Part of the role of parents is to prepare kids to live on their own. You might not be thinking about that when your child is a toddler, but once the teen years arrive, it's time to start getting him ready to function independently. You'd never want to send him out in the world unprepared, so the teen years are an ideal time to teach him skills he'll need for a lifetime.
Teaching your teen to manage his money and make sound financial decisions is vital before he heads off to college or enters the work force. Help your teen open a bank account and teach him how interest works and how to balance a checkbook. These skills help ensure that he doesn't spend more than he has or he'll have to pay some hefty fees. If you feel comfortable cosigning, give your teen a credit card and teach him that it isn't free money and that he'll actually pay more for an item after figuring in the interest. Help your teen create a budget with his money, no matter how much or how little he has, so he can learn to plan his finances and pay his bills.
Finding a Job
Whether your teen is finishing high school and looking for a part-time job to pay for college or he's still in high school and wants some spending money of his own, teaching him proper job search skills will serve him well in the future. Teach your teen to create a resume and fill out a job application. Role-play a job interview to help your teen gain confidence when he gets a call back for employment. Practice speaking respectfully, sitting up straight, shaking hands and thanking a potential employer. Teach your teen how to negotiate a fair salary. Having a job also has the benefit of teaching your teen time management skills and good work ethics.
If you cringe just thinking about cleaning your teen's bathroom, it's time to teach him the fine art of keeping house. Once he moves into a dorm room or his own apartment, you aren't going to clean up after him and he needs to know how to do it himself. Teach your teen which cleaning supplies to use for each job, including scrubbing toilets and sinks, mopping floors, washing windows and dusting. Show him how to separate, wash and fold his laundry. Take him grocery shopping and teach your teen to budget for food, buy ingredients for a menu and throw in some cooking lessons to round out his skills. Your teen will also benefit from knowing how to check the oil in his car, change a tire and jump-start his car's battery.
Your teen probably remembers to brush his teeth and take a shower on his own, but once he's living in his own home, he'll be responsible for making and keeping his own appointments. Provide your teen with his insurance information and phone numbers for his doctor and dentist. Teach him how to set up his appointments and who to call if he's sick or hurt. Reinforce personal hygiene and safety and let him practice any medication routines he's on.