More and more, teens are graduating from high school and moving into their next phase of life ill prepared to handle some very basic tasks. It appears that as parents have put the emphasis on other areas of growth or development (academics and extracurricular activities) some key fundamental skills have been overlooked.
Your teen should be able to do at least these 10 things for themselves:
Wake themselves up on time
This is a simple task, and something that should be started as early as 6th grade. (Sooner even for willing and able children.) Preferably with an alarm that is not their phone. Having their phone nearby at bed time only presents temptations to pop back on their device when they should be preparing for restful sleep.
Manage their own homework
As hard as it may be for some parents to let go and stop monitoring the online portal systems many schools use now, you must. Certainly, you can occasionally check in on progress and grades. However, your teen should be responsible for their own work. If something is missing or clarity is needed, this is a great opportunity to allow your teen to resolve the issue on their own.
Do their own laundry
Whether your teen is going off to college in the future or not, this is something that they should be doing for themselves. They need to know how to properly sort clothing, how to operate a washing machine and a dryer, and how to fold and put away clothing. These are simple tasks, some of which many college freshmen have never done. Start now.
Make a meal
Teaching your teenager to make a meal, helps them to practice basic self-care skills and also allows them to see what all goes into preparing food for themselves and others. Encourage your teen to find one thing they like to eat (that isn’t fast food) and find a recipe to cook it themselves.
Social Skills- Basic Introductions
Does your teen know how to introduce themselves to others properly? Or better yet, how to introduce new people to each other. Social skills are paramount today, starting with the basics early will help your teen become more comfortable in social situations. Additionally, according to new research published in Review of Economics and Statistics, your social skills may be just as important as intelligence when it comes to achieving success.
Having your child be responsible for household chore(s) allows them to participate to the overall wellbeing of your home. It fosters responsibility and encourages self-confidence. Chores are a great tool to use for personal growth as early as 7 years of age.
Have their own bank account
Your teenager should have their own bank account. Whether earning money from chores, odd jobs, or a part time job, earnings should be deposited into their account, and they should be encouraged to manage those funds. Having your teenager be responsible for a “bill” is a great way to teach successful money management habits. The bill could be their spending money, gas money, cell phone bill or other types of bills that could be handled by a young adult. (Which is what we are encouraging them to be during these years.)
How to use public transportation
Your teen may be driving themselves to and from school and events, or you may still be doing this for them. However, they should know how to utilize public transportation. This could be as simple as having them plan a trip to grab a bite to eat or go to the movies. Having them research route schedules, costs, and plan their time accordingly, further encourages budgeting, both with finances and their time.
Manage their own time
One of the consequences of helicopter parenting, is that teens have no idea how to manage their own time. They’re used to being told where to be and when to be there.
Something that won’t (or shouldn’t) follow them once they leave home. Teens will need practice in managing multiple commitments and their time. They should know how long it will take to get to and from school or an event. They should know how to manage multiple deadlines such as completing a school assignment the same week they have after school practices or other commitments.
How to handle an emergency
Your teen should be equipped to handle an emergency. We recommend having a sequence of “what to do” tasks especially if your teen is driving. They should know exactly what to do in they have been in an accident, step by step. For example: who to contact (911 if they or someone else have been injured) how to reach a parent, insurance company etc.
We encourage you to use and share our cheatsheet for skill sets your teen should know
Pace Counseling Group is a professional counseling firm located in San Antonio, Texas. We are focused on continuously improving the quality of life for our clients and their families. We are currently accepting new clients with no wait list. We accept insurance and have evening and weekend availability. Make your first appointment online by clicking here.
To learn more, visit us at Pace Counseling Group or call (210) 481-3727.