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The day is inevitable, but it’s still one that all parents dread; the day when your teen begins the process of moving out and tackling life on their own.
This process is emotional for everyone and includes more than a few concerns and worries.
For most teens the idea of transitioning away from the family home is exciting. Leaving home is like a dream come true.
They imagine a life with more freedom, fewer rules, and a grand idea that their new life will be infinitely better once they are out from under the watchful eyes of their parents.
However, as adults, we know that the reality rarely resembles the dream.
Many teens are in for a rude awakening when they find themselves faced with work schedules, the confusion of banking, living within a budget, and all the other surprises that come with being an adult.
5 Parenting Tips to Help Teens Leaving Home
If you have a teen, who is nearing that all important wing-spreading age, these are a few ways that you can help them make the transition a whole lot easier.
1. Encourage Your Teen to Get a Job
A part-time job is one of the best ways for your teen to learn many of life’s lessons.
They’ll be expected to show up on time. They’ll be expected to follow the rules and directions. And, they’ll learn humility and patience, especially if that job is in the retail or customer service industry.
A job is also a great way for teens to learn the basics of running of a business, no matter their role with the company.
They’ll also start learning how to balance their time as they’ll need to coordinate work with homework and time they want to spend hanging out with friends.
Of course, your teen will be thrilled by the money they’re earning but therein lies the next lesson; what he or she should do with that money.
2. Learning How to Budget
Now that your teen has money of their own they might feel that a spending spree is in order each time they receive a paycheck. This kind of behavior should be nipped in the bud.
Of course, your teen has the right to spend some of the money they earn, but now is the time to help them establish a budget.
First, start by helping your teen open a bank account with a debit card. Then ask them to write a list of their monthly expenses.
For instance, if they’re using the family car to go to and from work then expenses like gas and a contribution to the insurance payments are in order. A contribution to the family cell phone plan might also go on the expense list.
Once your teen learns how to balance expenses and disposable income, they’ll likely decide to take their money much more seriously. These are lessons they can learn from having an allowance. But if they’ve put in the hard hours at their job, they’ll be even more careful with their money.
3. Suggest Volunteer Options
If school or other issues prevent your teen from having a job, a volunteer position is the next best thing.
They’ll learn the same responsibilities as they will from a paying job, but the rewards of volunteering can be much more valuable than a paycheck. Volunteering allows your teen to see aspects of life they might not get the exposure to otherwise.
For instance, volunteering at a homeless shelter or an after-school program for at-risk youth will help your teen learn more about compassion and the very real struggles that many families face.
Also, volunteer work can be great for developing skills for future resumes and for including in college application essays. This work will both make them a better person and let them start on the right foot for the rest of their life.
4. Encourage Household Chores
Your child has likely had some form of household chores for many years but as they prepare to leave the nest it’s important that they learn how to tackle the big stuff.
Laundry is always a great place to start. Do they know how to sort clothes by color and fabric type? Do they know what clothes can go in the dryer and what clothes need to be line dried?
Having them do their own laundry leaves them ultimately responsible for the favorite white shirt that is now accidentally pink. And, you can be sure they won’t make the same mistake again.
5. Consider Boarding School
For some teens, college isn’t the first time they leave home.
For a variety of reasons, teens across the United States attend boarding schools. Many different types of boarding schools exist, from a military academy to a school that focuses on robotics.
Whether boarding school is the right choice for your teen due to academic or behavioral reasons, this time away from the family allows them the independence which they did not get at home.
You might also try summer camps or other short-term times for them to be away from home and learning responsibility.
Raising a teen to be an independent adult is not an easy task, but the hard work pays off in the long run, for both parents and teens.
Someday, when your teen is an adult, you’ll be able to really appreciate your hard work as you see how they have become successful adults that contribute to society. Who knows, someday they may have to return the favor and take care of you.
It all starts with a successful launch from the nest.
Your teen may be apprehensive or excited about leaving home. But either way, there’s a lot to learn about being an adult. Use some of these tips to help your teen make the transition as smoothly as possible.
Over to You
Is your teen getting ready to leave the nest? What last-minute lessons do you think they need to learn? What’s something someone taught you that you think has been most-helping in your adult life? What are some ways you can prep your younger children to be more responsible adults when the time comes for them to leave home?