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By Thea Theresa English

Life skills every teenager should learn

Career preparation and academics are not the only lessons teens need to learn before becoming adults. There are also important life skills that they must know in order to become emotionally, spiritually and financially mature later in life. Parents should teach their children life skills as early as possible to help ensure a well-rounded adulthood.

Money management

Many young persons enter the workforce without an adequate knowledge of how to manage money so parents should teach them. Open a checking account for your teen if he has a job and teach him how to balance a checkbook. Demonstrate how to use online banking for him and talk to him about creating a budget so that he will know where his income goes. Discuss income taxes with him and teach him how to read his W2 form. Help him determine his wants from needs and talk to him about the importance of saving money for long term goals.

Knowing how to cook and eat healthy foods

Junk food and processed foods are common among teens but these foods are unhealthy and lead to different illnesses such as obesity and diabetes. Parents should not only cook healthy meals for teens, but they should also teach teens how to cook those meals themselves. Teach them how to make fruits and vegetables interesting to eat by adding spices and marinades to them. Give them easy-to-understand cookbooks so that they can practice cooking.

Housecleaning skills

Knowing how to keep the house clean is an essential skill for adulthood and should be taught even before children become teens. They should learn how to mop and sweep the floors, how to sort colored and white clothes for washing, how to clean the refrigerator and freezer and how to keep the house free of excess clutter. Also teach them how to do simple repairs such as fixing a stopped toilet or sink and changing a light bulb.

Hygiene and personal style

Basic hygiene is something all teens need to master and parents should talk about and demonstrate these skills to their children. For teenage girls, tell them about their menstrual cycles and how they should use sanitary pads or tampons. Teach them to dress modestly but still stylishly in order to draw the proper attention. For boys, teach them proper shaving methods and the importance of looking right in certain outfits. Teach teens the right way to brush and floss teeth.

Sexual health

Teens need to understand the consequences of risky sexual behavior but they should also be taught that sex can be a beautiful thing if it is done in the context of a genuine and loving relationship with someone who cares about and respects them. Talk about rape with your teenage daughter and how no one has the right to violate her body against her will. Discuss the use of condoms and other forms of contraception. Talk about sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them.

When parents teach these and other life skills, your teen will enter adulthood fully prepared and ready to begin this new stage in life.

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