Parents often wonder whether their teens are developing all the skills they need to be successful in life. In response, we have provided you with ten life skills necessary for healthy teen development.
Ten critical Life Skills for Healthy Teen Development
1. Motivation to reach Personal Goals: Teens need to learn motivational life skills to achieve their personal goals. Therefore, it is necessary for parents to teach life skills involving initiative, engagement, willingness to try new things, persistence, strong work ethic, commitment, and a drive to pursue interests.
2. Executive functioning skills: The life skills teens can learn include how to plan, organize, execute and complete projects. Additionally, teens have to make informed decisions, exhibit sound judgment, develop strong concentration skills, and understand how to self-monitor themselves. And the best way a teen can learn these skills is by joining a group. Furthermore, it needs to be a group that teaches these disciplines. These groups can include a sports team, boy scouts, choir, or a drama club to name a few.
3. Independent Living Skills and Self-Reliance: Since self-management leads to independence, parents can train teens in this discipline by teaching certain life skills, which can include learning how to budget, cooking, doing laundry, using public transportation, and getting a job. By learning these life skills, they will also learn other relevant skills, such as filling out a job application, interviewing, accepting constructive criticism from their boss or supervisor and following directions.
Academic Skills, Physical Fitness and Healthful Habits
4. Academic skills: In addition, teens need to master basic academic life skills, which include developing study habits, communicating with their teachers, understanding the importance of education, and completing assignments on time. Because education is such an important component of self development, parents need to ensure that academics is a priority. As a result of their efforts, the return-on-investment will be invaluable.
5. Physical Fitness and Healthful Habits: Due to the fact that teens require a firm understanding of the value of maintaining a healthful life-style, incorporating life skills in the form of daily exercise, getting at least eight hours of sleep, and eating nutritious meals are a few examples.
Parents also need to get in the action by serving as the gatekeepers and this starts with them keeping a watchful eye if their teens are abusing drugs, taking unnecessary risks, overusing media, and eating unhealthy. If any of these rules are broken then parents have to enforce punishment.
Five more Life Skills to teach your Teen
6. Emotional Awareness: Teens emotional life skills are the cornerstone of their development. So it is important for them to emotionally react to situations appropriately. This can be accomplished by teaching them life skills like feeling empathy for others, controlling their impulses; and knowing how to cope with anger. This is why parents need to focus on being supportive coaches and role models for their teens. There should be frequent parent and teen discussions and these talks should entail being in touch with their feelings and being aware of how their behavior impacts their life.
7. Social skills: Parents can improve their teens social skills by evaluating, practicing, and improving upon how their teens interact with others. Some of these social skills involve sizing up interpersonal situations, cooperating and communicating with others, and resolving conflicts. It is no surprise that teens with strong social skills are more likely to thrive in school and extracurricular activities. They will also develop and maintain long lasting friendships.
8. Relationship Skills and Values: Parents should focus on developing their teen’s conversational skills. It is worth noting that a teen’s temperament plays a huge role in determining their appetite for social interaction and growth. Parents can impact change by providing teens guidance and role-modeling to foster positive development.
Moral Behavior, Integrity, Character, Spirituality, and Purposeful Life
9. Moral Behavior, Integrity and Character: Parents can play an integral part in their teens development in the areas of moral behavior, integrity, and character by teaching them how to stand up for what’s right, be conscientiousness, and take ownership for one’s actions. Parents should not be discouraged if their teens do not learn these life skills right away. Some teens will take unwarranted risks, lie and break rules. But in the long run, teens who are taught these life-skills at an early age stand an excellent chance to incorporate them into their core values when they mature.
10. Spirituality and a Purposeful Life: Spirituality can provide a teen structure required for a healthful life. Spirituality can cultivate a teen’s inner drive, ethics, resilience and purposeful focus in their life. As a result, teens living a spiritual and meaningful life will find it easier to accept and deal with adversities in their on-going pursuit for happiness.
About Dr. James Hughes, PhD., LMHC, CAP, CCJS
Dr. James Hughes has been directing and managing dual-diagnosis mental health and addiction programs from New Jersey to Florida for over 25 years. In addition, he is state licensed as a Mental Health Counselor. He is also certified as an Addiction Professional (CAP), Criminal Justice Specialist, Domestic Violence Counselor, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Exceptional Student Educator. And perhaps most noteworthy, Dr. Hughes is Internationally Certified as an Addiction Counselor.