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January 26, 2016

Throughout their high school years, teenagers learn many things: the principles behind the Pythagorean theorem, morals hidden within “The Grapes of Wrath” and the way osmosis works.

It’s true, most traditional schooling leans more heavily on analytical lessons rather than practical intelligence. But life skills are equally important and serve as guide markers for teens transitioning into healthy, productive young adults. Avoid a failure to launch scenario with your child by teaching them these six practical independent living skills for young adults.

How to Handle Money Responsibly

Poll most teenagers on where money comes from, and many will likely respond that it grows on trees. Instilling a sense of financial responsibility in your teen is crucial, so start early. You don’t have to reveal everything about your family’s finances, but it may be a good idea to have your young adult sit with you as you pay bills, and you should consider telling them the story of how you got where you are now. Teach them the value of a dollar before they leave your house and head out on their own.

Filing Taxes

All adults dread April 17, but prepared adults dread tax day a little less. Most teens are not taught how to file their own taxes, but there are many resources available. Teensandtaxes.com has gathered many resources from the IRS and created a “lesson plan” to help you teach your teen in the simplest of ways.

How to Survive Without Technology

Although technology can be helpful in everyday life, it’s important your teen also holsters strategies to cope and thrive without it. Teach them to rely on the recall power of their own brain before grabbing their smartphone to look something up. Make them do math problems without the iPad calculator when applicable. Encourage them to reach out and communicate with friends and family in person rather than via a social network. Challenge them to go tech-free for three days and see what happens. Technology and Internet addiction is a real problem that is greatly preventable.

Practical Home and Car Maintenance Tips

All those complicated math equations and literary expertise aren’t going to help your teen much when they get a flat tire on the freeway or their garbage disposal breaks in their first apartment. Independent living skills for young adults should be top-of-mind before your teen flies the coop. Teach them how and when to change their car’s oil, brake fluid and filters. Educate them on what to do in the event of minor household emergencies, like an overflowing toilet or a power outage.

Healthy Nutrition and Diet

A balanced diet that provides vital nutrients greatly affects the way young adults feel and act. Most youth don’t have a clue about how sugar negatively effects their bodies, causing mood fluctuations, energy crashes and even illness. Teach your teen how to cook their own nutritionally dense meals, and the importance of food when seeking whole-body wellness. PQ’s Medical Director, Dr. Britta Zimmer, suggests teens eat an adequate amount of protein, take fish oil supplements for essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and avoid foods known to trigger allergic reactions as a start to achieving optimal health through nutrition.

The Power of Positive Thinking

As teens transition to young adults, extra stress is increasingly placed on them daily. It is important to teach your child the power of positive thinking along with other healthy coping strategies so they are less likely to turn to drugs, alcohol or other means to dull the stress. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests teaching your teen how to decrease negative self-talk by transforming negative thoughts into positive ones.

It can often be difficult for teens to transition into high-functioning young adults. If you suspect your teen needs more help than you can offer, Pacific Quest may be able to help.

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