We feed our children, love them and keep them safe from harm. Then they grow up and leave our protective wing, and we wonder – did I teach him everything he needs to know? Will she remember the example I set? Part of parenting is helping your children become self-sufficient. Before your teen leaves home, make sure he or she know these basic life skills:
Problem solving skills are woefully absent in many teens’ arsenal of life skills. The severity of teen problems may seem small compared to our own, but in their world of self-conscious social media, perceived troubles can loom large enough to have catastrophic outcomes. In the wake of school-related problems, money crunches and online social attacks, your teen should be able to negotiate win-win solutions with professors, college bursars and disavowed friends. You could suggest reading material about arbitration tactics or even sit down with them in a few mock arbitration exercises.
Advocate on Their Own Behalf
If your teen learns this skill, they will be miles ahead in the game of life. Advocating on their own behalf means speaking up for themselves when challenged or questioned and being able to defend their beliefs and decisions in a calm, practical manner. It requires self-knowledge, patience and the ability to verbalize their own strengths without feeling boastful. This skill comes into play when your teen is applying for jobs, college admission and in any instances where they are being judged, fairly or unfairly. You don’t want your teen to be like a reed in the water, wavering to and fro depending how the wind is blowing. Help them grow into strong, solid adults.
Be a Lifesaver
Encourage your teen to participate in lifesaver courses, including helping a choking or drowning victim. These courses vary in cost and are held in most communities. Make sure your teen can also help themselves in emergency situations by enrolling them in swimming classes and self-defense courses. They don’t have to become black belts. Even novice Karate students learn basic moves that equip them with lifelong survival moves.
No parent would hand over the family credit card to a child in a toy store. But that’s essentially what you’re doing if you send your teen to college with a spending account and no knowledge of basic finance. Teach your teen to budget money early on, before their mistakes count against them on their credit report. They won’t learn how to budget money through osmosis. Money Magazine reports that 24 percent of teens think a debit card is a card used to borrow money. You need to have deliberate conversations with them about banking terms, taxes and cash flow.
Clean a House
Remember all those times when you lovingly cleaned your teenager’s messy room for them? That was a mistake. Now they’re going to be leaving the comfort of your full-service hotel house with no idea how to clean a house. Stop the madness. Introduce your teen to the vacuum cleaner and all its amazing attachments, including the strange fuzzy one meant to clean the window treatments. Let them find out for themselves how a little bit of elbow grease transforms the kitchen appliances into a gleaming sea of reflection. Now they’re ready to leave the nest.
Ask for Help
Sometimes teens are so anxious to prove how capable they are that they don’t realize it’s OK to ask for help. As your teen prepares for college, speak with them about the new challenges they will encounter. Share your own personal experiences. You may have felt overwhelmed in the beginning. Let them know that if this happens to them, the smartest thing to do is to seek assistance before they get in too deep.
This is a guest post from Anne Greene. Anne left the insurance industry to pursue a career in writing, When she’s not working on her novel, she is freelancing or traveling with her husband and kids.