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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Life Skills Every Teenager Needs

It’s a sad fact that more than half of teenagers in the US do not know how to check the oil in their car, change a tire or jump start a dead battery, WFMY reports. It appears the more we introduce technologies to make our lives easier, the more basic life skills are going by the way side.

But what if the warning light is illuminated, or your child blows a tire on the interstate and a tow truck is hours away? Would he or she know what to do without life’s conveniences? As parents of up-and-coming adults, it is our job to not only prepare our children to live independent, adult lives, but also enjoy the power of knowledge and pride in accomplishing something without assistance. Here are a few important life skills every teen needs to learn:

Public Transportation

Even before receiving a license, a child should be equipped with the knowledge and know-how to get to and from the desired (and approved) destinations. Whether it’s learning to read a bus route, how to hail a cab or learning to navigate the metro, a child should be given the tools to use public transportation.

Vehicle Maintenance

Once your child obtains a license, challenge him or her to read and understand the vehicle’s owners guide. For every troubleshooting issue solved, reward him or her with an extra hour out past curfew, tickets to a sports event or something equally thrilling. This will not only teach your child the technical aspects of the vehicle but also strive to learn more and be prideful in maintaining it. Start by having your child assess the tires to see if they are in good driving condition or need to be replaced. Teach him or her to inspect the air pressure, tread depth and look for any bald spots or damage that might be detrimental to the tire's integrity and safety. Then, head out to obtain the things needed for an emergency, such as a spare tire and the tools to change it (without their AAA card), jumper cables and a roadside emergency kit.

Time Management

Does your child have a habit of leaving the house 5 minutes after first period begins, or saving a big project until the day before it is due? Time management is essential skill and the older your child gets, the less amusing being fashionably late becomes. It is important to instill time management skills at an early age. First and foremost, be a good example of arriving on time and early in your own life, especially when young eyes are watching. Then, encourage your child to manage his or her own schedule, whether paper or digital, and teach him or her to record any and all commitments as soon as they are scheduled.

Budgeting

Does your child have his or her own bank account? Checkbook? Debit card? It is important for your child to understand cash flow and how to balance a checkbook. Once he or she has a grasp on the budget, give him or her a few larger responsibilities like paying a portion of the cell phone bill or sending in a car payment each month. Slowly adding responsibilities like this will not only give him or her the confidence to manage finances, but will help keep him or her from being overwhelmed by ‘the real world’ once there.