Adulting Checklist: Preparing Your Teen for Adulthood
Preparing your teen for adulthood is always bittersweet. There’s the pride that wells up in us as we imagine what amazing things they’ll go on to do. There’s also a little sadness knowing they’ll be leaving the nest and moving on to a new chapter of their life.
No matter if you’re feeling more of the bitter or the sweet, preparing your teen to face the world out there is essential. You can give them a crucial foothold on the basics of life so that they can focus on and excel in other areas.
Use this list to ensure that you’ve done your job as a parent, and they should be ready to spread their wings.
We all know this a big one. Knowing how to do laundry (and do it correctly) will help keep your young adult smelling and looking much better. My brother’s college roommate asked to borrow laundry detergent from him once. When my brother gave him the bottle, his roommate pointed out that he had been using fabric softener, not detergent.
While physical mail can seem like a thing of the past, it’s going to be around a lot longer than any of us expect. Teach your teen how to use correct postage, address an envelope, and make their way around a post office. Your teen will feel less intimidated when they have something that requires physical mail.
If you haven’t already disclosed your family’s medical history to your child, now is a good time. Make them aware of medical issues that run in the family. This way they can make informed life decisions and keep an eye out for early signs of potential threats. In addition, teach them how to go about finding a reliable general physician and how to make doctor, dentist, and optometrist appointments.
Your child wants to learn about taxes. Yes, taxes. Unfortunately, public education doesn’t touch this ubiquitous topic. Yet, teens and young adults are aware that taxes are something they will have to deal with soon. Explain how they work, why they exist, and what they help do. Taxes pay for paved roads and firefighters, amongst many other great things.
5. Car Maintenance
If your child has a car or will get one someday, make sure they know a few basics of vehicle maintenance. How to change an oil filter, put on a spare tire, and check all the fluids are all they need to know. Make sure they do each of these tasks at least once. Even if they use a mechanic every time afterward, at least they’ll be informed on their vehicle.
Show your teen what it feels like and what it means to do good for others. Volunteering takes us out of our comfort zones and expands our perspective of the world. This awareness will help guide them as they venture out and carve their path. Preferably, this would be on more than one occasion when preparing your teen for adulthood.
Give your teen the rundown on what bills they may have to pay in the future. This list can include utilities, credit card debt, medical bills, mortgage, and more. Talking to them about the different types of bills will help them plan their living expenses.
Teaching your teen how to cook is crucial to their self-sufficiency and so much more. When I was younger, I would call my mom (and still do) asking her for some of her classic recipes that I could try out on my own. It’s nice to be able to recreate a little piece of childhood for dinner. Being able to provide food for themselves can help your teen stay healthier and be wiser with their money.
#9. Investing & Stock Market
Be open and honest with your teen about investing and the stock market. Have you tried and failed at the stock market? Made it big? Maybe you prefer a different investment vehicle like rental properties. Do you use a financial advisor? Whatever your beliefs and practices around investing are, show your teen how it can be done in a smart and useful way-not a get-rich-quick scenario. Think about reading a financial book together with your child.
Yes, reminiscing on good times and bad can give your teen a picture of what to do and what to avoid. Don’t only tell them glory day stories but open up and be real with them. What do you wish you had done differently? What are you proud that you went through? Be candid with them about mistakes you made when you were younger. Opening up like this will show them that it’s okay to try and fail or change directions.
After you’ve fully prepared your teen for adulthood, remember to let them start putting this advice into practice and make their own mistakes. It’ll be easier for them to learn and they’ll be able to avoid bigger consequences if they make some mistakes early. Enjoy the sweet few moments left with your teen before they go off to forge a life of their own.