Teen Talk: Teens and Essential Life Skills

Teen Talk - Teens and Assertiveness
Posted at 8:00 AM, Nov 09, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:41:04-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- High school isn't just about getting good grades for college and making friends, it's an important time to learn essential life skills.

Family therapist Jane Marks says it's important that parents do their part to help prepare teens for separation and autonomy. Kids who are prepared for adulthood are comfortable demonstrating fundamental communication skills, cultural competence, conflict resolution and more importantly, the ability to cope.  It helps young people develop a belief in their own capacity to succeed and self-confidence and self-competence.

 Marks cites these skills as the most important when it comes to development and nurturing:

1. Planning skills. Creating and following schedules, managing time, planning health management skills.  As we've often talked about, this means taking care of yourself, good eating habits, good health habits, good exercise.

2. Money Management skills.  Maintaining a budget, paying bills, anticipatory expenses, what expenses are required on a daily basis.  All of these factor into a larger money managing experience.  Money management with regards to what it's going to take to spend for college.  How much will be based on loans?  A good handle and understanding money management and uses for the next four years.  Learning to maintain a college budget. Find cheap college text books as you look at things like that in high school.

3.       Safety and Health Management Skills.  Last time we talked about dealing with trauma.  Campus safety and sexual assault are significant issues that are significant concepts that need to be clearly focused on both in high school as well as preparation for college.

4.       Household Management Skills.   How do you look for living situations?  How do you account for the possibility of roommates? What is your expectation of roommates and certain living situations?  What is ideal for you?  Teach your kids how to wash clothes.  That is one of the most effective ways of keeping them independent and staying on track. So have a good idea of the best possible living situation for your youngster?  You can look at that as you traverse through high school and see what situations are more successful for your teen.

5. Mastering New Communities.  In other words, getting around and managing the physical parts of a new community.  Students with cars who know how to change a tire and who now know how to access roadside assistance.  These are basic skills regarding car management and ownership.

6. People Skills.  One of the skills that are very important is developing ways of dealing expectantly with people.  It's not just dealing with roommates, but dealing with teachers.  What skills do you have with regards to getting along with people in general?  If your teen early in high school struggles with that, then work on that during the course of the next four years.

7. Stress management for college.  Make sure you are proactive about fighting college stress.  That includes getting enough sleep, exercising, seeking out professional help if need be.  Something that is looked at in high school.

8. Smart Technology Practices.  Use technology in very effective ways to simply manage college life.  Technology for home connection as well as technology for managing day to day experiences, and also in high school.

9. Navigation of failures and disappointments.  Learning how to face failures in college.  You are going to have plenty of them.  Dealing with bad grades, bad teachers, and bad personalities.  You want that to happen in high school so there is a track record for college.

10. Self-control and behavior regulation.  Building social skills.  Social confidence, empathy, pro-social behaviors, having looked at intimacy.  All of this is part of the building of social skills.