Many times, as children approach their teenage years, parents begin to wonder if the kids have been taught all they need to know to lead a successful life. There are certain life skills that every teenager must be allowed to develop while still under their parents’ roofs. This includes home management skills, money management skills, self-management, navigating relationships, and managing their mental health.
Here are five important things that every child should know before they turn 13.
- Managing Emotions
Before 13, your child will frequently encounter such strong emotions as fear, anger, anxiety, and love. At this age, the child should begin to learn when these emotions creep up and how to effectively manage them. They should be able to turn frustrating situations around and see the sunny side of unfavorable events whenever possible. Teach them to deal with life’s disappointments and failures without getting drowned in negative emotions. They must learn how to manage stress, and how to forgive themselves and others when necessary. Taking constructive criticism is an art they can start to master at this age. Also, being able to accept the blame when they’re wrong and speak up when they’re being bullied or abused will help them through life. This age is not too early to teach them about depression and how to recognize the signs of high functioning depression.
- Managing Time and Activities
At 13, it’s not too early to start teaching your child how to survive on his own. He should be able to manage his time effectively and manage his daily affairs. This includes managing chores, school, and extracurricular activities. He’s old enough to have his planner to keep track of important dates and events, while you supervise to make sure nothing is skipped. Your thirteen-year-old should also be able to handle his school assignments without constant reminders. They should also be able to ask for help with schoolwork when necessary and get ready for school in the morning with minimal assistance from you. Likewise, they should be able to sometimes set up meetings with their teachers when needed, study for tests and exams, and prioritize tasks.
On the home front, teach your 13-year-old to keep their rooms tidy at all times, and clean up after themselves in shared spaces. They should be able to pack their bags during family vacations. If you consider your neighborhood safe, your 13-year-old may begin to take public transportation to and from school, the mall, and other locations close to your home.
- Home Management
When they’re babies, children depend on their parents for everything and as they grow older, they begin to learn how to survive independently. At the age of 13, your child should be able to occasionally pick up one or two groceries from the store when you can’t. Use basic kitchen appliances to make simple meals for themselves, e.g., a quick breakfast or school snack. They should be able to do their laundry, this includes folding and ironing when necessary. They may also clean up after a meal, do the dishes, take out the garbage, vacuum floors, and occasionally wash the bathrooms without being nagged.
Your young teen should also know how to take care of their body, this includes speaking out when they feel ill so that they’re taken to see a doctor.
- Building Relationships
Social skills are extremely important for building a successful life. At 13, your child should be able to carry on a conversation, when necessary, even with people they’ve just met. They should know when a conversation is appropriate and when it’s not. It’s important that you teach them at this age how to show kindness to everyone and especially to the people who need it the most.
At 13, your child can go out with his friends. He should know to let someone at home know exactly where he’s going before he leaves the home. They should also be able to order food and pay and display courteous behavior to waiters and people in service positions. They must learn to apologize when they’re wrong and kindly demand an apology when they’ve been wronged.
Teach them to recognize when they’re in danger and how to leave dangerous situations as safely as possible. Most importantly, at 13, they should learn how to honor their promises and commitments to others.
- Money Management
Money management is an essential life skill and at 13, your child should learn this skill. They should know how to save up for things that are important to them. At this age, you should occasionally make them earn money for some of their needs by doing simple tasks around the house e.g mowing the lawn. They should also know how to create a budget, and how to hunt down a great bargain online or in physical stores. Teach them that money doesn’t come easily and so should never be wasted.