According to Socrates, Plato once said “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
Teenagers have had a terrible reputation since Ancient Rome. Some of it is deserved, some of it is, well, deserved. The self-centeredness, the sloppiness, the sleepiness? They are all normal parts of being a teen. Does this mean you have to accept it? No! But, recognize these things for what they are – normal, developmental behaviors. In the meantime, focus on teaching your teen three life skills that will carry them throughout their lives. As you teach, let them do things hands-on and encourage them to take charge.
Teen Life Skill #1. Car Maintenance
Unless you know with certainty that you child will reside in a a non-driving city like New York or San Francisco, teach them car basics. This is not a boy or a girl thing. It’s a person-who-will-likely-be-driving-a-less-than-stellar-car
At the very least, your child should know how to pump gas, check tire pressure/fill a tire, change a flat, check oil (preferably they’ll learn to to change the oil as well), drive in hazardous conditions (check your local sheriff’s office) and understand the do’s and do not’s should they be in an accident.
Life Skill Tip; Make this a three-day a week class through the summer and your child will be a rock star among their peers!
Teen Life Skill #2. Food
You already know they eat. A lot. But how much of their own food is your child preparing? Have they moved beyond pasta and chicken nuggets? If not, this is your summer.
Teach your child a few basic kitchen tricks. Get them to try new foods. Talk about the nutritional value of what they’re eating and how it affects their energy levels, their recovery levels after strenuous workouts and their ability to perform well academically on a regular basis.
Teen Life Skill #3. Laundry
Good or not, a lot of life (and making and keeping friends) comes down to smells. Can your teen do laundry? Do they know how to use bleach? Do they understand the joys of baking soda and vinegar? Does your child know how to iron a shirt, skirt or pair of pants before an interview? You are not always going to be there (and you shouldn’t be!) – help them now.
If you can teach these three life skills to your teen this summer, you deserve a medal. If your teen struggles, and the focus is more on locating transitional services… try searching the above subjects (and more) including the words “special education resources” for added tips.
No matter what, preparing your child for life outside “the nest” isn’t always easy. Preparing now with consistency can make all the difference in the world!
What life skills are you teaching your teen this summer? Please share in the comments below!