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What Valuable Life Skills Are You Teaching Your Teen?

As parents, we are supposed to help our children prepare for adult life. We hope that by
the time our grown-up children leave home, they should be able to take care of themselves and their family not to mention have a positive impact on the world.

Sad to say there are a lot of children - grown-up children - that never leave home even if they already have their own spouse and children. They continue to depend on their parents even for their daily sustenance. Why?

I understand that there are too many factors to consider why this happens. But I believe one reason is the children are not taught enough. I'm not just talking about having good school education (although this is very important). I'm talking about having life skills.

Do you teach your children how to clean, do laundry and cook? Are they able to manage their time and allowance wisely? Do they know how to be around other people, talk and make friends? These are life skills that they need in order to survive in the real world.

Here's a checklist of life skills that we need to model to or teach our children. Our teens especially need to learn these because they will soon be exploring the world on their own.

Practical Life Skills:

1. Manage time. Do they know how to establish their priorities and deal with distractions? We need to show them how to use a calendar/planner and a to-do list.

2. Study efficiently. Even if children won't stay in school forever, they will be learning continuously. Encourage the love of reading. Show them how to recognize key concepts and analyze things. I think that if they could design their own self-tests/reviewers, they are able to learn more efficiently.

3. Stick to a budget. The financial stability of our children will depend on the choices they make today. Will how fall into debt or not? Let's give them a head start on developing financial responsibility by assigning them tasks like managing their allowance.

4. Eat well. Healthy eating habits start early too. Stress the importance of eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods. Teaching them how to prepare and cook healthy foods is great, too.

5. Clean up. Kids who grow up doing chores will be more likely to take care of their first apartment and personal possessions. Teach them how to vacuum, dust, and do their laundry.

6. Stay safe. We cannot be with our children all the time, so we'd better talk to them about protecting themselves online and offline. Provide common-sense warnings and share what they need to do to stay safe.

7. Handle emergencies. Does your teen know what to do if they experience a street accident or there's a severe storm in the forecast? Rehearse how to respond to common emergencies.

Social and Psychological Life Skills:

1. Clarify core values. The values your teen chooses will guide their behavior. Will they be kind and gentle? Can they handle their anger? Are they willing to help? Are they respectful? Start in pointing them to the right direction of developing good core values while they are young. Most likely, children will get the core values they see from their parents.

2. Give generously. Your teen is more likely to succeed if they help others to do the same. Encourage them to share their resources and volunteer their services.

3. Act mindfully. Mobile devices seem to be shortening the average attention span. If you want your teen to understand the power of mindfulness, you'll need to teach by example. Give them your full attention when they're talking, and turn the TV off unless you're watching a specific program.

4. Deal with stress. Developing mindfulness will help protect your teen from depression and anxiety. They could also learn to relax by exercising or working on a hobby.

5. Master phone etiquette. Though teens spend much of their waking life using their phones, it doesn't necessarily meant they can communicate effectively. Train them to identify themselves and speak clearly. Rehearse making or answering phone calls.

6. Talk face-to-face. Teens today are more comfortable communicating through chat or SMS messages than having a conversation in person. Eat family dinners together where they can practice talking with family members.

7. Cultivate relationships. Supportive relationships are vital to health and wellbeing. Encourage your children even at a young age to make friends and network.

8. Be assertive. Help your child to develop healthy self-esteem and advocate for themselves. Let them begin by sharing their wants and needs with you. Then encourage them to do the same in other situations. This will bring them closer to fulfilling their goals.

This list are some of the life skills that are really important. Want to add more? Please share in the comments.

My husband and I still have a long way to go in preparing our 5 children for grown-up life. Every summer vacation, I take the opportunity to focus on teaching them a life skill they still need to develop. I pray that we can make the upcoming summer vacation really productive.

"Protect your children when they're young, and then gradually give them more responsibility so they can acquire the skills they need to live independently."


Janice said…
I definitely agree with this list. I think it's never too early to teach our kids valuable life skills. That's what we're here for as parents.
Michi said…
I agree with your list, though I don't have a teen yet I'm teaching my son as early as now so he will know these life skills.

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