6 things you should be teaching your teenager

Posted on Monday, August 17, 2015

A very wise person once said that you cannot prepare the world for your children but you can prepare your children for the world. Every parent knows however that this is easier said then done. In a world gone mad how do you raise children equipped with the skills they need to survive and flourish? If your children are teens (or perhaps even tweens) here are six lessons that will help them take on the world and win!

The basics: homemaking 101
Give teenagers chores around the house so that they learn how to clean and keep things neat and tidy. Accept that their bedroom is their own space endless arguments about clothes left on the floor will only put unnecessary strain on an already difficult relationship!

As adults in training, teenagers should also understand the basics of good nutrition one of the simplest rules you can teach them is to make sure that at least half of their plate is veg or fruit, for example.

You should also teach them the basic rules of healthy cooking (no deep-frying, trim excess fat off meat, lightly steam vegetables etc.) and show them how to cook a few basic meals, from shopping for the ingredients to cleaning up afterwards!

Money wise
Every teenager should have a part-time job. Not only will it prepare them for the workplace but it will also teach them how to manage and save money. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to work in South Africa but they could babysit for friends or even clean Mom and Dad's car. Older children could work in video stores or as waiters or waitresses, for example. If your child has a particular interest that might develop into a career encourage them to try and look for related work. For example, if they're thinking of pursuing a career as a vet they could work at a local animal shelter. This experience will look great on a CV when it comes to finding their first job.

A basic lesson in budgeting and monthly expenses is essential if they're going to learn to save their hard earned money. A great idea is to make them work out a budget for a winter wardrobe and to ask them to save half of what's required, teaching about savings goals and planning.

Top tips:

  • Share your annual budget with the kids to show them just how much money is spent on bonds, petrol, cars, food etc. Just remind them that this info is personal and shouldn't be shared with their friends.
  • Encourage teenagers to save by giving them R30 for every R100 they save, for example.
  • Remember that pocket money is not a gift or a right. It's a privilege or reward that should be earned!

The wonders of exercise
Encourage teenagers to exercise but make sure it's the right exercise. Their workout should be fun and should not take too much time out of their already busy schedules! A girl might enjoy a dance class for example while a boy might enjoy mountain biking with friends or visa-versa! A love of exercise is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child! While your child is partaking in exercise, it's unlikely that he or she is abusing any drugs or alcohol. The two just don't mix.

Top tip:
A great way to get teenagers to exercise is to work out with them be it a jog or a session at the gym. It's a great way to spend time with them working towards a common goal. This kind of quality time becomes harder and harder to secure as their lives revolve more and more around their friends.

Discipline and hard work
Life is work whether you're studying, working or raising a family, almost every day is going to be about hard work. Teach them not only how to work hard but also that it's important to enjoy the rewards of hard work.

If there's one thing most teenagers need to learn it is to be grateful for what they have. Make them aware of how much they have compared to other people in our society and show them that so many of the things they want really don't matter in the bigger scheme of things - cellphones, clothes, tablets...

If you have a son, one of his first lessons should be to respect women. Male role models in his life be it his father, uncle or family friend should lead by example and treat women with respect. Your daughter needs to be taught about emotional and physical abuse from a young age how to recognise it and how to deal with it.

Final word
Raising children is not easy. If we have one final word of advice it is to give them love, attention and discipline in equal parts. This is your best recipe for success.

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