5 Things Every Teen Should Know
As parents it’s our duty to take care of our children but it can become too much of a good thing when we end up raising children who know nothing of the real world because we’ve done everything for them. We then end up raising helpless adults who view the world as a place that owes them and ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense! I’m going to give you my top five things every teen should know so that they can become wonderful adults. Of course there are more than 5 things your teen should know before you launch them into the world, but I’d like to give you my top 5 to get you started.
Hopefully, you’ve already taught some if not all of these. If not, then get going because before you know it, they’ll be out the door and you’ll be praying that they don’t become homeless due to poor money management and the inability to speak up for themselves.
- Advocate for themselves. This is a skill that should begin as soon as possible as it is a skill that they will need in every aspect of their life from dealing with teachers to dealing with a car salesman. Practice makes perfect with this skill. Give your child opportunities to advocate, to speak up, to make their presence known. Allow them to practice negotiating on different issues or persuading you of their opinion. Teach them how to ask for help or advice. Practice wording and confidence. Making eye contact. Speaking clearly. Standing or sitting tall. Have them order in restaurants, talk to salespeople, ask for directions.
- Do laundry. A child is never too young to help with laundry. Even young children can sort colors and learn to fold washcloths. The older they get, the more they can do: folding clothes, putting clothes away, sorting whites from darks. Tweens can be taught to work the washing machine and dryer. By the time they’re teens, they should be doing their own laundry. Trust me on this. Take a break. Make this one of their chores. Your back will thank you!
- Cook at least 3 meals. Your child will never starve as long as they know how to cook a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner. Hopefully, they will take it beyond three meals, but it’s up to them. You can only do so much and then you need to let them fly. Cooking three meals entails knowing how to work an oven, stove, and refrigerator. Now, I know most tweens will take life skills school, but you should be reinforcing this knowledge. This requires you to take a step back and allow them to cook for you and the family. Make it a requirement. Get them interested in trying different recipes. Google different recipes online. Check out pinterest. Who knows, you may have a budding chef on your hands. At least you’ll know that when they’re finally independent they won’t wither away and die for lack of food or have to order out every moment of their lives.
- Basic money skills. This is a biggy! Basic money skill is not something that is taught in school. Sure, they may learn how to count money, but they won’t learn how to write a check, manage and pay bills, apply for and use a credit card wisely, balance a checkbook, or use an ATM machine. Parents, this is your responsibility. Start early by giving them an allowance that they need to manage. Teach them the value in saving for something they want by putting aside a percentage each week. Open a savings account and let them see it grow. Show them bills and how you write a check or pay online. Emphasize the importance of paying bills on time and paying down debt. Do you have a budget? Create a fantasy budget for them and have them buy and pay for things. Have them watch or help you decide which buttons to push at an ATM machine. Explain credit cards and the need to not overspend and paying off debt each month so they don’t accrue interest. All of these little things can become ingrained so that when they are out on their own, they aren’t overwhelmed by debt and mismanagement of money.
- Trust their instincts. Teach your child to never disregard their instincts. Instincts are our first line of defense against a situation or person that we need to be extra aware of. It’s our body’s way of telling us to be on guard. This is a skill that many adults don’t trust and one that needs to be practiced. Have them check in with their body when they meet new people or are in unfamiliar situations. Are they comfortable? Do they feel uneasy? Is there a little voice in their head saying anything? A gut instinct will come out of nowhere very quickly so they need to be aware. If something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Tell them to heed that feeling and be cautious. They may need to leave. They may need to seperate themselves from someone. They may need to NOT take that job or meet that person regardless of what others are saying. This is where the advocating comes in as they will be able to stand in their convictions with confidence.
Ultimately, we want our children to be able to navigate life with strength, compassion, confidence and joy. Adulthood is difficult enough without the added pressure of having to learn on the fly. Can we stop doing everything for our children so that when they are adults, we can be confident that they can manage their lives with ease? Can we love them enough to let them fail, and learn, and fly?If you’re needing assistance with finding tranquility or want to get unstuck, schedule a SOULutions Discovery session today!