R.K. asks from Lewisville, TX on January 20, 2010
What Life Skills Do You Teach Your Teen?
OK, this might sound weird, but what needs to be taught to my teen such as laundry, banking, etc? She seems to be totally clueless about basic things related to cooking, home management, etc. Can parents of teens tell me what they have intentionally or unintentionally taught their teen for self sufficency? Also, if you know of any books or programs that would be great. I hope this makes sense.
Follow up; I am not talking about anything to do with respecting others or manners. I am talking about actually knowing how to do tasks that will need to happen to be independant eventually.
L.B. answers from Biloxi on January 20, 2010
I have a 13 year old son. He does his own laundry, washes the dishes (and we do not have a dish washer), takes care of our dogs, sweeps, mops, takes out the trash and I have him help me cook.
This all started when he turned 12 and woke up that day and thought he was grown. He then spent the rest of the day being disrespectful and rude to everyone around him. When we got home that evening I explained that if he wanted to act grown up then he could be grown up.
It has not always been easy but I have taught him that each person in the household must contribute to the household in order to help it run smoothly and to support each other. Since it is only the two of us he does a large share of the housework as his support since I provide all the money and pay for everything. I know, he is only 13, but the bottom line is he is learning life skills and will know how to wash laundry, dishes etc. when he does leave home. We have a running joke about cooking that he needs to learn to cook 5 things well to impress future girlfriends and help his future wife out.
Teach your teen basic life skills - they need to know how to care for their bodies, clothes and stuff, and be able to feed themselves a balanced meal. With that teach them good morals and respect for others and for society's laws. My son and I talk about current events and silly cartoons - there are life lessons in everything if you take the time to see them and talk about them. I share experiences from my own life in order to help him understand how actions beget consequences.
I am open with my son about our finances - always have been. He knows how much I make and what our bills are so when we cannot afford something or buy the latest whatever, he understands why. Oh, he may not like it, but he knows that sometimes we just cannot afford things. This has helped him learn the value of a dollar, as my Granny used to say.
We also volunteer and help others - serve lunch at a homeless shelter etc. This helps teens see the other side of life and learn compassion and community service.
For other resources search the web or check out your local library for books on raising teens. I have also found helpful books (for both my son and me) at the christian bookstore.
Good luck !!!! And don't forget - we made it through our teen years and so will they.
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T.T. answers from Dallas on January 21, 2010
I have a son that's 21 and a daughter that's 17 and BOTH OF THEM learned how to load a washing machine and dryer, wash dishes, vaccuum, make their bed, etc etc from the time they were old enough to pick up the dish and or push the vaccuum.
Now don't get me wrong, they had help when they were little but I taught them EARLY ON that everyone is a contributor to helping keep the place clean and tidy.
My kids have been cooking all their life. My grandmother and aunt started with me and my sister when we were like 6 or 7 baking cooking and pies and that turned to a good dinner casserole to what makes ramen noodles taste better.
You teen needs to learn how to balance a checkbook. They used to teach that in school and they don't anymore. They need to learn that if you put EVEN ONE red sock in a load of lights or whites...they WILL turn pink. They need to know how to feed themselves WITHOUT a microwave should anything ever happen to the electricity and they need to improvise. They need to know that the bed sheet DO NOT contrary to popular belief, change themselves...you do actually have to wash them. They need to know how to clean and disinfect a bathroom and a kitchen too...and hopefully NOT USING THE SAME SPONGE FOR BOTH (ew).
I cooked with them early, I let them watch me wash dishes early, I let them measure flour at 3 for cookies. I let my almost 3 year old mop the floor because it's a lesson he'll need to learn (and yes I redo it after he's done...but he likes the swiffer...so MOP AWAY SON MOP AWAY!!)
I allow him to have a chair next to me when I bake. I allow him to have a chair next to me when I'm washing dishes (he likes the bubbles) and we use a sleeping back with the older ones when they were little as a way to teach them how to make up a bed (just zip and smooth and voila...instant made bed)
It's ok if they are clueless about cooking, have them cook anyway. And if they can't fold a towel to save their life...that's ok too...have them fold it anyway.
Life leassons are learned early...
Smiles and good luck to you.
2 moms found this helpful
A.C. answers from Dallas on January 21, 2010
I'd just look at life in general and make a list of everything you do in a week, just everyday life....THAT'S what she needs to learn, because she's gonna be living everyday life. It is easier when started early, but I'm sure it's not too late.
I'm not a Martha Stewart type by any stretch of the imagination; not even pretending to be perfect, but what I've done is go to flylady just for the list of things that need to be done (housework list) and made my own weekly routine to make sure all those things get done every week, but as they work with my own schedule. I'd do that with her---even if she's just in a dorm or apartment, the floor needs to be cleaned occassionally, the toilets still get gross whether mom's there or not, etc. Doing this exercise with her will not only help with "household chores" but the exercise, when learned, can be carried over into all areas of life: looking at a list of things that need to be done, arranging them so they work, and creating a schedule to complete it is LEARNED and it is also invaluable in the workplace, in college where things aren't as rigid and mom's not there to supervise, in motherhood, etc.
An absolute must is finances. My son is 3 years old. He has a list of "chores" that he does and we do these things together. He gets 25 cents a day as his allowance. At the end of the week, we break some quarters so that he can put 10% into savings, and 10% to church (his choice, which is rewarded but not coerced), and 80% to do as he chooses. He has a bank that's divided into 3 parts to help with this. For your daughter's age, she should definately understand the saving/spending principals, but she also needs to know how to make a budget and stick with it (this takes practice; better to practice in the safety of your home than out in the world with credit cards thrown at college students everywhere they look, or in an apartment with bills). While making the budget, go through all expenses and see where the money's been going so she can know what needs to be fixed. She does need to know how to write checks, MUST know how to balance a checkbook b/c whether she writes checks or not, she can use it to track her credit card and debit spending.
Cooking is important. She doesn't need to be gourmet, but basic meals are important. I remember mom trying to teach me and then when I got my first home I got that real basic Betty Crocker (I think?) checkered cookbook, which has lots of helpful info in the front of the book (measuring info, what terms like "saute" mean, etc).
My dad made sure I knew how to change a tire and check fluids in the car, jump it off, etc. He made sure I had an emergency box packed in my trunk (fix-a-flat for an emergency , jumper cables, flashlight, oil, water jug, small blanket, basic first aid, etc). That's all I can think of at the moment....
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G.R. answers from Dallas on January 21, 2010
i dont have a teen but you can teach him do the laundry,wash the dishes,mop cooking,banking how to stick with a budget i am now 26 when i was about 10 my mom teach how to do our laundry so nobody do it for us also help around the house i get married at 17 years and i knew how to do everything and also cook is pretty good because in a situaction when you are alone you can be independant.
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M.R. answers from San Francisco on January 20, 2010
I think this is a process that just does not start when our children become teens. Yes of course some things can not be taught until they are older, such as cooking hot meals, laundry, etc. But teaching them life skills such as respect for their self and respect for others begins right away. We taught our girls they must always show respect for others as well as respect for their self. Life skills lessons start right away from being very simple to more complex as they can comprehend more detailed issues.
Hope this helps!