As a parent with teenagers, you are probably going through an anxious time. The closer they get to adulthood, the more reliant they will be on the skills you have taught them since birth, and soon they will be ready to go out into the world. But will they be ready?
Sadly, it is never that simple. Despite all that independence, the teenage brain isn’t yet fully developed, and as I’m sure we can all remember, it is often the source of many poor decisions.
It’s only natural, of course, but there are some valuable lessons you can start to give your teens well in advance of them leaving home. And who knows, if it keeps them from making even one wrong decision, it’s going to be worth it. Let’s take a look at five of the most valuable life lessons you can give your teens.
Schools don’t teach consumer finance – it’s all down to you. And if you can teach your children the value of money from an early age, it can make a significant difference to their future lives. Introduce the concept of saving, and explain the impacts bad debts can cause. Teach your teens that credit is not their money, and always needs to be paid back within a given period – without question. And finally, make sure they understand the basics of investment – how it works, and how it can help them achieve their life goals. Teens tend to be impulsive when it comes to money – but they could be paying off their financial mishaps for many years to come.
Explain the power of alcohol
So, we already know that the teenage brain is apt to make bizarre – and sometimes harmful – decisions. Throw alcohol into the mix, and you have a potent recipe for disaster. Teen pregnancies and STDs, sensitive photos being taken, reputations being tarnished, and the occasional punch up are all potential results. And given your teens are likely to learn to drive within the next couple of years, some sobering stories about the dangers of drunk driving are likely to remain in their minds.
Cars are lethal weapons
While we’re on the subject of driving, it’s worth pointing out that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In fact, six teens died every year as a result of a car crash in 2014. So, if you want to ensure your child doesn’t end up as one of those statistics, be sure to encourage them to learn more about the dangers on the road. Something like the Graduated Driver Licensing Program is a very good idea, as it will help them learn that risk taking can end in a serious accident. It’s also worth pointing out the impact an auto accident can have on their lives, whether they are responsible or not. If someone else’s rash behavior on the road results in your teen being injured, car accident attorneys can help, of course. But with their lives still ahead of them, no amount of money could compensate for something like a loss of their legs, or severe brain trauma.
The art of taking responsibility
There is a school of thought that many parents bring up their kids to be overly privileged, and full of feelings that life owes them something. Perhaps, a better option might be to ensure that your teens take full responsibility for their own lives. Everyone makes mistakes, of course, but if your kids aren’t learning from them, something is going wrong. If your young adult children understand that life is there to be grasped, but it’s hard work getting there, you will be setting them up for a much more prosperous future.
Life is tough
Finally, if you can teach your teens to be resilient, they will get through anything life throws them – and in the vast majority of cases, it will be a lot. The art of not giving up is something that all parents should teach their kids, particularly when we are facing such turmoil in the world at the moment. No lives turn out as expected, and if your teen doesn’t develop the resilience to deal with disappointments, failures, and the hard knocks of life, you will spend the rest of yours worrying about them. All those negative impacts that occur in everyone’s life should always be turned to positives – another valuable lesson you can teach your teens to bring with them into their adult lives.
Is there anything you wish your parents had told you about life? Let everyone know about it in the comments section below!