Author Topic: Teaching teenagers how to adult?  (Read 2610 times)

Frugalicious

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Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« on: February 25, 2018, 11:21:19 AM »
I have a 17 year old daughter who is doing joint enrollment at high school and college.  She has a car for her 20 minute commute to college.  When she first got it, she had no idea how to pump gas, so I obviously had to show her.

I’m looking for some other ideas of things teenagers should learn to be self-sufficient adults. 

She has some very rudimentary cooking skills.  We have worked on budgeting and some housekeeping.  Tax prep will be coming up soon.  What other ideas do you guys have?

Better Late

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 11:48:07 AM »
This seems really obvious to adults, but having your kids make their own doctor, dentist, eye dr, dermatologist appts, etc and keeping them all organized can seem pretty daunting for teens/young adults. I think it's good practice for them to call-in the refills for any prescriptions themselves.  I still need to explain the very basics of co-pays, deductibles, and negotiated rates to my kids to get them introduced to the whole insurance world.

Lichen

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2018, 12:47:33 PM »
All basic transportation skills: Changing a tire, setting up emergency flares, checking fluids, taking a car to get the "codes" read at a parts store if it throws a check engine light, calling for a tow/roadside assistance.

Basic personal finance: Balancing a checkbook, understanding the different ways interest can be figured, understanding what a minimum payment is (and why it's bad to only make the minimum), understanding retirement account options. (As soon as she's 18, if she gets a job, she could be eligible for retirement plans).

Handling bureaucracy: Renewing car tags/driver's license/similar, dealing with the college offices (my son is doing a similar college in high school program. He must handle all issues on campus and registration on his own, although we are available for advice), and any other basic bureaucratic needs you may foresee. 

Researching basic things: This is a life skill many adults lack, the simple ability to Google. Show how to research insurance rates, travel deals, and anything else. We've really drilled it into DS to research everything before committing.

Cooking AND shopping: A few basic recipes and how to read a cookbook are essential life skills. Also, how to navigate a grocery store wisely. It's not as intuitive as many experienced adults think.

Personal info security: Online and in real life.

Medical needs: The above poster nailed it. We encourage DS to attend his checkups alone and to handle everything from scheduling to getting there and then doing any followup. We coach before appointment to come up with a question list for him to ask his doctor. Our pediatrician actually has a program to move teens into being self advocates and proactive for their own health. So many adults skip health visits or fail to get the most out the visits, simply because they either have white coat syndrome or don't know how to navigate doctor visits effectively.

Escalation skills: Sometimes we have to complain in life. Teaching how to properly escalate, whether it's due to poor customer service or someone at work/skill behaving in an out of bounds manner, is vital. I think this is especially true for women, whom don't always absorb this skill organically due to some vestiges of old fashioned sexism.

GizmoTX

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2018, 02:38:57 PM »
Laundry. It's pathetic how many college students don't know how & either pay expensive service fees, dress like slobs, or drag it home. DS started doing all of his at 14.

She should be paying for gas with either a credit card or cash, not a debit card. Start a basic credit card while she's still at home to be supervised, ideally with no fee & some cash back reward. You'll probably have to be on the account but then you can check online periodically, & let her know you will be doing so. APR doesn't matter because she should be paying it off herself in full & on time, even if this is from an allowance that you provide. By college, DS was handling all his expenses except the tuition that we paid directly.

Laura33

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2018, 03:08:16 PM »
Why donít you pay attention to all the stuff you do in a normal month to make your own list?  I think we tend to take for granted all the little stuff we do all the time, so itís easy to forget what we used to not know.

E.g., feeding yourself:  thatís not just basic cooking, but how to plan a menu around what you have and whatís cheapest and make a balanced meal, making a list, how to grocery shop (looking at unit prices, being aware of all the tricks like putting appealing crap on the end caps, etc.), how to read a recipe and scale up/down, etc.  One thing I am doing is doing the planning and list-making with DD, and then putting the requisite amount of money on her debit card and sending her to the store - she has been shopping with me for years, so I was surprised how intimidated she was figuring out what is where on her own.

