Preparing Your Teen for Going Out Into the World

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Every parent would like to see their child have a better life then they did. From the moment your child is born, your natural instinct is to protect them but there comes a time when you need to set them free. Will your child be ready to survive in the real world?

Tip 1- Your child is a teenager and in a few years will be legally an adult. Have you taught them responsibility? Your teen needs to understand that there are consequences to their actions and rules to be followed. Have you been the kind of parent who forces your teen to face up to what they have done or are you the kind of parent who bails their teen out of trouble?

Tip 2- Unfortunately, stress is a normal part of life. Growing up your child’s responsibilities in school have grown and as a teen he or she has had deadlines to meet. Procrastinating only leads to doing work last minute and producing more stress than necessary. Has your teen learned how to handle balancing school assignments with social time? It isn’t too late to fix bad habits. Before high school is over help your teen to become better organized with their time in order to reduce stress.

Tip 3- Does your teen have goals? Whether your teen has been involved in sports or dance or just strives to make the honor roll, having goals and learning how to work towards them is important to develop a sense of purpose. Teach that reaching a goal takes work and planning and avoid trying to offer shortcuts by doing it for them.

Tip 4- Does your teen work part time or volunteer? It is so important for even the children of wealthier parents to learn that material things do not get handed to them. When you work towards earning money for something, the possession will mean so much more. Volunteering is also important because it can teach a teen that doing good for others can bring a sense of purpose and joy to yourself.

Tip 5- No matter how you personally feel about premarital sex, have you discussed the issue of birth control and protection against sexually transmitted disease with your teen? Allowing your teen’s school and classmates to be their only source of information is a mistake. Having this discussion with your teen is like getting them vaccinated as infants. You need to protect your teen by giving them all the information they need to make their own choices. Remind them that their actions can have lifelong consequences.

Tip 6- Many young adults are not rushing to leave the family nest. Have you discussed what your expectations are as far as what their household contributions will be? Whether they go away to college, commute to college or work a full time job, as long as they are young adults living in your home there should be clear rules. Mom should not turn into their maid. Young adults are capable of handling their own laundry and can take turns with household chores. Parents should insist upon their young adults paying room and board even if the money is put into an account the lesson is there. No one lives for free and just because you are the parents you are not obligated to support them financially.

We hold our toddlers hands as they learn to take their first steps. As they get more steady on their feet we hold on less and less. One day, if we have done our job right, the wobbly toddler grows into an adult who no longer is wobbly and is ready to become a part of the world.

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