Do your kids think they know everything? If so, they might be teenagers. Or, at least, they’re on their way. But even though teens may look and act like full-grown adults, they aren’t. Their brains are still developing, and they need guidance from the adults in their lives. That’s where you come in.
There are a few lessons you need to teach your kids before they turn 16. Why 16? Well around this age, they start driving, which is a very adult thing to do. From here on out, they are going to start picking up more and more responsibilities until they are full-on adulting.
Whether or not they end up adulting successfully depends a lot on what they’ve learned from you.
The lessons are your responsibility. Following through on those lessons is your child’s job.
But for now, let’s focus on the things we can change.
Here are the most important life lessons to teach your teenagers by age 16.
Budgets aren’t optional:
There’s one thing people worry about more than anything, and that’s money. Even if your child makes 6+ figures as an adult, they’re likely to struggle with debt unless they learn to budget.
If you don’t know how much you can spend, you’re likely to spend too much. Your child’s financial future depends on this lesson, so be sure to drive it home. You can start by helping your child manage his or her money while they’re young.
Instill the importance of setting up an emergency fund, and teach them to budget for every dollar they make. This way, they’ll go into adulthood with healthy habits.
Drugs aren’t cool:
Think about your outlook towards drugs when you were a teenager. It’s likely very different than it is now. You may have looked at the stoners as “cool kids.” Today, you see them as burnouts. Isn’t it crazy how drastically things have changed? Try to get through to your kids by talking about the struggles of drug treatment and how drugs can completely take control over your life.
Even if your teenagers like the idea of using drugs, they aren’t likely to be happy about losing control. Talk about addiction in depth and help them understand how the brain will change without their consent or knowledge.
Mistakes don’t define you:
This is one lesson that most adults would probably go back to teach their younger selves. When you’re young, and your brain is still developing, it can feel like everything matters. That’s one reason why teenagers can seem over-dramatic to adults. But this is also a time when their decision-making skills aren’t fully developed, so they are likely to make mistakes. It’s a natural part of growing up.
But no matter how large, a mistake cannot define you. Even if they became addicted to drugs, the mistake of using doesn’t define them. What defines them is how they handle themselves from then on.
Spending a lifetime dwelling on mistakes is easy. But that’s no kind of life.
Give your kids a better chance at happiness by teaching them that mistakes and failures are a natural and necessary part of life.
You don’t know everything:
When was the last time you thought you knew everything? It was probably when you were in your teens. There’s something about puberty that makes kids think they know it all. We’ve all been there.
But as parents, we know very well that we have a lot to learn. Actually, it’s our failures that teach us this lesson (again and again).
You can try to combat any arrogance you see in your teen by teaching them something they don’t already know. This strategy hits home best when you teach them something about a topic they think they’re an expert in. You may have to do some research, but the results will be worthwhile.
Your ultimate goal is to teach your children to become students of life. They don’t have to love school. They just have to seek out knowledge in some form.
If you can successfully teach your children these lessons, they have a great chance of succeeding in adulthood.
Can you think of any other important lessons to teach your children before they turn 16?