Continued from last week...

11. Navigational Skills

Knowing how to drive a car is of no use if your teenager does not know the road he or she must take. Basic navigational skills are more important than being able to drive a car. That way, even if they do not have a car, they will be able to travel from one place to another. Some of the things they should learn include:

· Being able to read bus, train or flight schedules, and timetables.

· Read maps to go from point A to point B.

· Understand directions – north, south, east, and west; left, right.

· Have a knowledge of traffic and road terms like curves, exits, freeways, highways, etc.

· Be aware of information about the different transport options to reach different places.

12. Communication Skills

Communication may seem more like a business skill. But think about it, won’t your teenager need to communicate in his personal life? Teaching your teen how to get his or her message across without offending another person is important. Communication is a critical skill that your teenager will need to master for interpersonal relationships in personal and professional lives.

Talk to your teen about these important skills when it comes to communication.

· People are different, and all don’t speak the same language.

· There is a need to understand the individual’s temperament before determining how to communicate with them.

· Nobody likes being told what to do. Even your teenager does not appreciate that.

· Explain to them the importance of listening skills in communication.

· Empathy and the importance of understanding another person’s perspective are necessary.

· Negotiation skills to create win-win situations.

· Different forms of communication like writing, talking and non-verbal behavior.

· Using different modes of communication like a telephone, letters or email, etc.

13. Behavioral Skills

The character of an individual shows in the way he or she behaves. Help your teenager build a strong personality by helping them develop healthy behavior. Here are a few basic things you can teach them.

· Accepting a mistake, admitting a fault and taking responsibility for their actions are perhaps the first things you can teach your teen.

· Most teenagers have a problem apologizing. Teach them to say ‘sorry’ and not feel embarrassed about it.

· Teach them to be polite and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when needed.

· Morality is a concept that you should introduce to your teenagers early on. That teaches them to stand up for what they believe is right, conscientiousness, and a sense of responsibility for the less fortunate.

· Teach them to stay true to themselves and others. Honesty is a trait that teenagers should be encouraged to develop.

· Teach them to ask for help when needed. It is important to be self-reliant, but there are times when we all need help. Explain to them that it is ‘okay’ to ask for help.

The only way to help your teenager learn about moral behavior, honesty, and character, is through practice. Parents should guide the kids through their growing years to inculcate healthy behavioral traits.

14. Skills to Stay Safe:

When your teen is out in the world all by herself, it is important to know how to stay safe. In fact, staying safe is one of the most important life skills for teenage girls. Here are a few pointers that can help your teen girl or boy stay safe on the physical plane as well as the virtual plane Stay safe on the road when alone. Teach your children to use their common sense and avoid secluded parking lots, deserted roads and empty plots away from civilization.

· Teach your teens what to do if they get a flat tire in the middle of the highway or the car breaks down at night on a deserted road. Encourage them to call for help and avoid venturing on their own at night.

· Avoid traveling with strangers or picking up hitchhikers when traveling alone.

· Ask your teenage girl to get a ride at night always, or have someone meet her on the way.

· Keeping someone posted about their whereabouts is a good idea.

· Carry extra cash just in case they need to take a taxi.

15. Coping with Emotions

Teenagers tend to see everything in black and white. Teaching them to cope will allow them to see that it is not all good or bad, there is something in between. Coping and self-management skills that you can teach your teenager, especially girls, include:

· Self-management or control, this allows them to set the pace to how they react to different situations, people and things in life.

· Teens will have to cope with loneliness and being away from their loved ones when they go to college. It can be a difficult time for them if they do not learn how to deal with the change.

· As an adult, your teen will have to deal with stress at work, home, in personal relationships and so on. Coping with stress is an important skill you should help your teen acquire.

· Teach them different ways to deal with their emotions, such as physical activity, meditation, listening to music, or just by talking about it.

· Spirituality can also help in coping with major changes in life.

16. Problem-solving Skills

Among the main life skills for youth is problem-solving. You cannot expect your children to come back to you for help every time they have a problem. What you can do is teach them to deal with problems like matured adults.

· Teach your kids to face problems, rather than run away from them.

· The first step to problem solving is identifying the problem. The key is to find out exactly what is bothering them and why it is a problem. Help them narrow down their problem by asking a simple question: “Is my current situation different from how I would want it to be?”

· Once they pinpoint the problem, help them come up with a list of possible solutions to it.

· Analyze each solution to know which option gives you the desired result, or something close to it.

· Once they shortlist the options, your kids will have to use their decision-making skills to pick an option they think is best for them.

· Then they can apply the chosen solution and check if they are right.

17. Basic Educational Skills

Education is essential for living a comfortable and healthy life. There is no dispute about it. Your children would have learned to read, write and speak at home. But they should also know how to use a computer, a phone, and other gadgets.

Kids tend to understand digital technology better than parents do. But they may not understand all things analog. Also, use of smart phones and instant messaging has also changed the way they use their language skills. Encourage your kids to:

· Write in complete sentences. They cannot use shortcuts and slang when they write their papers in college or send business emails.

· Read to understand, not just skim through text.

· Write letters, journal or just make notes to improve their language and communication skills.

18. Goal Setting – Knowing how to prioritize

Goal setting is a professional skill, right? Wrong! Goals can be personal as well. Teach your children to identify their skills and set goals that can give them personal gratification as well as professional success. You can teach them to:

· Figure out what they want to do and where they want to be in a few years time. Help them gain clarity.

· Set realistic goals, or else they will end up disappointed sooner than later.

· Change goals or modify them if needed. Your teenager may also change, as an individual, which can lead to changes in their personal or professional goals.

· Eventually, you can guide your teenager to a position where she or he can set bigger goals, paving the way for a more meaningful and purposeful life.

19. Employability Skills

To be employable or be noticed by potential employers, a person needs to have more than just credentials on the wall. Here are a few skills you should encourage your teenager to develop for better career opportunities.

· Communication skills.

· Thinking and analytical skills.

· Work ethics and integrity.

· Ability to value and use available resources.

· Knowledge and application of technology.

· Adaptability to adjust to new work environments and coworkers from diverse backgrounds.

· Willingness and ability to learn new skills. Teach your child to be open minded.

· Ability to evaluate own skills and identify weaknesses.

· Willingness to rectify faults to deliver better.

These are only a few among the list of life skills for teenagers they need to learn before beginning the journey as an adult. The key to a happy life is to sustain two key skills – the willingness and ability to learn new things, unlearn skills that are not useful and relearn them with a new perspective. Agreed that teaching life skills to teenagers is not easy but if you can do that, you will have done justice to your job as a parent.

What life skills do you think teens should learn? Share your views with Young Voice.

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