The adolescent years can be rough for a lot of teenagers. During this phase, teens in countries like Singapore are deep into the process of searching for their identities. Many teens are also pressured to do well in their academics so that they can secure admissions to top universities and career opportunities. There’s also the matter of raging hormones, which can greatly affect a teen’s mood and impulses and leave them disoriented about how they perceive the world.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to provide your teenager with the right tools for navigating their teen years and the years that come after those. To that end, below are five life skills that you should teach your teenage kids to empower them, boost their confidence, and get them used to the idea of their own independence:
1) Using Digital Resources Wisely and Responsibly
Today’s teenagers are currently growing up in a world where digital technology is an integral part of their daily life. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets will feel like an extension of your teen’s body, and after years of growing up in a digitally native generation, it may be like second nature for them to use the internet to connect, study, and pursue their hobbies.
That said, as early as now, your teen should learn how to use the digital resources they have at their disposal with in a smart and responsible manner. The internet is filled with scammers, purveyors of disinformation, and other bad actors who won’t have your child’s best interests in mind. You should teach them what you’ve learned (and are also likely still learning) about digital literacy so that they can quickly become discerning users and consumers of digital content and technology.
For a young teenager who’s due to get their first smartphone, consider giving them a basic gadget with a subscription to one of the best SIM only plans in Singapore. A basic smartphone makes for a great introduction to responsible smartphone ownership, allowing your teen to learn the value of technology without you having to splurge on the latest model. Make time to explore the apps your child wants to install so that you can instruct them on how to switch each app’s privacy settings. This will also give you a chance to browse through the apps and discern whether they’re appropriate for your teen or not.
2) Cooking, Doing the Laundry, and Other Domestic Skills
Domestic skills form the foundation of independence and self-reliance. They’re practical, tangible, and directly applicable to everyday life. As such, domestic skills will be indispensable towards helping your teenager navigate the world on their own terms.
To ensure that your teen won’t be too overwhelmed by their new household responsibilities, it’s a good idea to guide them first before letting them do a task on their own. Invite them to cook a simple meal with you and show how them how to properly use kitchen appliances like your rice cooker.
When it comes to doing the laundry, explain the importance of separating your clothes and why it’s important to use the right settings on the washing machine. This will teach them the value of taking care of their own clothes.
3) Practising Proper Hygiene
You should also make it a point to impart good hygiene practices on your teen. Good hygiene habits that they should observe at their age include regular showers, dental care, and grooming of body hair. They may be extra self-conscious about their appearance and the changes occurring in their bodies, and good hygiene will bolster their confidence and self-esteem.
Ultimately, good hygiene ensures that they present themselves well and feel comfortable in different social situations. By instilling these habits in your teen, you’ll be able to safeguard their physical health while also nurturing their emotional and psychological well-being.
4) Driving and Auto Maintenance Skills
While not all teenagers will immediately step behind the wheel, it’s good for them to have the ability to drive and handle basic auto maintenance. Just being able to drive will help your teen acquire a sense of responsibility and independence, as they’ll be in charge of getting themselves (and other passengers) from place to place.
If your teen is old enough and is interested in learning how to drive, enrol them in a driving school. On top of knowing how to drive, they’ll also learn the rules of the road. The earlier they learn and understand basic road rules and road safety, the better their chances of becoming a safe driver once they earn their licence.
Aside from driving lessons, your teen can also benefit from taking a basic car maintenance course. This will teach them the skills to perform basic auto maintenance tasks like changing a tire or checking fluid levels to ensure full safety on the road. It will be immensely empowering for your teen to know how to do such things, and it will also ensure their self-sufficiency in situations where gas stations and auto maintenance professionals won’t be easily accessible.
5) Creating a Budget and Managing Money
Even if you start them off with small amounts, you’ll help your teen master basic finance by putting them in charge of their own money and teaching them how to create a budget. Budgeting and basic money management will ingrain in them the value of saving, investing wisely, and living within their means. This basic financial literacy will also provide them with a strong foundation for financial stability and success when they’re grown up.
You can also teach them about how you allocate your spending, which will help them understand the importance of prioritising essentials like food, transportation, and utilities. Older teens may even want to explore simple investment options, like their own high-yield savings accounts. These can lay the groundwork for financial growth and security when they have more assets of their own.
Equipping your teenager with these essential life skills is an investment in their future. If they get the opportunity to practise life skills like the ones listed above, they’ll be closer to achieving full independence and garner more confidence to make their own decisions.
With your guidance, you can rest assured that your teen will be well-prepared to face the challenges beyond what they encounter in their adolescence. Encourage them to grow, let them become comfortable in their own skin, and put them on a path towards a life that will truly reward them.