Monday, April 18, 2011

Life Skills for Teens

Teens need life skills and interests.

Teens are some of the most lovable kids around although they often give off the impression that they know it all. Educational statistics prove otherwise. Basic life skills may not be taught in the high school and often kids may not get these lessons at home. Here are a few of the basic life skills that every teen needs to succeed in life as an adult. As parents, we can help our teens develop these needed skills.

1. Teens need to learn the value of money. Many teens may not be able to find a job or to work when involved in sports and school activities but that doesn’t mean they should not learn the value of money. Parent who provide for every whim their teen requests do not help to teach what money means, how hard it is to earn it, the value of saving for what you need or how to wait for what you want. Teens need to learn what taxes mean, how to save, how to balance a check book and how to budget. Earn, save, give, and spend. Those are the basics about money. A good way to teach the concept is the 10-10-80 rule. Earn the money, save 10 percent, give away to charity or church 10 percent, and budget on the remaining 80 percent. If teens learn that formula, they will be years ahead of most of their peers and have a cushion of cash in the bank too.

2. Teens need to learn to cook, clean, and do laundry. These skills will be valuable no matter where a teen lives, works, or goes to school. These skills are the basics of life. I know teens who know nothing about cooking other than ordering pizza. They think cleaning is throwing dirty clothes in the hamper for mom and the pizza box in the trash, and some don’t know how to turn on a washing machine let alone how much soap to use. These basic skills will make your teen a better adult and a more responsible partner in future relationships because they will understand sharing household tasks.

3. Teens need to know how to sew, at least to put a new button on or fix a hole in a seam. I am not suggesting that every teen needs to learn to make a quilt or an entire outfit. I am suggesting that they know how to do an emergency repair on a favorite shirt and that means boys and girls. Home economics is no longer part of many school curriculum's but I highly recommend teens learn this skill on their own after all it is not rocket science. It is a needle and thread.

4. Teens need to learn basic polite conversation without the slang. Please, thank you, how do you do, nice to meet you, and I’m sorry are the minimal basics that a teen should feel comfortable with. It is not old fashioned to expect a teenager to say hello and thank you when speaking with parents or adults. It is respect. These skills will be used for the rest of their lives during job interviews, school conferences, dealing with work place customers, and business dealings as an employee or as the boss. Teens that speak clearly and with polite conversation will walk away with a better chance at the job when being interviewed. Those teens uncomfortable speaking without slang may not fare as well against competition for the same position.

5. Teens need to learn and maintain personal hygiene. Clean hair, clean teeth, clean nails, and in general a clean appearance will increase self esteem, improve mental attitudes, and improve the overall state of health of a teen no matter what socio-economic background the teen comes from. Soap and water are one of the least expensive ways to take care of teen skin and prevent or treat acne. A clean appearance tells the world that a teen has pride in what he or she does and cares.

These are the basic skills that will help teens to transition into the adult work force and into the role of partner, parent, and employee. Learning these skills at a young age and continuing them through high school and college will increase the chances that each person will enjoy a positive and productive life.


  1. Teens are such a joy to work with. It is exciting to see them develop into the wonderful adults they were meant to become.

  2. Hello,

    Teach teens some basic life skills before they move out on their own to improve their chances of success. Teenagers need to know how to care for themselves. It is important for life skills training to be presented in a manner that stimulates teenagers' interests so that they learn and retain the information being taught. Thanks...

  3. Thank you! This is an important topic that doesn't get as much attention as it should. I left home without knowing basic skills - I was valedictorian at my high school, but I didn't know how to clean a toilet or do my laundry. So I started a website devoted to the subject. I still have a lot of writing to do, but I'm always on the lookout for ideas that other people think should be included in a basic life skills curriculum.



*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.