8 essential life skills for teens to learn

home schooling parent teen
These lifelong lessons will help your teen in every aspect of their lives: from school to work or even just being a good friend.

What you need to know:

  • As a parent, feel free to ask for help, such as a life coach, career coach, or teen counsellor. It is the dream of every parent to raise responsible and independent children.

Your teen may be about to head off to college, or they are already away at school. They are living on their own for the first time, and it's not always easy being a young adult.

You may wonder how you should teach them life skills or if there is any point with all the information available online these days.

Surprisingly, teaching your teens some life skills can have a huge impact when they leave home and enter adulthood.

So, what is a 'life skill'? What are the most crucial things that every teenager needs before heading out into the world?

What is a life skill?

Life skills, also known as psychosocial skills, are the abilities for positive and proactive behaviours that help humans manage life's demands. They are the basic social and personal skills that make it possible for people to manage their lives, live independently, and develop healthy relationships with others.

Personal skills to teach your teenager

Financial skills

Your teen should learn how to budget their money and make long-term and short-term goals for themselves. For example, they might want to plan a big birthday party or buy new clothes in the short term. On the other hand, you might want to save up for a car or pay off debts in the long term. It doesn't have to be complicated; but laying out the priorities is an important skill your teen should have before you let them head out into the world on their own.

Clothing and dress sense

The dress sense of an individual is defined as those aspects of one's manner or style of dress considered socially appropriate in a particular situation, which can be changed according to different contexts. Teach your teen about dressing for the occasion: what to wear to work; what to wear on a date; how to dress when you feel down and want to feel better. Wearing well-fitting ironed clothes will help enhance the appearance of your teenager. At a later stage, they will probably be looking for jobs or attachment so it's crucial that they learn early how to dress appropriately.

Personal grooming and general hygiene

This skill will make your teen more attractive and confident and help them feel more in control of their appearance. Personal grooming skills can include everything from brushing teeth, washing hair, trimming nails, shaving facial hair, and applying makeup. Teach your teens how to wash their clothes, iron them, and fold them neatly. Cleaning their rooms and making beds should be a daily practice.

Teach your teenager basic first aid and self-aid

First Aid: Every teenager should know basic first aids, like when someone is drowning, nose bleeding, or sustains mild injuries. This skill could help them save a life. Teach your teen how to do CPR in case they see someone choking on their food or if they have a seizure. It is also essential to teach them how to stabilise someone who has been injured severely and needs medical attention; dialing 911 and when to dial it. Encourage your teen to have standard over-the-counter medicine, for example, painkillers and a first aid kit.

Personal well-being:

Tell your child that they need to understand their emotions, learn healthy ways of coping with stress, build self-esteem, be respectful of others' feelings and think before acting impulsively. Help them learn how to take care of their mental health and know when to ask for help. Finally, they need to be confident in themselves to go out into this world, knowing they will survive anything thrown at them. Teaching your teen to believe in themselves and their abilities will go a long way when they head out.

Time management

Procrastination is the killer of dreams, and teenagers need to address time management. They need to learn how to manage time and set priorities. Doing this will help them throughout their life. Keep track of what you need to do and put things in order of importance such as schoolwork, clubs/sports activities, family time, work, or after-school jobs.

Social skills

Your teenager should learn how to have healthy relationships with others. They should understand the skills needed to have a mature and healthy relationship with friends, family members, romantic partners, or spouses. Empathy, collaboration, and communication are crucial skills your teen should learn to maintain a social life.

Effective decision-making skills

Your teenager needs to have the ability to make sound decisions. To do this, they need to understand the consequences of their actions and weigh them out for a healthy decision. They also need to be able to identify risks and rewards associated with each decision. Effective decision-making will help the teen in tackling peer pressure.

Tackle life with all your skills

Teenagers will make decisions throughout their lives. These lifelong lessons will help your teen in every aspect of their lives: from school to work or even just being a good friend. The more they practise these skills now, the better prepared for adulthood they'll be when it comes around. As a parent, feel free to ask for help, such as a life coach, career coach, or teen counsellor. It is the dream of every parent to raise responsible and independent children.


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