How much easier life in general would be if the you right now could go back and advise the “teen-aged” you. Although there is no going back for adults, you can do your part to make life’s road a little smoother for your teen by encouraging her to be independent. In your eyes, she might still be your baby girl, but in a few short years she’ll no longer be a minor. Helping her develop essential skills to live and get along with the other humans in the world will save you both some heartache and teach your teen to have some Teen Independence.
In Case of Emergency
You’ve always been there to take charge and pick up the pieces during crises, but your teen needs to learn how to cope with emergencies on her own. The Washington Post advises parents to provide teenagers with a list of things they’ll have to provide the other driver if they’re in an automobile accident, such as name, address, driver’s and license plate numbers and contact and insurance information. The Post also recommends walking your teen through the insurance portion of her next doctor’s visit, so she understands billing procedures and co-payments as well as what insurance information the doctor’s billing department requires.
Keep it Clean
Keeping her room clean is a good start on housekeeping skills, but when your teenager is out on her own and looking for apartments for rent, she’ll need to know more than how to change the sheets on her bed. Moms Everyday (2) says to stop cleaning up after your teen and show her how to do her own laundry as well as keep things tidy and organized. A teenager is capable of housekeeping on her own and should be doing those things for herself in preparation for life on her own.
Use Your Words
Communication skills are vital but, as All Parenting points out, texting has taken the place of interpersonal communicating. Your teen will be the one who has to contact her landlord, doctor and other business professionals when she no longer lives at home. You should help her develop the skills necessary to schedule appointments, gather information and resolve issues before that responsibility is all on her plate. Guide your teenager through calling her dentist to ask for information and to schedule her next appointment. Steer her through etiquette and courteously inquiring about information.
Involve your teen in the day-to-day aspects of your household budget. Make her aware of all the expenses she’ll have to fit her paycheck around. Have her sit with you when you pay the utility bills, the mortgage and insurance. Let her make up a grocery list and then accompany you to do the shopping. Encourage her to open a checking account and help her balance it the first month or two before letting her go it on her own. Help her master fiscal responsibility before she actually has to be fiscally responsible.
If your teen relies on you to be the snooze alarm, she needs some work in the time management department. When she’s on her own, she’ll have to get to work on time, pay her rent on time and will have deadlines for college course work or projects for her job. Make sure she learns how to be responsible for managing and organizing her time.