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8 Life Skills Your Teen Needs to Be Independent 

By Life, Family Fun Team


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After many years of pouring your love and knowledge into your teen, they will soon grow into an adult. You’ve taken them to sports games, amusement parks, and have taught them the importance of achieving academic success. While all of these things are essential to their development, you may have forgotten about a few life skills. Take a look at some life skills that are necessary for your teen to learn and see if you can check them off of your parenting list before they flee the nest!

Life Skills Your Teen Needs to Be Independent 

1. Work Skills

Assuming that your teen has inherited work skills because they’ve seen you go to work every day or because they learn what careers are possible through an aptitude test, is probably the biggest mistake you’ll make. The obligations of being in the workforce are drastically greater than in high school. Teach your teen how to complete a job application, how to prepare and perform for an interview, and how to follow their supervisor’s directions!

All of these work skills can be taught by delegating household chores or by attaining a summer job. If your teen has the opportunity to have a part-time job during the year, they will learn the importance of time management as an added bonus.

2. Transportation Skills

You may have heard someone say, “Driving is as easy as riding a bike!” Is it really? Riding a bike and learning to drive both require you to learn patience, control, and awareness. Although you may have preached these skills, it’s more beneficial to teach your teen how they can apply them to their eventual transportation needs.

Teach your teen how to navigate through traffic, how to drive defensively, and how to use the road signs and GPS! If your teen isn’t in need of a car, make sure they learn how to strengthen their sense of direction and how to use public transportation safely.

Take the opportunity to teach your teen essential know-hows about how to tell their whereabouts and ask for directions if you are on a family vacation out of state or out of the country.

Portrait of self-confident teenage girl with bun hairstyle in casual clothes raising hands showing power, feeling independent strong with proud look. indoor studio shot isolated on pink background

3. Goal-Setting Skills

Your teen needs goal-setting skills to learn to manage their aspirations in life. If your teen wants to lead a healthier life, teach them how to meal prep and how to set a schedule for a workout routine.

Although your teen may not be working, they can learn essential skills to work their way into a career they love. Have them volunteer or take leadership positions with organizations at school or in the community. This will help them learn problem-solving skills as well as other “on-the-job” skills like teamwork and specific position description duties.

When your teen establishes a goal, you can discuss the steps needed to reach that goal. They will become more motivated and can visibly track their milestones.

4. Emotion Regulation Skills

Your teen may have mastered academic skills, but don’t forget to teach them how to regulate their emotions. If your teen cannot control their temper, it’ll become a hindrance to any goal they try to achieve. If they have anxiety, help them find ways to cope and work through that anxiety so that they learn how to act in uncomfortable situations.

Teaching your teen how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way will result in an ultimate gain of confidence and even a sense of accomplishment.

5. The Ability to Deal With Emergencies

Emergency situations often leave you with little time to think about a reaction. It’s essential for parents to teach teens how to act in different situations while at home.

Natural disasters, break-ins, or medical emergencies are only a few cases that will need to be taught to your teen. Think about the location your family lives in and your everyday routine. You’ll be able to teach your teen how to manage situations in the case that routines are abruptly disturbed or if relocation is needed.

6. Basic Household Management

Household chores are essential to developing your teen’s life skills. They’ll need basic household management skills in order to know how to take care of themselves when they flee the nest or if they are responsible for caring for a family member.

Your teen will need to know how to organize and clean their dorm room or any home they rent in the future. They will also learn how to manage their meals or who to call if they need professional assistance.

Lastly, teach your teen how to do their own laundry and how to sanitize the bathroom. These skills can lead to future job opportunities as well as help them operate in an office environment or shared space.

7. Financial Skills

The most important skill, other than hygiene management, is teaching your teen how to handle money. Teach your teen how to balance their bank account spending, whether you use apps or a checkbook. Your teen will learn how to manage their spending, analyze their habits, and the importance of investing their money.

Learning these essential financial skills will help your teen in the long run. Teach them the pros and cons of having credit as well as the risks involved so that they can establish a plan for managing debt. When these financial skills are learned early, your teen’s quality of life will be significantly greater in the future.

8. Filling out their paperwork

If you are filling out paperwork for your teen, stop. Your teen needs to learn these administrative skills so that they will not feel overwhelmed when they are obligated to fill out forms on their own.

Have your teen fill out their own paperwork at the beginning of the school year or learn how to fill out financial aid applications to the best of their ability. They will learn how necessary it is to pay attention to detail as well as what information they need to know about themselves in different instances. Have them fill it out and place it on a designated counter or desk, then review the information and sign it. Place it back in the same place and assign them the responsibility of turning in their paperwork.

These 8 life skills will teach your teen to hold themselves accountable. It will also teach them how not to be so co-dependent on you or other adult family members. You are raising them to be independent adults who can take care of themselves, and eventually take care of someone else.

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