It can be a tricky time for you as parents when your child enters their teenage years. It’s that crucial age when kids believe they know what’s best for themselves and do not like to listen to adults. They probably take every chance they get to rebel against anything and everything their parents say, and it can be quite a challenge to teach them what’s right and wrong. And it would be wrong to blame it all on the teenagers as they go through hormonal changes during this phase. Research has in fact shown that the stress-sensitive regions of the brain in teenagers are more vulnerable and reactive compared to other age brackets (1). This is the cause of the higher tendency among teenagers to fall prey to stress-related activities like depression, anxiety, and in extreme cases, drug abuse.
However, there are a few skills that every child should know before they hit their wonder years, and we are here to tell you what they are. So without further ado, let’s look at nine essential skills that you should teach your child before they hit the age of 13:
1. Standing Up For Themselves
As children enter their adolescent years, parents should gradually let them make their own decisions and stand up for themselves when the situation demands. It’s understandable that parents want to protect their kids and they still see their adolescent and teenage kids still as their little babies. But being in their teenage years, they aren’t very far away from adulthood and sooner or later they will have to go out into the real world and fend for themselves. Parents can guide their children to be confident and state their views in a gentle way without resorting to aggressiveness. This will instill confidence and self-belief in them.
2. Being Responsible
Responsibility is an umbrella term that entails many duties. You can teach your kids to be responsible from a very young age. Start by making sure that they are given age-appropriate chores around the house. They can water plants, put their dirty laundry in the washer, clear the table after meals or even take care of a pet. However, as kids approach their teenage years gradually they will have to take on more responsibilities. After all, in a matter of time they will step out as adults into the real world, and as parents, you wouldn’t want them to be ill-prepared. Even during their teenage years, they will have to make many decisions regarding their choice of study subjects, their future goals, and many everyday things.
3. Conflict Resolution
Conflicts are a huge part of growing up. It’s inevitable and occurs with every kid, no matter what. Teenage kids are more likely to resort to conflicts and aggressiveness as they are going through hormonal changes. It’s important for parents to gently guide their children in being able to tackle tough situations in a non-confrontational way. Of course, this would require much patience from the parents, as teenagers are not the easiest to handle. Teach your kid how to identify the cause of the conflict and then think of amicable solutions. Remember to model good behavior and show empathy in the face of conflict.
You might feel like a lone wolf and might be happy being one. But it’s also important to learn to be a team player and work well with others. It’s a skill that’s absolutely essential when you’re an adult. When your kid knows how to work as a team, they learn several social skills that help them as an adult. Compromise, respect, patience, tolerance, empathy, and communication are things you learn through teamwork.
5. Learning To Apologize And Forgive
Learning to say “I’m sorry” is not enough. A sincere apology means you know what you’re apologizing for and understand why you need to apologize. Kids have to learn this too. On the other hand, forgiveness is a tough cookie. Several adults struggle with practicing forgiveness and carry the burden of unresolved issues with them. Therefore, it’s important to teach your kids to forgive and do it often.
6. Being Empathetic
Empathy makes the world a better place. Listening, sharing, and understanding each other’s feelings is a skill that every human needs to practice. Show your kids empathy; practice it every day, so your kids watch and learn from you. It’s also important to set a good example as a good listener so you can mold your child into one too. Teach them why caring is crucial and show them how it’s done to grow up to be caring and loving individuals.
7. Tackling Emotions
Emotions can be overwhelming, whether it is for adults or kids. It’s the parents’ job to teach their kids how to handle emotions. Teach them that it’s okay to feel a certain way — don’t avoid feelings. Help them identify emotions, understand them and learn how to deal with them. As parents, you can also share your feelings with your kids to make them comfortable to open up to you.
8. Handling Disappointment And Failure
Everyone wants to win all the time in life. But the truth is that failure teaches us several important life lessons and success merely boosts our ego. While it’s great to be ambitious, competitive, and set high standards, it’s also important to learn how to handle disappointment and failure. You don’t always win — sometimes you don’t live up to your expectations, other times your hard work may not pay off. Teach your kids that disappointment and failure are a part of life and play a huge role in personal growth.
9. Appreciation And Self-Love
Learning to appreciate the little things in life is what makes it beautiful. Your kids learn a great deal from you, so practice self-love, positivity, and optimism. Teach your kids to believe in themselves, tell them that they are worthy of all good things, and focus on positive attributes. In a constantly judging world, self-love may be the only weapon we have to fight all of it.
These important life skills will help your kids grow into better adults. Besides, teaching your children these skills right from their toddler years will prepare them for the teenage years when everything seems chaotic. Do you agree with our list? What other skills do you think are essential for kids to know before they enter their teen years? Let us know in the comments below.
- The Teenage Brain: The Stress Response And The Adolescent Brain