You’ve taught them how to walk, tie their shoes, say the alphabet, write their name, right from wrong, and so much more from the time they were born. Now that your teenager is nearing adulthood and going off to college, some parents may assume that their jobs are done. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is during these years that your child will likely need you the most.
Going from the continued care of mom and dad into the real world is a significant transition. While they’ve gotten the basic educational foundation from school, there are some essential life skills that college-bound teens need to be aware of in order to get through this exciting, but also trying time in their life. To get a clearer understanding, here is a look at some of the things parents should teach their teens before they go off to college.
Your teens may know who their mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are, but how much more do they know about their family? Have you explained to your kids where your family originates from, told stories about how certain members got married, provided information or cool facts on historic relatives, made family tree or even practiced some of your native cultures and traditions in the home?
Self-identity is everything in a society such as this. It can help your teen to figure out their authentic selves and how they fit into the world. So, take the time to gather as much information as you can from photos and newspaper archives to first-hand stories from the elderly and historical or cultural books and share this with your teen.
The number of teenagers and young adults that suffer from mental illness these days is astounding and only continues to rise. This is likely because children aren’t effectively taught how to handle their overwhelming emotions. Therefore, they are unable to handle the pressures and emotional stress that often comes with going to college. Before your teens graduate high school, begin working with them on how to maintain emotional wellness.
Teach them the importance of speaking up about what they’re going through and not being afraid of being judged. Talk to them about identifying emotional triggers and finding ways to cope whether it be eliminating the triggers or calming their emotions. Express the importance of healthy and unhealthy relationships and how it affects their health. It is equally important to start modeling these behaviors as well because your teenagers will often react to their overwhelming emotions just as you do.
Basic Life Skills
There are some things your teenager is going to have to know how to do once they enter college because you won’t be around to cover it for them anymore. Make sure that your college-bound teen has some basic life skills. They should know how to wash and dry their own clothes, clean up their spaces, go shopping for their needs, and prepare meals that are high in nutrition. Allow them to start participating in these activities with you and even taking on some of these responsibilities themselves to get a better understanding of how things are done.
Now here’s a big one – financial matters. Before your college-bound teen starts applying for schools, taking out student loans, or filling out credit card offers, it is important for them to have a positive relationship with money. Teenagers should know how to earn money, how to save it, how to budget, and how to manage their debt. In their junior or senior year of high school, you can teach them some basic financial matters by giving them earning opportunities, creating a budget, and helping them to set and keep savings goals. Perhaps your teen can help you at work once a week for a few bucks. Show them how to put some money aside for a rainy day, some aside for things they want, and how to budget the rest.
It’s scary to come to terms with the fact that your teenager is on their way to college. This means they are just a few short years away from entering adulthood. Though you’ve likely taught them a lot since they were born, as parents you want to make sure that your teens are prepared for this next phase in their lives. The sooner you teach them about who they are, emotional wellness, basic skills, and financial matters, the better these lessons stick with them which helps them get through college and adulthood easier while also putting your nerves at ease.