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Skills to Boost Your Teens Ability to Navigate Adulthood

Help your children learn so that they can successfully negotiate the wide world that awaits them after high school.

By Kari OakleyPublished 4 years ago 3 min read

Preparing your kids to leave the nest is an 18+ year job that sometimes seems impossible. If you have ever imagined that your child would be living with you forever because he or she seems to lack so much common sense, you are not alone. Along with being able to balance a bank account and read a recipe, there are some soft skills that you can

help your children learn so that they can successfully negotiate the wide world that awaits them after high school.


The number skill that most employers look for when they hire is communication. Excellent communication skills are a must in the modern world, but teens need help understanding that this goes beyond just being able to post on Instagram. Communication means giving a firm handshake, looking someone in the eye when you ask or answer a question and writing coherently with appropriate capital letters and punctuation. Help your teen understand that whether they are looking for a job, investigating alternatives to college or applying for school, how they present themselves in written and oral communication is very important.

Work Ethic

Almost everyone has had a job they hated whether it was flipping burgers, babysitting bratty kids or mowing lawns in the heat of summer. These experiences, however, help build a solid work ethic. Hearing that an applicant is known for getting the job done to the best of her ability and with a positive attitude is very appealing to potential employers. Unless it might be detrimental to your child’s mental health, there is rarely a good reason to burn a bridge by quitting a job too soon or expressing distaste for the work. Being considered a hard worker is high praise indeed.


One of the easiest ways to make sure your son or daughter learns about the importance of teamwork is to enroll him or her in a team sport. You don’t have to be super competitive or even very good to enjoy playing with others. Teamwork teaches you that you’re stronger together.

Problem Solving

Some people are born with a high frustration threshold and some with a low one. If your darling gets frustrated easily, teach them the steps to problem solving starting with identifying the specific problem and enumerating several solutions. There are many games that teach these skills such as Jenga or Legos or building blocks. Teach your child to play chess. There are numerous benefits to learning this challenging game that is enjoyable for all ages.


Even with bosses and situations who you don’t like, there is something there to learn. Encourage your child to take every opportunity to learn something new about themselves or the world by saying “yes” when offered the chance to learn a new skill. Sometimes the lesson is that you don’t want to be a florist or an astronomer after all, but that’s valuable information. If there is a topic they’re interested in, suggest your child audit a class at the community college or look for an online web series about it.

Online Presence

Nothing online ever truly goes away. Couple this information with the impulsiveness of teenagers and you have some “breaking news” in the waiting for your wanna-be politician or CEO. Everyone from doctors to teachers to police officers have lost jobs due to an unfortunate ill-thought-out post, sometimes from years earlier. Ask your child if he wants to be judged by everything he said and every decision he made when he was six because every post and picture at age 16 can come back to taunt you and haunt you at ages 26, 36, 46, etc. Employers and college admission officers absolutely do an internet search on potential applicants. It’s better to be safe than sorry and keep all posts polite and neutral.

Your teen can have a bright future no matter what direction they take post high school. Taking a job, a gap year doing volunteer work or a place in the freshman class at the university all require certain adult skills that you can help your child learn while he or she is still at home.

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About the Creator

Kari Oakley

Kari Oakley is a fitness trainer from Kenosha Wisconsin. She now lives in downtown Chicago, and loves to get out. She is a big fan of anything adventure, and loves getting a workout in the outdoors.

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    Kari OakleyWritten by Kari Oakley

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