Also, taxes.  What documents you need, where you find the instructions, what numbers go where, what documents you attach (if filing by mail), etc.  And just forms in general - how to fill out a W-4, how to open a brokerage account, how to make a secure password and manage your passwords and other private information.  How to set up a basic filing system at home to keep your documents organized, and a tickler system so you know what bills need paid when (assuming you canít auto-pay everything of course - and how to set up auto-pay!).

How not to be a dick.  E.g., drive in the right lane until you need to pass, use your turn signals, and get back after you complete the pass - and maintain your speed so youíre not pulling back in front and then slowing down.  Donít walk three abreast down the middle of the sidewalk, and move to make room for people passing from ahead and behind.  Say please and thank you to waitstaff and tip generously.  How to complain/speak up for yourself politely and professionally. 

And finally:  how to ask for help.  If there is one thing my DD hates above all else, it is asking an adult for help.  I need to demonstrate to her (over and over again) that even adults donít actually know everything, and that it is entirely appropriate to ask questions when you donít know where something is or what to do next.
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profstache

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018, 03:15:30 PM »
The list is great so far.

I will chime in as the divorced mom of a 15 and 17yo with a busy career-- my motto has been that as soon as the kids are capable of doing something for themselves, it becomes their responsibility.  Laundry since age 6 or 7, which started when my daughter was angry that her favorite outfit wasn't clean; changing their own sheets and towels; packing school lunches; filling in all paperwork and bringing it to me for just a signature; managing their relationship w/ their teachers and their grades; scheduling their own appointments, etc.  It helps that we live in a (very) bikeable town, so my kids know if they need something from the grocery or hardware store they can grab from my 'petty cash' and go get it themselves; get themselves to the orthodontist, etc.  I probably haven't given them enough chores that benefit the family as a whole rather than just themselves, but they are pretty self-sufficient at this point. [Downside is sometimes they think I don't care about them as much as their friends' moms, but I see my older one begins to understand].

They have been working towards 'adulting' for a while, and it builds confidence over time (both for them and for me).  My daughter, who is young for her grade, was offered the chance to do her first semester of college abroad.  It was a little daunting for us since she was only 17, but ultimately I knew she would be ok. When we visited Paris for her 16th bday I required *her* to navigate us all over the city on the Metro and be our translator (she speaks French and I don't).  She had an amazing time in Europe this fall and the confidence to travel about on weekends.

And my friends, *she asked me* if I would please have our financial guy set her up a Roth IRA to invest some of her summer barista $.  That kid is going to be ok :)

Need2Save

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018, 03:22:33 PM »
I'll add a few that came up recently for our 19 year old above the obvious pay check mechanics, filing taxes, filling gas and filling air in your tires, etc.

How to print a boarding pass for a plane and/or train or bus ride.
How to call a taxi and/or order an Uber for a ride from said plane/train ride to final destination.
Also related - using Google maps to measure time and total distance on the other end of travel plans.
Finally - Yes, you do need to bring your driver's license with you when traveling even when you don't plan to drive yourself for id purposes.

Sibley

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2018, 06:38:51 PM »
Not sure if this was listed, but basic handyman skills. Hammer, screwdriver, drill. Don't need a ton, but at least enough to assemble Ikea furniture. Unclog a (lightly) clogged drain. Plunge a toilet.

Basic sewing skills. Sew on a button. Small holes, hem repair.

Basic first aid. Covers minor stuff, or keeps things under control until you can get to a medical professional. And you need to be able to recognize when it's minor and when you need help, and how quickly.

bogart

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2018, 07:46:27 PM »
Great suggestions so far.  Something I didn't learn for years and wish I'd known as a college kid (and beyond) was how to get home/away from somewhere if the person or people I'd been counting on to give me a ride, no longer seemed like a good choice (drinking, seemed threatening, etc.).  In this day and age I guess that would usually mean Uber/Lyft, though for me it would have meant calling a cab.  Also, just in general, to know and be aware that if I wasn't happy about being somewhere, I could just ... leave ... even if my friends (who I'd been counting on to give me a ride) didn't want to yet.  And I definitely concur that an almost-adult should have and use a credit card, in a supervised and responsible manner.  You can get in a lot of trouble with those things fast if you use them wrong.

