Everyone knows something worth sharing and teaching. If you can pass that something to your kid you will always feel connected. My dad taught me EVERYTHING! How to sew, sail, sing, joke and work with wood but the most important thing he taught me was that I could learn to do anything if I put my mind to it; and, the confidence to try. One goal I have as a parent is to give my kids the same confidence and fearlessness to be curious and motivated to try anything as my dad gave me.
My son has live chickens and turkeys, I still don’t know why and for some reason I’ve never really questioned it. We hatched a plan to build a double-decker coop. Turkeys on the bottom and chickens on top, just the way nature intended them to be. The bottom level looks like the leaning tower of Poultry but the second level is eggsactly straight and elegant. Now every time we look at it we can see the progress he made as he learned how to build properly. That structure was a real feather in his cap and he’ll remember us building it together for the nest of his life.
Whatever your thing is that you can teach your teen, make sure to present it as a project that ends with something your teen wants. Let’s take woodworking for example, a “DO NOT ENTER” sign for their room would be something that will pique their interest. You can also easily construct unique shelving that looks super complicated or a custom desk.
Pro Tip: Make sure your teen has their own tools for whatever the project is. Having their own tape measure, gardening hoe or even scissors will give them a stronger sense of ownership over the project and those tools will be significant to them as their “first” and as the ones you gave them.
Design it together, figuring out the decorative elements and custom features. Compile the supply list and make sure you have all the necessary tools.
It all sounds magical, right? Here’s the hard part, guide them but let them feel like it’s their project. Making mistakes is part of the learning process (remember the chicken coop!).
Home improvement is always going to be something that your teen can benefit from learning. Giving them free reign to design their room the way they want opens many doors and allows you to teach them skills and share know-how they’ll need as they enter adulthood and have their own home to care for. Whether it is how to tape off a room before you paint, maximizing space with clever furniture design or how to find a stud in the wall, they’ll never forget how you helped them become independent.