There are so many things parents want their children to learn during their teenage years. Oftentimes, the list is somewhat daunting and can feel more like marching orders versus a guidance resource. In addition to the core academic classes, there are so many different exploratory classes your teenager is expected to master – foreign language, technology, music, or art.
When or maybe the real question is how do you teach your child all the other life skills, they need to know? The obvious ones such as cooking, cleaning and laundry tend to be the focal points. Parents often assume their teenagers are learning about other tasks at school or through observation; however, in many cases, that’s not the case. So, what are the most overlooked skilled you should teach your teen?
Piedmont Technical College has reported that 90% of college students procrastinate and struggle with time management. Scheduling one’s time reduces stress, releases energy and increases productivity. Everyone is guilty of thinking they have more time, during the day, to complete their to-do list than they have. The reality is simple organization and schedules work simultaneously.
Work together with your teenager to go over their schedule on a weekly basis. Purchase a planner, whiteboard or download a calendar app to assist with the actual time blocking. Incorporate time management as part of your Sunday routine. Unfortunately, not every teenager is naturally organized or responsible enough to initiate these management skills; however, if a parent is willing to teach and recognize the priority, when your child becomes an adult, the skill will become second nature.
Budgeting money can be a challenging skill to master, but parents shouldn’t assume their child knows how to balance a bank account and plan out their expenses. Sometimes it is difficult to project what bills are coming up and how to build a savings account.
Even if a parent is not a financial guru, it is important to sit down with your teen and explain the ins and outs of a bank account. There are so many different elements: over draft fees, ATM fees, monthly maintenance fees, bill pay, automatic withdrawals, direct deposit, ACH, money orders, cashier’s checks, and manual deposits. Money Under 30 is an excellent resource to reference when teaching your teen, the tough decisions associated with money. Spending wisely, saving for the future and unexpected expenses and staying out of debt are all important skills every teen should be educated on.
Parents may believe their children will learn and use manners without any guidance; however, that’s not always the case. Manners are sometimes overlooked and forgotten. Whether it is asking for assistance or showing gratitude for service, parents should instill the importance of good manners. Establishing the use of manners is a life long skill every person should have. As teenagers go through different emotional stages, the simple act of being polite can easily be forgotten.
More than ever, parents must not overlook the skill of communication. Since technology has become such an integral part of every human being’s day-to-day, it is even more crucial that parents practice and teach good communication skills with their teenagers.
Communication skills encompass both verbal and non-verbal actions. Parents shouldn’t overlook the importance of teaching their children how to appropriately address and speak to people. Since a lot of communication is done via text and email, verbal speech is not always delivered an appropriate fashion. Go over the correct ways to communicate with people versus talking at people. Another element that is overlooked because of technology usage is the delivery of an email. Parents must teach their children how to draft an email and how the content can be misconstrued. In some cases, tone and voice will be assumed but it is important for teens to know how to be professional.
Technology and the amount of time people spend on their devices has created a security problem. It is incredibly easy for people to be hacked and/or sensitive information to be stolen.
Parents should teach their children about credit reporting, what information you should and/or shouldn’t divulge to third parties, how to check the validity of websites collecting data, and what other identification you need to have in your possession. Many parents automatically assume their teenager is learning about these fundamentals at school in their technology courses; however, that is definitely not always the case.
Be Kind and Extend Grace
The world is big. Every human being encounters so many different people each day. It is important to remind teens to carry out kindness and extend grace every day. The reality is no one truly knows what another individual has experienced or the situation they are currently dealing with. Everyone has good and bad days – sometimes, depending on the season, more bad than good. Many people believe that it is human nature to be kind and understanding, but it’s not.
Exemplify kindness and grace yourself. Your actions will leave a long-lasting impression on your teenager and show them how important these traits are.
When you are in the parenting trenches, there are probably a dozen more overlooked skills you think about; however, these are the main ones. Clearly, there is not a manual for parenting and in most cases, it is a trial-and-error methodology. But if parents try to include the basic fundamentals that they use on a daily basis, they’ll cover the majority of bases. It is important to remember nothing is really common sense and parenting will vary from child to child. Some children will master tasks quicker than others. While other children may need additional guidance or reminders set in place for things society deem as basic knowledge.