I'd be inclined to prioritize mundane, routine things (laundry) over less frequent, if nonetheless important things (taxes).  Helping an adult kid do their taxes the first few times seems reasonable to me, whereas there are lots and lots and lots of opportunities to practice doing laundry.

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2018, 07:35:45 AM »
If theyíre in a paid activity, maybe give them the $ to pay for it and have them handling paying the bill?

Lots of good ideas so far. Iíll add teaching them to garden, butcher meat, etc if thatís something you do. My kids are 11, 10, and 8 and know more about plants than most adults. I havenít pushed the butchering on them so far but may when theyíre a bit older and can handle a knife better.
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calimom

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2018, 06:05:26 PM »
@englishteacheralex had a thread awhile back with a great discussion on just this. Maybe she'll dig it up and share. :)

Dee18

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2018, 06:42:50 PM »

apply for a job
work a summer job for a non-relative--17 is the perfect age
mail a package
open a bank account
clean an oven
clean a fridge
wash a car
wax a car
check the oil
check the tire pressure
replace cabin filter in car (or some other beginner item)
cook two yummy breakfasts and two yummy dinners
pick out produce
hang a picture
repair a dripping faucet following youtube
change a toilet flapper
replace a battery in a smoke detector
read a map
use mass transit
exchange something at a store
go to the dentist alone
go to the doctor alone
use a hammer
basic sewing
diaper a baby
feed a toddler
do the dishes if someone cooks for you
help out when a guest anywhere
change the sheets on a bed
ironing

Clookie

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2018, 02:10:56 PM »
Teach them how to use a calendar, a planner and how to best manage their time. This is an invaluable skill that most adults lack.
Also, teach them to respect other people's time tha same way they respect money.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2018, 09:05:52 AM »
I'll re-vote for research things. They have no idea what stuff costs, and that's OK since up until now you've taken care of everything. It won't really gel until they are out on their own but at least they will have some cost numbers floating somewhere in their hormone crazed heads.

ketchup

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2018, 09:31:20 AM »
I'll re-vote for research things. They have no idea what stuff costs, and that's OK since up until now you've taken care of everything. It won't really gel until they are out on their own but at least they will have some cost numbers floating somewhere in their hormone crazed heads.
This is a good one.  We're now in the information age, where nearly any information you could possibly want is a couple clicks or taps away.  Building that research intuition has helped me with almost everything in the life.  Whether it's "Which tax bracket am I in?" "What the hell is chemisorption?" or "How do I fix DNS?", being able to go down a rabbit hole of information and come out with something useful is a valuable skill (and helped set me up for a decent career in IT).

elliha

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2018, 02:04:49 PM »
I think that learning by trial and error is important for kids and teens so I would probably just treat her as an adult and ask her to do things you know she can do or at least suspect she can do without that much instructions: "I am sorry, I will be late and I need you to help me prepare dinner for you and me/the whole family. It doesn't have to be fancy, just make us something" "I need you to pick up the following items..."

As to learning I think that a basic lesson on money, household chores, some DIY and car stuff is fine but I think that a lot of the teaching should be given if the teen want it. Of course, you should tell them that this is expected of them to know and you are willing to help them and that you really think that this is important and that if they pass on the offer that you expect them to obtain this knowledge on their own once they are adults and that you will expect that they will not screw this up. As a teen I would personally have preferred to learn on my own most of the time and I think that unsolicited teaching can be interpreted as nagging and make the young adult do things the wrong way on purpose. While learning things while still at home is a great thing, most things are not really that hard to learn if you are motivated.

