At some point in our lives, we sit back, think about our younger selves and ruminate on what we could have done differently.
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us barely took life seriously when we were teenagers. We were care-free and some of the advice we got didn’t have a lasting impact on our lives.
Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time. We can, however, try educating our teens and pre-teens on some of the important life skills that will be beneficial, especially the ones that aren’t taught in schools.
Here are a few things every parent should instil in their teens and young adult children.
1. Money matters
This is an area that most of us still struggle with even in adulthood. It is important to educate your teen on how to spend and save money. However as you discuss this with them, note that they may not understand the importance of these talks because at this point they are not fully aware of the future and how fast time flies. One way of educating them is by letting them handle small tasks such as drawing the budget for the house so that they can learn good spending habits.
2. Personal hygiene
Proper hygiene practices are best taught by guardians and parents. At this impressionable age, teenage girls get their first period and boys experience some bodily changes as well. At this new stage in their young lives, many teenagers may feel too embarrassed to reach out for advice when they experience these changes. Thus, it is important to reach out to your teen and teach them good hygiene and grooming skills. Teach your girls how to clean up especially during their period and teach your boys the proper way to shave facial hair as their bodies change.
3. Sex education
Whether we like to admit it or not, teenagers are having sex and we must learn how to handle the issue appropriately. Help your teenagers understand the importance of safe sex and how to differentiate healthy relationships from unhealthy ones. There are also self-testing kits for HIV/AIDS which allow your teenagers to test themselves at home without the stigma associated with going to a VCT Centre. It is better for them to learn about the birds and the bees from you first rather than from their misinformed friends. Be open with your teens. This will give them the opportunity to be open with you!
4. Online etiquette
In this age of technology and online platforms, let’s face the sad truth that many teens have accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This leaves your children vulnerable to cyberbullying and online trolls not to mention pornographic material. Unfortunately, some of the trolls happen to be our own children. Teach your children to respect others both in real life and online.
5. Good communication skills
It is important to teach your teenagers how to communicate and express themselves. It is even more important to make them feel comfortable enough to express how they feel. Teenage years can be tough and can really put a strain on both you and your teen’s emotions. Nurturing teenage boys to express themselves is especially crucial as well more so in these times when many teenagers opt for suicide. Help them understand the importance of expressing themselves.
6. Basic first aid skills
Ensure your teens are aware of emergency service lines that are provided in your country and other important contact information such as your family doctor in case of emergencies. Train them on how to use basic equipment such as small household fire extinguishers if you have one. These skills are some of the important skills that may come in handy especially when you are not home.