Helping Your Teens Hone Useful Skills for the Future
Every parent wants to see their teens succeed in life. That’s the biggest job of parenting, after all – raising someone who can eventually go out on their own and do good things in the world.
Sometimes, it can feel like teaching them how to be a good person is easier than teaching them how to be successful in a career.
You don’t have to come up with any grand schemes or techniques when it comes to helping your teen succeed. They might already have certain skills that can help them in the future. It’s just a matter of honing those skills and discovering their true passions.
How can you help your teenager do that? Why is it so important for them to become self-sufficient in the first place? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of useful skills and how they can positively impact your teens’ future.
Why Self-Sufficiency is Important
When you turn in a resume for a job, there are two different skill sets a potential employer will look at – hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills include specific talents and strengths as they pertain to a job, like computer skills, management skills, or marketing skills.
Soft skills have become more important in recent years as employers are looking for well-rounded individuals. Soft skills include things like:
- Strong communication
Soft skills can help your teens to become more self-sufficient and emotionally intelligent. Those are incredible tools and characteristics to have in the working world. Almost anyone can learn a hard skill, but soft skills require time to build and grow. Some people naturally have more of them than others, but honing in on them will make it easier for your teenager to “leave the nest,” understand what others are thinking and feeling, and use their instincts to get a job done.
If you’re concerned that your teen doesn’t have many soft skills, they can be taught. Most people do have them but may not show them often. Find ways to encourage your teen to express themselves more frequently. Doing so can show them how important those skills are and how far they will get them.
Practical Skills Your Teen Should Know
Encouraging your teen to develop their soft skills doesn’t mean the hard skills should be ignored! There are some practical things every teenager should know – not just for career success, but when it comes to self-sufficiency and being able to take care of themselves. Useful skills for the future aren’t just about work. Teaching your teens life skills will boost their confidence, reduce stress levels, help them set goals, and motivate them to learn more.
Start with some basic life skills you’re most comfortable with. Maybe you’re handy with car repairs. Teaching your teen some DIY car maintenance solutions like how to change their oil or fix a flat tire can go a long way.
Do you like to be in the kitchen? Cooking is an incredible skill that your teen can either use in their personal or professional life if they want to pursue it as a career.
Ask your teen what they’re interested in, too. Maybe they’ve always watched you doing things around the house or using your own skills for something and they want to try it for themselves. Life skills are about learning and taking on new challenges. Whatever you teach your teen – whether it’s career-focused or not, make sure it’s something they will be able to utilize on their own for a lifetime.
Harnessing Your Teens’ Strengths
Teenagers (and adults) should always be willing to learn and grow. No matter how old you are, lifelong learning will teach you the skills needed to succeed and thrive in every area of your life. But, that doesn’t mean skills should ever be forced – especially as a teenager.
If you’re having a hard time helping your teen hone useful skills for the future, consider the things they already enjoy doing. How can their current strengths, hobbies, and interests better their future? Could they fuel a career? You might be surprised at how certain things your teens enjoy could actually help them become successful.
For example, if it seems like your teenager spends a lot of their time playing video games, you might assume they’re just being lazy. But, gaming skills can be extremely helpful in the real world. Video games can help with:
- Social skills
- Strategic planning
- Conflict resolution
Talk to your teen about the things they enjoy most when they’re playing video games, and help them to focus on those specific skills. The same rings true for any hobby or passion they might have.
Whether they’re into sports, music, art, animals, or spending time with people, there are strengths to be found everywhere. Sometimes, it just takes a little encouragement and digging to find them. As a parent, offer that encouragement consistently and freely, and you’ll be able to stand by proudly as your teen steps into a successful future.