These 10 critical life skills for teens represent everything you are responsible for teaching your kids. Your teen needs these skills before they leave home. There is no order of importance, but some will carry more weight than others. You and your teen decide which ones are most important to work on now. Don’t hesitate. Begin these lessons to your household today and remember; practice makes perfect.
- Manage their Moods Teenagers are all over the place when it comes to emotions. One minute they are jumping for joy (literally) and the next moment they are crushed and the world is caving in on them. Many people tell you this is just the way it is with teenagers until they become adults. Not true. Don’t buy into the myth that teenagers cannot control their feelings. They do manage their feelings, just not very well. They need help and understand from you. Where do these feelings come from? What do they mean? What do I do with them? Teens ask these questions, but they get no answers. The teen years can be volatile, but that does not need to be true for your teen. Learn relaxation skills together. Take a meditation, yoga or Qi Gong class. Mood management skills can get them through the difficult times that lay ahead.
- Do Laundry and Clean This a no-brainer. Your teen needs clean clothes…eventually and when that moment comes you want them to feel confident they can to do their laundry. Most teens can’t go to the mall and buy a new outfit every time they run out of clean clothes AND you will not be there all of their lives. Help your teen to be particular about the work they do, no matter what the chore is; cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floor or washing the windows. Teach them to take good care of their home, no matter where it is. This can save them years of ridicule from their friends.
- Cook 10 Different Meals Most young people cannot afford to eat at restaurants every night and besides the giant portions and high fat content of most restaurant food would end up on their body. Teach your teen how to cook and make them responsible for for cooking 1-2 family meals every week. This accomplishes four things that are good for them. a) They learn how to cook! Yeah! They can feed themselves! b) They learn how to cook for others which is a wonderful gift. c) Their friends will love them. d) Cooking is a creative activity which is good for their expanding brain capacity.
- Get to School and Work on Time This is a must do. Your teen MUST be able to wake themselves up and get ready for school, no matter what time they went to bed. DO NOT wake them up! This is their job and it is never too early to get them started. Let them wrestle with over-sleeping and being late for school or work. Let them deal with the fallout. Natural consequences remind them to go to bed and set the alarm. This skill is the foundation of maintaining any schedule. If your teen is having trouble in this area, then there may be an underlying physical cause or hidden agenda that is interfering. Seek help if necessary.
- Manage their Money and Budget Everyone loves money. What’s not to love about it? Your teen is no exception. Whether you love money or you think it’s the root of all evil, everyone needs to deal with it. Everyone forms a relationship with money and the better that relationship, the more likely you will have plenty of it. Your relationship with money is no different than any relationship. You need to treat it with respect and be attentive. A good relationship with money means you trust it will be there when you need it. Teach your teen what a good relationship with money is and they will manage their money well. Teach them to be grateful for the money they have and thankful for the money that flows into their life. It buys them the privilege of having, oh…say….electricity for instance. I think you get the idea.
- Learn How to Work Developing strong work habits is critical to success at school, in a job or a volunteer position. Going to work puts meaning into your teen’s life and money in their pocket. Learning how to work and learning how to work for someone and with others has valuable lessons that cannot be learned at home or school. Teach your teen the value of a job well done and feel good about the work they do. Create the expectation for your son or daughter to perform service for another person or an organization. In this way you assure they will have community and will eat on a regular basis.
- Ask for Help This may be more for guys than for girls. For whatever reason men have a difficult time asking for help. Girls and boys need to learn it is OK to ask for help. When you ask for help, problems get resolved, projects are finished and minds stay sane. Everyone needs to ask for help! By asking for help you are taking part in a wonderfully kind act. You are giving another person a chance to perform an act of kindness. The more acts of kindness that occur, the greater overall kindness there is in the world. Go ahead, ask for help today, before you get all frustrated.
- Set Limits with Themselves and Others When your teen sets limits for themselves and with others, they pave the road to success. They will have fewer bumps and obstacles along the way. Your teen probably says “No” to you a lot, but I’m talking about setting limits. When your teen says “No” when they need to helps them manage the flow of their life. Teens are easily influenced and you want your teen to know when to say “No.” When your teen feels “No” and they say “No” at that moment, their integrity is preserves and their character grows. Your teen becomes more resourceful and self-reliant. It’s a win-win for everyone. Well, maybe not when the garbage needs to be taken out.
- Negotiate in Good Faith Every time your teen argues with you is an opportunity to practice negotiating skills. Your teen needs to bargain their way through life. They need to negotiate many things; the price of a car, the starting salary of that dream job, the purchase of a home or even what side of the bed to sleep on. The list is endless. This means negotiating in good faith will save your teen a time, money and enhance their life. They gain self-confidence and social skills. Do your job well and their negotiating skills may end up costing you, but it’s worth it because the better they negotiate, the more joyful and abundant their lives will be.
- Trust their Intuition Trust your gut feeling. You hear it all the time. You intuitively know it’s a key to a life filled with abundance and joy. It is the key to success, to communication, to money management, to love. Your intuition is your personal guide. Teenagers need to learn how to listen to their intuition. To do this they need to quiet their minds. This is no easy task. It’s noisy in a teenager’s head. Relaxation breathing and meditation help your teen master the skill of trusting their gut. Once they have this skill they always have it at their fingertips, Intuition is the connection that helps your teen make the next difficult decision.
Don’t give up before the miracle. Imagine your teen already capable and competent. Imagine how powerful they are when they are equipped with these 10 Critical Life Skills. See them confident about themselves and actively pursuing their interests. Soon, they will be out there dong wonderful things in the world, thanks to you.
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With love and affection,