The Real Cost of Not Investing in Your Child’s Education Today

HALF of Australia’s Generation Ys (age between 17 and 37) are borrowing money from their parents after they turn 18 according to a recent research by Canstar. And this money isn’t just for down payments on a house or car; it’s also going to groceries, rent and gas.

Social and financial experts are warning both parents and adult children that this can lead to financial dependence. If the situation isn’t addressed, it’s only going to get worse as the children get older.

Steve Mickenbecker with Canstar’s group executive financial services said that research shows children are unable to invest in their future with parents incessantly giving them money. He also said adult children still relying on their parents to “feed and take care of them” exhibit signs of “extended adolescence.”

The problem is that they haven’t developed the skills, confidence and self-reliance to create their own lifestyle.

Clearly, the results of this research are quite alarming.

There are some people who say the rising cost of higher education, house prices and living costs are to blame; others feel it’s the parents’ fault for not allowing their children to become financially independent.

Instead of pointing fingers at anyone or anything, I’d rather look at what parents can do to ensure their children will be in a better financial situation when they reach adulthood.

The Exponential Unknowable Future

We live in a fast-changing and unpredictable world. You cannot know what kind of future your child is going to have. Maybe 100 years ago parents could have a good idea of what kind of future their children would have. Not anymore!

Today, with the speed the world is changing, you cannot tell your child what their future is going to be like 10 or 20 years from now. You cannot know what your child’s dangers and opportunities are going to be. So, the important question is:

“How can we prepare our children for a world that does not exist yet?”

There is no easy answer to this question. However, we have good predictions of what kind of skills children need to develop now in order to have a better chance of success in the future. And we do know that they’re not developing those skills in the current education system.

Having kids is hard work. Let’s accept that. But, it’s also the most important work you’ll ever do in your life. And you need to be just as strategic with your children as you are with any work you do.

When it comes to parenting, we want to think ahead. So, I want you to ask yourself this question:

"Who do I want my son/daughter to be at the age of 18?"

I know that might seem like a long time for some of you, but the idea is to start with the end in mind and plant some seeds. Parenting is much like gardening. You plant seeds, you nurture those seeds, you look after them and, before you know it, those seeds have flourished into beautiful flowers.

Now, “who do you want your child to be when he/she is 18”?

When I ask parents this question, the most common answer is “happy”, “healthy”, and “successful”.

Isn’t that what we all want for our children? We want them to be happy, healthy and successful. However, I challenge you to go beyond those words and get some clarity around what they mean to you and what they mean to your child.

I want to invite you to picture your child when he or she is 18, 20 or 30 years old. What do you see?

  • What is 'happy' like? Is it "can't complain" or it's "living my dream life"?
  • What is 'healthy' like?
  • What is 'successful' like?

The reality is that your child can be so much more than you ever thought possible. And, it’s why I want you to be very strategic about the opportunities your child might be missing out on.

The Skills of The Future

According to a report published by the World Economic Forum, there are three important skills today’s children need in order to be successful:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity
  • Complex Problem Solving

By one popular estimate, 65% of children in primary school currently will ultimately work in new job types and functions that do not yet exist. Let’s goes back to the question I asked earlier:

“How can we prepare our children for a world that does not exist yet?”

3 Strategies You Can Use Today to Help Your Child Develop the Skills for the Future

1. Don’t Rely on School

Many of the parents I talk to know very little about what’s going on at their children’s school. They’re not to blame though. We have an ineffective education system that doesn’t involve or inform parents about their children’s progress.

It is sad, but true; most schools and classroom teachers do not have the skills, resources and time allowance to help children develop the important skills they need to success in today’s and tomorrow’s world.

Relying on the school in the hope that something will change is a mistake you should avoid making.

I have put together a free Parent’s Guide that I am sharing with parents, so they better understand what’s really going on in the Australian school systems and why they need to be concerned about their children’s education. It’s based on my experience over the last 10 years as a teacher, maths education specialist and parent advocate.

You can download this free guide by clicking here or calling 1300 1000 11.

2. Help your Child To Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is one of the most important skills a child of the 21st century is going to need. It doesn’t matter if they become an engineer or artist; if they want to work for a company or start their own company, they’re going to need this skill to be successful.

At Maths Mastery Education, we don’t just teach our students mathematical concepts. We teach them how to think critically, how to analyse situations and how to make decisive choices. We teach them how to ask the right questions.

Whether you get professionals to assist your child in developing their critical thinking skills or you take on the task yourself, this will be one of the most important things you can do for your child.

3. Provide Opportunities for Your Child to Identify and Solve Problems

We all know that problem-solving is a critical skill everybody should develop and have. It’s the problem-solving process that helps children to develop executive function skills – the ability to plan and organise, attain and use the information to make decisions and rationally analyse and solve problems.

One would assume children get lots of these problem-solving opportunities at school. However, that’s not the case. And, here’s why:

There is a difference between ‘doing exercises’ and ‘solving problems’. An ‘exercise’ is what you know how to solve (by watching the teacher do it, practicing and memorising the steps). A ‘problem’ is what you don’t know how to solve. You need to use your curiosity, creativity, innovation and prior knowledge to solve a ‘problem’.

Unfortunately, classroom teachers and school textbooks focus primarily on ‘doing exercises’, not learning how to find and solve ‘problems’.

In fact, the majority of students have never been exposed to an organised approach to solving problems.

At Maths Mastery Education, we believe that problem solving in itself is a life skill that needs to be taught. We make a special effort to help our students master a simple four-step method to Creative Problem Solving. These are the strategies Mathematical Olympiads students are taught, and we believe every student can learn them as well.

If you find it challenging to teach your child these problem-solving skills, you are not alone. Most of us did not learn effective problem-solving techniques at school. Believe it or not, many teachers don’t learn them in their teaching training.

There you have it – the three strategies that can help your child to develop the skills they’ll need in the future. As the parent, you are and should always be in charge of your child’s education. All the seeds you plant today will help your child to become a happy, healthy, successful and, most of all, independent person you envisioned them to be.

The fact that you’ve taken time to read this article means that you are the type of parent who wants to be informed about your child’s education. I’d like to invite you to click here to download a copy of my Parent’s Guide. In this guide, I explain the reasons Australian children are missing on important skills they need to develop to thrive in the 21st century. This Guide is free; you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

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