Hirondelle

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2018, 12:36:40 AM »
Great suggestions so far! I wanted to chime in with one of my own experiences from my teenage years. For me, it took me till my parents were gone to realize how much really had to be done. This happened when I was about 16 years old and my parents + brother went on vacation. I had joined them for the first week, but was home to work my summer job for the 2nd week.

So when I got home, I had to do my own laundry, go to the supermarket and think of what to eat, cook the food myself, etc. These were all tasks I was able of doing, but doing them all at the same time without any help was a different level of self-sufficiency. For me it was a valuable lesson to appreciate the things my mother did that I took for granted plus I improved my own skills. Important to make sure your kids are able to do all the tasks before leaving them alone though :)

former player

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2018, 02:15:50 AM »
16 replies and no-one's mentioned sex yet?

I don't mean "where do babies come from", I hope a 17 year old already knows that.

I do mean: consent, contraception and diseases.

By consent, I hope your teenager has been told that everyone, all the time, has the right to say "No".  And that this means two things: it means that they always have the right to say no, and it means everyone else always has the right to say no to them.  It also means being aware of whether the other person has the capacity to say no, by not being underage or impaired, and not putting oneself in a position where the question comes up when they themselves are impaired.  (No assuming that your special little flower is not a potential rapist or abuser, please.)

By contraception, I mean all the parties involved being responsible for contraception, discussing it and agreeing it before sex.  Put it into their heads that if they are too embarrassed to talk about contraception with a potential partner it means that they should also be too embarrassed to undertake any activity with that partner that could lead to pregnancy.  And ideally that the parties involved also agree what to do if an unwanted pregnancy happens despite using contraception.  (Girls: don't have procreational sex with anyone whose foetus you would not be willing to either give birth to or abort.  Boys: don't have procreational sex with anyone whose baby or abortion you would not be willing to support according to whichever they choose.)

By disease I mean the long list of sexually transmitted diseases, means of transmission (being sure to tell them this includes oral sex), symptoms or lack thereof, and means of finding treatment.
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LaineyAZ

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2018, 08:23:55 AM »
elliha,
Have to disagree with you.  Of course most teens would rather be out with their friends or playing video games or whatever, but parents only have a short window to teach them life skills.  I like the philosophy of steady "coaching" or "mentoring" not, Hey, figure it all out for yourself.

Another example is how to deal with authority figures.  One co-worker had a teen son who had a clash with his sport coach.  He was unsure how to deal with it and almost quit the team.  His dad discussed it with him, including advising on how to talk it over with the coach.  That's what his son did and it worked out well, and he continued to play on the team.  One of those intangible life lessons - not how to change a tire - but one that everyone needs to learn.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2018, 08:46:52 AM »
I work with a lot of millennials. The thing I notice the most is spending that they simply donít need to do. And I donít think they realize that it could hurt them later. So, a few adulting lessons Iíd add are:

- Make your own lunch and bring it to school/work every day (avoid the DoorDash spending trap)
- Get a credit card and pay it off every month
- Stay away from the iPhone X and other fancy gadgets
- Learn to buy a good used car on Craigís list
- Always put something in an employer 401k. Learn how to roll over old 401ks.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 08:52:51 AM by Tuskalusa »

elliha

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2018, 09:04:45 AM »
elliha,
Have to disagree with you.  Of course most teens would rather be out with their friends or playing video games or whatever, but parents only have a short window to teach them life skills.  I like the philosophy of steady "coaching" or "mentoring" not, Hey, figure it all out for yourself.


Sorry, did I mention being with friends of video games? No, I certainly did not, that was all in your head. I think that I am much more in agreement with you that you think. I think that creating a good relationship with your kid is key and that the type of continuous learning you describe is great but I don't see the point of wasting time on teaching things the kid is not interested in when most things are relatively easy to learn on your own once you are motivated. Parents are not gods and they don't actually know everything and learning that you can figure things out yourself is a great skill. I am glad my parents let me figure some things out on my own, especially since I was unlucky enough to lose them early. I had tons of great discussions with my parents about things in life too and I am grateful for them and the work they did do to give me good values and a realistic view of the world. That work starts much earlier though and was mostly done by 17 in my case and I would assume that would be the case for most people.

