As parents, one of your main responsibilities is to make sure that your kids are prepared for the real world, and that they are going to be responsible adults. In today’s world, this can be more challenging than ever, but it certainly isn’t impossible.
In fact, there are many life skills you can teach your kids to help them become responsible members of society, not to mention being happy and productive adults, and below I have outlined several tips that will help teach your kids how to be responsible and productive adults.
1. Teach Navigation Skills
Having one’s driver’s license doesn’t mean that one has navigation skills. In addition to helping them learn how to drive, teach them how to navigate.
They need to understand how to use a GPS system as well as a map, how to navigate through rush hour traffic, both in the city and on the highway, and other skills they won’t learn in Driver’s Ed. Of course, they also need to learn how to be patient in traffic and learn defensive driving skills.
2. Encourage Them To Get A Job
Just because your teen does well in school, it doesn’t mean that they are ready for the workforce. School teaches them academics.
You need to make sure that they know what it is to hold down a job.
Encourage them to take on summer and after-school jobs, so they will learn about the responsibility of a paying job, and how to deal with others, how to deal with conflict, and how to conduct themselves appropriately in any situation,
3. Teach Goal Setting
Everyone has goals, but not all goals are realistic ones. Teens in particular tend to have impractical goals—becoming famous, rich or popular, especially with what they see in social media these days—and it is your job to show them how to set realistic ones, and how to achieve those.
Talk to your teen about what they want to achieve both long-term and short-term. There are many studies about the relationship of goal setting in maintaining happiness in one’s life. Every time you experience reward by achieving your goals, dopamine is released which is responsible for feelings of motivation.
4. Help Them Control Emotions
We all have our moments when it is difficult to deal with our emotions. It could be a conflict at work, relationship issues, or other situations that require tact. But, over time, we learn how to keep things in check for the most part. This is something that many teens have trouble with, since they are dealing with school work, teachers, peer pressure, and their home lives, but you can help.
Teach them how to deal with their emotions in a healthy manner, such as through sports, music, or arts and crafts . This also helps in encouraging patience. Even leading personal trainers for athletes would say that controlling emotions is very crucial. The more they are able to stay in control, the more confidence they will have (and you as well) for when tougher situations happen.
5. Teach Coping Skills for Emergencies
Once your kids are on their own, they are going to need coping skills to help them deal with emergencies. It could be as simple as a fire in a frying pan, an automotive breakdown, or even a leaky pipe in the kitchen.
You need to take the time to teach them about any number of little emergencies that can happen, and how to deal with them appropriately. They also need to learn how to cope without their mobile devices. These things may not always be available when they need them.
6. Involve in Household Management
If your teenager has a messy room, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to be sloppy housekeepers in their own home. But, it is a good sign that they need to learn more about household management skills, such as budgeting, cleaning, scheduling appointments, and more.
They are likely going to have roommates, either in a dormitory or in an apartment, and if they don’t have these life skills, they are going to have problems with anyone they live with.
7. Close Your Wallet
Stop giving your teen money every time they ask for it. The more you give them, the less you teach them.
One of the most important life skills for anyone is how to handle their finances. If your teen is working, have them save a portion of their paycheck each week and put it right into a savings account.
Even better, encourage them to invest now in a retirement savings plan. It’s never too early to plan for the future. Not only will this teach them about financial responsibility, they will also have some extra cash when they really need it.
8. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
A lot of today’s teens do not have healthy habits. They sit with their mobile devices all day long without getting much exercise, and they don’t eat properly. .
No matter what you are cooking at home, they are bound to be eating junk food when you are not around. A personal trainer once told me, “It is a good idea to take them to see a nutritionist, who can help get their diets on the right track, and teach them about healthy eating that is right for their body types.” The important bit here is matching a healthy diet to your kid’s body type and day to day activities.
9. Teach “You Did It, You Fix It”
A lot of parents make the mistake of trying to fix all of their kids’ problems. While this may be okay when they are very young, they must learn to deal with their own problems, especially the problems that they create themselves.
If your kids are in situations that they can handle, such as an argument with a friend or a conflict with a teacher, don’t help them. Let them handle it on their own, instead, teach them problem-solving skills and become they’re “guide” so they learn from the experience.
10. Stop Bailing Them Out
This goes hand in hand with teaching them about taking responsibility. If your teen gets into trouble, be it a conflict at school or with a sibling, don’t run to their rescue, at least not right away.
Yes, they may end up needing your help, but let them try and figure out how to take responsibility for their own actions. You won’t always be around to bail them out.
11. Give Them Problems To Solve
Your job isn’t to make life easy for your teen. Your job is to teach them how to get along in the real world as an adult. So, don’t solve their problems for them.
Give them situations where they will have to think for themselves, and see what they are able to do. They may surprise you, and themselves, given the opportunity to solve their own problems.
12. Teach Them To Stand Up For Themselves
Obviously, you are not teaching your kids to be fighters. But, you should be helping them learn how to negotiate in a conflict. Getting angry and throwing temper tantrums isn’t going to help them in any way, and I’m sure we’ve all learned this the hard way as parents.
Teach them the skills they need to stay calm in any situation, such as counting to 10 before losing their temper, learning how to walk away from a conflict, and helping them recognize their emotions and be able to deal with those emotions during conflicts.
13. Teach Them How To Pay it Forward
Not only do we need to take care of ourselves, we need to have compassion for the world around us.
There are several ways that you can teach your teen how to contribute to this world. Get them to volunteer at a local animal shelter or food bank.
You never know. They may love these things so much that it could lead to a career in helping others.
14. Encourage Them to Trust Themselves
Schools teach kids how to follow rules, but not about real life skills. You need to teach them that while they need to take instructions, they also need to be independent thinkers.
Help your teens learn how to trust in themselves and their decisions. Sure, there will be a few bad decisions made, but they will learn from their mistakes, and learn how to make better decisions.
15. Explain the Household Budget
You can talk to kids until you are blue in the face about how to budget, but unless they actually see good budgeting skills in action, they will have difficulty understanding how to do it themselves.
Talk to them about various household expenses, such as electricity and other utility bills, grocery expenses, and maintaining a vehicle. Show them your household income, and where every bit of it goes. Let them help with the budgeting so they will know what to do when they are on their own.
16. Get Them a Credit Card
Give your teen their own credit card.
Yes, you read that right.
This is one of the best ways to teach fiscal responsibility. If they run up the card and have no credit left, don’t pay it off for them. Let them figure out how to pay it off and use it responsibly. The earlier they learn about responsibility with credit cards, the better.
17. Set a Shining Example
If you are doing none of the above things yourself, how can you expect your teen to become a responsible adult?
You are their best example, so put your best foot forward. Get the bills paid on time. Keep the house clean. Go to work every day. When kids have a great example like you, they are going to have a great head start on their future.
We Play A Major Role
In order to prepare teens for adulthood, you, as a parent, need to teach them important life skills that will help them to become productive adults.
Keep an open dialog with your kids, and let them know that they can come to you to get answers; and, if they need help with developing any of the skills that you are trying to teach them. If you work together, you can do it. Keep an open communication with them, and if they have problems, listen, and come up with ways to work through those problems together.
Featured photo credit: Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash via unsplash.com