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What Your Teen Needs To Know Before They Leave Home

Lori Freson

Responsibilities & Values

In today’s world, we guard and protect our children like never before, much to their own detriment.  There are many things they need to know how to do and how to handle by the time they leave home.  If you don’t teach them, they will not know.

Here is what your child needs to know and how to teach them:

  1. How to manage money.  Get your teen a debit-type credit card, and put a certain amount of money on it weekly or monthly.  Talk to your teen about how to budget and manage money, and then watch them figure it out.  They won’t get it right away, as they will likely spend it all quickly.  But, over time, they will figure it out.  Don’t wait until they leave home to start teaching this.
  2. How to solve a problem with a teacher.  Don’t step in and rescue your teen every time he has an issue with a teacher.  You can give advice, and then let him take your advice or not, and learn on his own how to stand up for himself, and be proactive in communicating with his teachers.
  3. How to deal with his emotions.  All of them.  Even pain and anger.  Don’t try to distract your teen from experiencing his own pain and anger.  It is necessary to be allowed to feel your feelings, and to learn how to cope and express yourself appropriately.  That is where you can help.  Just listen and be supportive, and tell your child if he’s being inappropriate.
  4. How to clean up and do laundry.  Stop cleaning up after your teen.  He is old enough to make his own bed, hang up his towel, and put his clothes in the hamper.  Teach him how to do laundry and how to put it away.  Make him clean up after himself in the kitchen, and even do all the dishes sometimes.  Nobody will be there to do if for him when he leaves home.
  5. How to cook some basic meals.  Don’t wait another day.  Start teaching now.  Otherwise, your teen will eat fast food for every meal when they leave home.
  6. Lastly, and most importantly, your teen needs to know how and when to ask for help.  Whether he needs help academically, socially, financially or emotionally, your teen needs to know whom to call and when.  He needs to know that there is no shame in asking for help; rather it is a sign of maturity to recognize when you need help.

Fostering independence and functionality are necessary gifts that you can bestow upon your teen before they leave home.  Don’t forget how crucial this is to their overall success.

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Lori Freson

Lori Freson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California. She has been working in the mental health field since 1997, and has been a licensed therapist since 2002. Lori currently works in her own thriving private practice in Encino and Sherman Oaks, where she serves the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas.