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7 Life Skills Teens Should Have Before Leaving Home

As parents, one of our greatest responsibilities is preparing our teens for the journey into adulthood. As they approach the threshold of independence, we inevitably find ourselves wondering, "Are they ready?" This article will help you answer that question by outlining the 7 life skills every teen should have before leaving home.

1. Financial Management Skills: Help your teen grasp the basics of budgeting, saving, and spending wisely. This would help them make informed choices and plan for the future. 

Practical ways to teach them:

  • Create a Budget Together: Sit down with your teen and map out a budget for their expenses, like leisure activities, transportation, and savings goals. Use real-life examples to illustrate the importance of budgeting.

  • Give them Financial Responsibilities: From using their allowance to get the things they want to contributing to household expenses, give your teen hands-on experience with managing money.

2. Decision-making Skills: Life is a series of choices, big and small. Teach your teen to weigh their options, consider the consequences, and trust their instincts when making decisions.

Practical ways to teach them:

  • Reflect on Past Decisions: Take time to reflect on past decisions together, both the successes and the failures. Help your teen understand the lessons learned from their choices and how they can apply them in the future.

  • Encourage Independence: Give your teen opportunities to make decisions on their own, whether it's choosing what course to take or planning a weekend outing with friends. Offer guidance and support, but allow them to take the lead.

3. Goal-setting Skills: Teens have big dreams, but without a plan, they will never bring them to life. Teach your teen the art of setting SMART goals.

Practical ways to teach them:

  • Goal-setting Journal: Encourage your teen to write their goals and aspirations in a journal. Then, help them break their goals down into smaller, actionable steps. Get started with our goal-setting guide today.

  • Celebrate Achievements: When your teen achieves a goal, no matter how small, celebrate it! Recognize their hard work and perseverance, and use it as an opportunity to reinforce the importance of setting and achieving goals.

4. Navigational Skills: Teaching your teen how to find their way around is so much easier now than 20 years ago, when GPS and Google Maps were not popular. Teach them how to use Google Maps and public transportation and navigate unfamiliar places with confidence.

Practical ways to teach them:

  • Practice Drives: Take your teen on practice drives to different destinations, and let them navigate using Google Maps or GPS. Encourage them to plan the route in advance and anticipate road signs and landmarks.

  • Shopping Trips: Take your teens to the market and see how you navigate different areas to get what you want. Then, challenge them to create their list and get their stuff from the market without your help.

5. Domestic Skills: Running a household requires a lot of work, including cleaning, cooking, and making sure things are in order. These are all skills you teens need to learn, regardless of their gender.

Practical ways to teach them:

  • Chore Chart: Create a chore chart with a variety of tasks, from laundry to cleaning the house to cooking. Rotate responsibilities regularly and hold your teen accountable for completing their assigned chores.

  • Cooking Together: Get your teen involved in meal planning and preparation. Start with simple things like cooking rice or beans before you go into more complex stuff like soup, stew, and other dishes.

6. Negotiation Skills: We all know how important negotiation is at work, with your spouse, and with friends and family. Equip your teen with the skills they need to communicate effectively and find common ground.

Practical ways to teach them:

  • Role-playing Scenarios: Role-play different negotiation scenarios with your teen, such as how to resolve conflicts with siblings or how much allowance they get. Encourage them to practice active listening and express their needs and concerns.

  • Encourage Assertiveness: Teach your teen to assert themselves respectfully and advocate for their needs. 

7. Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions is essential for building strong relationships and coping with life's challenges. Teach your teen to recognize their feelings and empathize with others.

Practical ways to teach them:

  • Open Communication: Create a safe and supportive environment for your teen to express their emotions openly. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and experiences without fear of judgment.

  • Stress Management: Teach your teen healthy coping strategies for managing stress, such as deep breathing exercises, physical activity like taking a walk, and music. Help them develop  strategies they can use when they're feeling overwhelmed.

As parents, our role extends far beyond providing for our teens' physical needs. We also need to empower them with the essential life skills they need to thrive in all aspects of their lives as adults.