Blue Suit Mom

Sweet 16: Help Your Teen Transition Into Young Adulthood

If you want to set your teen up for success, you need to start now. In just a few short years, he or she will be setting out for college, so it’s important for you to give him or her the tools needed to thrive as an adult. From a first job to a first car, there are a handful of teaching opportunities for you to take advantage of throughout his or her teenage years. Here are three examples of how you can get your teen started off on the right foot:

First Job

Whether it’s babysitting or working at the movie theater, teens can learn a lot by having a job. They learn how to build a resume, manage their time and money, and communicate on the job. A first job is a right of passage and it might even keep your teen out of trouble. Jennifer Kimrey, writing for the Houston Chronicle, says time on the job is time well-spent. She states that having a job in high school sets teens up for success during college and throughout their adult life. They learn the importance of getting up for class on time, turning in classwork and saving money for college and other expenses.

The teen-friendly job search site Cool Works is a good place to start when it comes to finding a job your teen will enjoy. The site offers job listings at summer camps and parks, and it even shows seasonal positions.

New-to-You Car

One of the perks that comes with being 16-years-old is driving privileges. In addition to helping your teenager with lots of studying and practice behind the wheel, you also should think about what your teen will drive once he or she gets that coveted license. Will he or she drive the family car or will you buy a new car?

Many parents opt to purchase their teens used cars instead of buying brand new. Talk to your teen about how he or she plans to finance the vehicle and if you’re willing to help or not. By having your teen save money and contribute to some of the payments, you’re teaching him or her how to manage money and about how much a vehicle costs. This will help your teen take more pride in his or her car, which leads to more responsible driving. Once you come to an agreement, check out the DriveTime website for a variety of vehicle and payment plan options. This way you can see what you and your teen can afford to buy.

Curfew

Once your teenager has a new set of wheels, he or she may want to stay out all night. However, to keep him or her safe and learn responsibility, you need to establish a curfew that works for both of you. Even though he or she probably wants to stay out with friends until two in the morning and you want him or her home by 7 p.m., you can find a middle ground.

According to Healthy Children, a flexible curfew gives your teen the chance to demonstrate his or her responsibility. If your teenager comes home on time, you know you can trust him or her. To reward good behavior, extend his or her curfew on the weekends or for special occasions. Flexible curfews also help your teen prepare for college life, when he or she will be making his or her own decisions about how late to stay out. This means that now is a good time to teach these important skills.

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