Whether you are ready or not, your teen is one step away from being an adult. Do they have the basic skills they need to budget, manage a checking account, pay bills, file their own taxes, or even schedule their own appointments? As a parent, the responsibility to ensure they are prepared for life with important skills such as these falls on your shoulders. Despite difficulties with substance use or mental health disorders, your teen needs to be empowered with essential skills for their future.
Helping Teens Learn the Basics of Budgeting
Many families help their children learn budgeting skills as they grow; budgeting is a very basic life skill. However, when there are addictions or mental health disorders in the home, essential skills like these can be overlooked or underemphasized. Budgeting is a skill that becomes increasingly crucial as your teen gets closer to adulthood, and it is never too late to improve or teach these skills.
If your teen does not have an income of their own, you can have them help with the family budget. Having them see what a household income looks like, what is required to sustain a household, and where the money goes on a monthly or yearly basis can be very eye-opening for them. Teaching them the importance of saving and helping them to understand essentials such as mortgage or rent, utilities, food, automobile costs, health insurance, and other living expenses will help them be more prepared to be responsible adults when they are on their own.
Managing a Checking Account as an Adolescent
Teens need to have the opportunity to manage their own finances before they leave home, so they have the guidance of wise parents as they learn the basics of managing their own checking and savings accounts. Some parents even opt to use the newer credit cards available for kids designed to teach them money management skills.
Sitting down with your adolescent and talking to them about how bank accounts work, the responsibilities involved, and the consequences of their financial decisions can prevent a lot of heartaches later in life. Teaching them about accruing interest, being wary of extra fees, maintaining minimum balances as required, and more will help produce fiscally responsible adults.
Being Responsible for Paying Bills
Even if you as a parent can afford to provide everything for your child, it never hurts to allow them to bring in even a small income and give them the responsibility of paying at least some of their expenses. One example might be to have them be responsible for their cell phone bill or perhaps their car payment or insurance costs.
Being responsible for paying bills while at home gives them a backup plan as they learn to manage their money, but also helps instill in them a sense of responsibility and can help them learn the consequences of their financial actions while they are still at home and have a safety net. Holding them accountable for their realistic financial obligations may be difficult but will be worth it as they learn responsibility.
The Value of Teaching Teens to File Taxes
While few teens make enough income to be required to file taxes, the skill of knowing about filing taxes is invaluable. Walking them through the process online without actually filing can help them understand the process. Even if they only help you gather your paperwork and sit with you as you have your taxes prepared, it will give them an understanding of what will be expected of them as their income level reaches the point where they need to file a return.
Can Your Teen Schedule Their Own Appointments?
There are some very basic tasks that parents often simply do for their children and do not think to teach them how to do before they leave home. One example is scheduling their own appointments. This can be as simple as having them schedule their own doctor or dentist appointments.
Using appropriate phone skills and understanding how to problem solve and use a calendar are not necessarily skills that come naturally to teens. They may need to listen to you a few times and then have you help them by listening to them as they learn the basics of phone etiquette.
You may also wish to involve them in skills such as finding and scheduling a repair person, problem-solving or utilizing help desk services, and understanding and using warranties. They will always have new things to learn as an adult, but the more skills and opportunities you can give them in the home, the more empowered they will be to face their future.
Teaching your teen the skills they need now will empower them for their future. Whether it be helping them learn budgeting skills, how to manage their own checking account, how to file their taxes, or being responsible for their own bills, it is important they begin to grasp how to manage their own finances. Additionally, they may need help with basic phone skills, such as scheduling their own appointments. Sustain Recovery recognizes that many of our clients are lacking when it comes to basic skills that will help them in real life. Our extended residential treatment center in Irvine, California, is designed to teach adolescents the root causes of their addiction and mental health disorders and help them heal from past trauma. As your child heals, you can expect us to help them find continued support. Call us at (949) 407-9052