Each first day of school marks one year closer to adulthood! The best way to make sure teens are prepared? Give them more responsibility now! The key is striking the right balance by allowing teens to take more of a lead while parents continue to provide guidance. Here are a few suggestions to help along the way!
Stay on Top of Your Work
Teens: Losing work, scrambling for supplies and forgetting test dates will affect your grades, and you’ll have to hear “I told you so!” from mom.
Parents: Provide students with the necessary organizational supplies, but try to avoid looking at assignments online. Instead let your teen face the consequences of missed work, both at school and at home.
Choose Friends Wisely
Teens: Avoid “guilt by association.” No surprise- people will stereotype you by your friend set.
Parents: Give them guidance and boundaries but try to avoid being unnecessarily critical. Encourage positive influences and help your teen learn to become a good judge of character.
Keep a Calendar
Teens: Make sure you have a handle on all of your activities, even unstructured ones like studying and hanging out with friends. Get in the habit of putting everything in your calendar and communicate with your parents to avoid embarrassing phone calls from your mom!
Parents: Coordinate with teens and give them the opportunity to communicate their time commitments to you. Avoid the tendency to schedule their time for them.
Be on Time
Teens: Set your own alarm and make sure you’re up when you need to be and make it your goal to arrive on time. You know, there’s an app for that!
Parents: Avoid being the backup alarm! Allow your teen to become self-reliant when it comes to waking up on time in the mornings, and try to avoid reminding them of every appointment and scheduled activity.
Take Charge of Appointments
Teens: Work towards feeling comfortable calling to make appointments on your own, handling issues such as emailing your teacher and taking care of “grown up” errands such as banking-
(unless you plan to live at home until you’re 30!)
Parents: Avoid handling communi-
cations and errands your teen is capable of handling. It’s not as quick, but it will be worth it when you see how self-sufficient they can be.
Make a Budget
Teens: Make a budget and learn to set money aside rather than spending it all right away.
Parents: Guide your teen but try not to dictate every dollar spent, and avoid enabling poor financial decisions. This means not giving them extra money when they overspend!
Know Basic Safety Procedures
Teens: Learn what to do in the case of severe weather, how to treat basic first aid needs, or how to proceed if you have a flat tire or get pulled over.
Parents: Take opportunities to discuss emergency procedures with teens. Make sure they have emergency numbers programmed into their phones and ensure their vehicles are equipped with first aid kits, insurance information, and other important items.
Clean it Up!
Teens: Get in the habit of keeping your space at least somewhat neat. Take on your own laundry, and know how to do basic housekeeping tasks. Your future roommate will thank you!
Parents: Encourage teens to be in charge of their own laundry. Have them do a variety of household chores even if they are not regular responsibilities so they will know how to get them done when they’re on their own.
Fill in the Gaps
Teens: Be aware of requirements for a good college resume and plan to fill in weak or missing areas.
Parents: Brainstorm with your teen on how they might fill in any weak areas and let them take the lead. Offer to proofread for them, and make suggestions for improvements.