What I mostly object to is lecturing a child on something they are not interested in, I see very little value in that. Usually it is just in one ear and out the next and your relationship suffers. Sure, if something is extremely important you might still have to teach your kid something they want to hear about but that should be saved for those extremely important matters and not the norm.

brett44ss

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2018, 09:19:33 AM »
Username checks out :)
16 replies and no-one's mentioned sex yet?

I don't mean "where do babies come from", I hope a 17 year old already knows that.

I do mean: consent, contraception and diseases.

By consent, I hope your teenager has been told that everyone, all the time, has the right to say "No".  And that this means two things: it means that they always have the right to say no, and it means everyone else always has the right to say no to them.  It also means being aware of whether the other person has the capacity to say no, by not being underage or impaired, and not putting oneself in a position where the question comes up when they themselves are impaired.  (No assuming that your special little flower is not a potential rapist or abuser, please.)

By contraception, I mean all the parties involved being responsible for contraception, discussing it and agreeing it before sex.  Put it into their heads that if they are too embarrassed to talk about contraception with a potential partner it means that they should also be too embarrassed to undertake any activity with that partner that could lead to pregnancy.  And ideally that the parties involved also agree what to do if an unwanted pregnancy happens despite using contraception.  (Girls: don't have procreational sex with anyone whose foetus you would not be willing to either give birth to or abort.  Boys: don't have procreational sex with anyone whose baby or abortion you would not be willing to support according to whichever they choose.)

By disease I mean the long list of sexually transmitted diseases, means of transmission (being sure to tell them this includes oral sex), symptoms or lack thereof, and means of finding treatment.

mamagoose

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Re: Teaching teenagers how to adult?
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2018, 01:23:38 PM »
Get the book "How to Raise an Adult" - it has lists for each age group on what they should realistically be able to do for themselves. My sister was a teen mom, and her now teenage daughter can barely remember her own SSN, so my sister reminds her "when I was your age I had to remember both of our SSNs, plus navigate the WIC benefits and Medicaid and make all your baby appointments, etc".

Things I've seen my own teenage brother struggle with upon entering college as a heavily sheltered youth:
-Laundry (when to use liquid detergent or pods, how much will I need for the whole semester, what do I do while waiting for the machine to finish?)
-Dating (Tinder has really changed the game)
-Traveling Alone (printing a boarding pass at home before getting to the airport, oh wait the printer's broken, let me go chase down another printer on campus, oh now I missed my airport shuttle bus so I have to Uber 45 minutes to the airport, oh now I find out I can just print the boarding pass here at a kiosk too if my home printer is broken)
-Budgeting (i.e. how to not blow hundreds a month at Panda Express b/c that's where your classmates like to eat lunch every single day)
-Daily Planning (meeting deadlines for assignments, scheduling tests and exams, time management, taking time for self care)
-Sleep Habits
-Nutrition (unlimited meal plans also come with ice cream, soda, cookies, chips...)
-Staying On Top of Long Term Plans (on campus housing applications due by October for freshmen? They just got there! Guess who has to live off campus next year.)
-Trusting Sources of Information (my brother gets most of his info from Reddit sadly. He got the wrong due dates for college apps from third-party aggregator websites like CollegeBoard, and missed scholarship opportunities because of this. He would not have gotten admitted to the college he now attends if I hadn't shown him how to get the information straight from the horse's mouth on the official .EDU site for the college.

A great take-away from that book is that once a kid is physically able to do a task, if you do it FOR them, you're harming them. You're taking away their sense of "agency" and their belief that they CAN do it on their own. Remember the difference between enabling and helping: enabling is when you are putting in more effort than they are to achieve their goals, helping is when you're contributing no more than the same effort they are.
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.