Is your teen ready for the next zombie apocalypse but not to be an adult? It’s funny how we view them as growing up but never think of them as adults often until it’s too late to make a difference. From the moment they become pre-teens they are learning to be adults. Are you being intentional in teaching them what they need to launch successfully? There are lots of things you can do to be intentional in preparing your teen for adulthood. Here are some of them:
Let them make their own decisions
Now, this might be easier said than done. Yes, you should undoubtedly guide them in the right direction. But a big part of growing up is having the freedom to make your own decisions. You don’t want them to feel like they are being controlled after all, so make sure that you let them make their own decisions in life. Everyone makes mistakes and, of course, you don’t want them to make a decision that will ruin their life or anything like that. However, if they do make a small mistake (as everyone does), they will learn from it and you can be there to help them.
Learn when to back off
So this might seem like a difficult task – especially as you have raised them from a baby. But as they are growing through their teenage years to an adult, you need to know when you should back off. They don’t want to feel like everything in their life is being controlled and monitored by you so you should let them be in charge of appointments, schedules, etc. Otherwise, they won’t learn how to take responsibility for themselves.
Stop treating them like a child
You don’t want your teen to feel belittled. So you should speak to them with respect and start treating them like an adult. There is nothing more frustrating than a parent treating you like you are still five years old. So make sure that you discuss things with them in a tone which is suited to their age.
Set a good example
Ok, so this is something that you obviously should have been doing since they were younger. But when your child is a teen, they might be more susceptible to making poor decisions. You should model behavior that they can follow – now, this doesn’t mean that you should tell them how they should live their life. But you should show how to be a respectable adult and they should follow in your footsteps. You can do this by involving them in events in the community, reinforcing the importance of respect and showing them the benefits of charity.
Listen to their concerns
It’s easy to think that because you are the adult, you know what’s best for your child. Yes, for the most part, this is true, but you need to oversee their development rather than try to be in control of it. Listen to them and ask them if they are ok. Don’t push the issue, as this might back them back away. But if you show that you care and that you are there for them when they need it, they will have the confidence to come to you and tell you how they are feeling. Growing up is a stressful time and in order for them to have an easier transition into adulthood, they need to know they have your support.
Don’t try and control their future
Following on from the first point, you can’t be the one to decide their future. Ok, so you can suggest what to do. But at the end of the day, it’s their decision as to whether or not they should go to college, do an internship, etc. It’s their life, not yours. And the sooner you realize that the sooner they will feel that they have the independence they need to live their life to the fullest. You should talk to them about what they want to do and sit down and find out how you can help – without being too forceful or overbearing.
Teach them about money
Often, teens transition into adulthood without understanding the world of money. This isn’t always the case, but if your child doesn’t understand their finances, they won’t know how to budget or control their money. Their money is their responsibility, so you should guide them on the importance of keeping it safe. You can also guide them if they want to spend it on something you deem to be irresponsible but you shouldn’t belittle them and make it seem like it’s a bad idea. You need to find the delicate balance between guiding and negatively forcing them into making a decision (which is yours, not theirs).
Teach them how to do chores
For many, this is something that you implement from a young age. But, if you have always been doing the washing, cleaning, etc. it’s important that you teach your teen how to do it all. This way, when they inevitably leave the nest, they know how to look after themselves and respect the space they are living in. They need to be proactive after all.