soooo many books on parenting, and had myself convinced that it was like baking a cake... 3 cups of love, a cup of wisdom, a cup of sports, a dash of life lessons, and I'd open the oven and get a cake. Instead, despite carefully measuring the ingredients, I have opened the oven and gotten a meatloaf, brownies, and a tuna casserole! And they are way better than the cake I thought I was baking. Parenting is humbling.
Cheers

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fortfun
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by fortfun » Mon May 06, 2019 5:16 pm

I'm not sure if it will do any good but I'm trying to show my kids as much of the world as I can, on a shoe string budget. We spend our extra money on experiences, we buy very little "stuff." So far, I've taken my kids to 30 National Parks, all roads trips and car camping. Last summer, we did a low budget Europe trip that was largely financed with credit card bonus points. It seems to be having a positive impact on them. The confidence my son gained backpacking the Grand Canyon and climbing Half Dome is huge. I encourage them to get involved in school activities like robotics, science olympiad, math counts, band, etc. My daughter is very creative and we support her by providing the art supplies that she needs to complete her projects. They do have chores at home and we encourage them to pet sit for the neighbors, etc. I do wish we could find some good volunteer activities for them but many seem to have age restrictions. As for money, they see me and DW spend our money very frugally. They understand that we are lucky to do the traveling that we've done. Hopefully, all of this pays off but we won't know for another 10+ years. My hope is to pay for about 75% of state college. We've managed to put away about 60% so far in 529s. Parenting is a tough job. Good luck to you!
Last edited by fortfun on Mon May 06, 2019 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

protagonist
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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by protagonist » Mon May 06, 2019 5:20 pm

RobLyons wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:55 am
How can I help them make better decisions?
By doing less talking at them and more listening to them.
(Obviously I mean this for any parent, not directed at you specifically.....)

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Re: College/life prep for young kids

Post by mighty72 » Mon May 06, 2019 5:37 pm

[not finance related, moved to Personal Consumer Issues]

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