For teens and adolescents, developing life skills may be the last thing on their list of priorities. But for an age group that’s slowly becoming more independent from their parents, life skills like communication, budgeting, and emotional regulation are essential. A recent poll shows that as many as 74 percent of teens aren’t confident that they know how to manage finances.
Adulthood comes with numerous challenges that can be difficult to navigate, whether your teen plans to move away for college or find a job and live on their own. Since many of these skills are rarely taught in school, parents and caregivers need to step up and help their teens develop important skills. That being said, it’s worth taking a look at some of the life skills teens should develop and how they impact mental health.
Emotional Regulation Skills
Let’s start with the most obvious: emotional regulation. This category of life skills includes various components, from managing stress to expressing intense emotions in a healthy manner.
- Deep breathing: one of the most common stress management techniques out there, deep breathing is designed to calm the mind by relaxing the body. It works by calming your sympathetic nervous system and stress response.
- Mindfulness: Today’s teens are exposed to various issues like fear of missing out and scrolling addictions. By practicing mindfulness, your teen can be more aware of their present experience instead of being judgmental.
While these are a good place to start, you can help your teen build better emotional regulation strategies by taking them to a professional. Schedule an appointment at a nearby South Florida Mental Health Treatment Center to learn more.
Communication and Interpersonal Skills
As your teen starts developing new relationships, they’ll need to practice better communication to sustain these friendships and create a sense of understanding. Some interpersonal skills to teach them include:
- Setting boundaries with your teens establishes a safe environment in which they can thrive. At the same time, it teaches them about responsibilities and consequences. It prepares them for the idea that there are limits on how they can and can’t behave in a given situation.
- Using active communication: Many people associate communication with talking, but it also includes listening to the other person. Teaching your teen to listen, pay attention, and engage with others allows them to show that they value the other person’s opinions.
Financial Management Skills
It’s no secret that your finances are tied to your mental health and that financial insecurity is among the leading causes of disorders like major depression. Some of the skills you should teach your teen are:
- Budgeting: Most teens only have to spend their allowance on things like entertainment and clothes, so it becomes tricky once they need to factor in other expenses like utility bills and groceries. Teaching your teen to prepare a budget by calculating how much money is coming in and going out each month is a basic skill. Then, they can divide funds to avoid running into tight spots down the line.
- Saving: Few teens think about their future in terms of finances, which means they rarely account for future emergencies and bigger goals. Encouraging them to put money in a savings account each month allows them to prepare for sudden expenses.
- Building a credit score: Your credit score can determine your ability to get a loan, a new car, or even land a job. So, it’s essential to teach your teen about credit scores and interest rates to help them build good credit early on.
Also, read about The Health Benefits of Educational Toys for Children
Nutritional Awareness and Exercise
You can’t expect teens to make the best decisions for their health. But considering the impact of poor diets and sedentary lifestyles on our mental health, the impact of nutritional awareness and exercise can’t be ignored.
- Cooking: While your teen thinks they can survive on a diet of chips and instant noodles, they should know about the importance of balanced nutrition. Teaching them to cook or enrolling them in a cooking class can help them learn to chop vegetables, cook different meats, and prepare balanced meals.
- Exercise: A good workout can do wonders for your mind and body. Whether your teen enjoys sports, dancing, or a morning walk, it’s important that you encourage them to make it a consistent part of their routine.
Research shows that poor sleep can affect teens in many ways, including a disrupted performance at school and a higher risk of major depression. Teaching your teen better sleep hygiene practices can help prevent issues like sleep deprivation.
There’s evidence to prove that teens who develop important life skills feel less anxious and depressed. In fact, they’re also more resilient in stressful situations. That’s why it’s important to teach your teen skills like emotional regulation, nutritional awareness, and other effective communication.