It can be sad. But it’s also quite rewarding to see your kids leave the house and build a life of their own, especially if you know you’ve provided them with the knowledge they need to succeed. If your kids are a few years away from leaving the nest, then this is the time to teach the lessons that can help them thrive when they start their brand-new lives.
Here are some lessons you can teach today about safety, money, and self-sufficiency so you can be confident that they’ll thrive on their own.
Teach them to deal with stress and conflicts
A few things are certain in life; one of them is that your teens will experience some hardship and stress as they find jobs, start families, and buy and move into a new home. You can teach them how to cope with that stress so they can move forward and take challenges head-on. Teach your kids the strategies for dealing with stress, starting with recognizing mental signs of anxiety like irritability and withdrawal from friends, and physical symptoms, such as headaches and insomnia.
Next, teach them about the various ways they can work through their stress. For instance, writing in a journal before bed to get out their negative thoughts and sleep through the night. Exercise and time outside can also be beneficial because running through the forest or hiking allows one to breathe fresh air and think through their problems. Also, teach them the importance of going to a counselor or finding a support group if they can’t shake their stress.
When your teens get out into the world, they may find that they occasionally have conflicts with other people at home or work, and you can teach them about conflict resolution so they can get through these challenging situations. Sometimes, they may get into an argument and find that pausing and taking a breath before reacting can help them to formulate a proper response that will de-escalate the situation. You should also teach them about active listening and being empathetic to the other person’s point of view, so they can understand their feelings and react accordingly.
Teach money and budgeting
Next to handling stress, learning how to use debit cards, eliminate wasteful spending, and otherwise handle money are among the most important lessons you can teach your teens. Begin by educating them on how to plan and create a budget by being aware of all the money they have coming in and every bill they pay on a recurring basis so they can be ready to pay the bills when the time comes. Teach them that there may be times when they have to cut costs or spend less money throughout one month to pay a bill. Show them how it’s done by leading by example in your own life.
Even if they’re not yet 18 years old and can’t technically take out a credit card, you can teach your kids about the idea of credit and why building it is vital for a life of important purchases. One way you can tell that your teen may be ready to start building credit and paying back what they owe is by looking at how responsible they are in other areas of their life, like their homework or chores.
When you think they’re ready, you can put them as an authorized user on your account, enforce a spending limit, and see how they do. When they turn 18, consider cosigning on their own card so you can keep an eye on it and continue to teach valuable lessons even if they’re out of the house.
Finally, teach them about the importance of saving money for the future and finding ways to eliminate unnecessary costs, especially when money is tight. Tell them about the value of putting a percentage of their paycheck immediately into a savings account and how a high-interest account can help them earn money just by being responsible. Also, try to teach them the skills that can help them to spend less, like how to cook so they spend less on restaurants and how to sew so they can spend less on tailors and new clothes.
Teach them to stay safe
A final important lesson is teaching your kids how to be safe when they’re out there on their own. Teach them many of the common-sense lessons that they should remember when they go out in public or late at night. Teach them how they should always have their cell phone on them so they can call for help when in need and how to stay in well-lit areas. Most importantly, remind them that even though they’re independent now, they can still always call you for help when they feel scared or threatened.
It’s also essential to constantly remind them how to stay safe on the road and what to do if they’re in a pinch while behind the wheel. If you’re equipped with these skills yourself, then teach them how to change a tire and check the fluids so their car runs smoothly. Also, teach them about distracted driving and how they should always keep their eyes on the road and not drive with too many people at once so they can concentrate.
This may also be a time to teach them about the value of insurance. They’ll need car insurance for their vehicle, health insurance for their well-being, and life insurance for their family’s future. In addition to knowing that it’s important to have insurance in the chance of an unforeseen issue, they’ll also learn about how it’s another cost they’ll need to factor into their budget.
Further, they need to know how to stay safe when they move into their own place. This could be something as simple as understanding the dangers of chemical drain cleaners, which are toxic when inhaled or touched and can damage the plumbing. Other lessons include things we sometimes take for granted as adults, such as locking the doors, keeping batteries in smoke detectors, never pouring water on a grease fire, and putting rock salt on the walkway when it ices over in winter.
These are all incredibly valuable lessons to teach your teens before you let them go live their own lives away from home. Teach them everything you know, and you can feel confident they’ll do well when they fly the coop.