Fourteen and 15 can be very challenging ages. Kids think they're adults but still act like children. Balancing these growing pains can be a delicate thing. We want to encourage their burgeoning independence but protect their childhood as well.
These ages are critical for our children to be learning adult life skills so that they can truly become independent. They will be pretty motivated to learn adult stuff because it's cool. But they will also be resistant to learning them from their parents.
A great tip on training our kids at these ages is to use somebody else. Ask an older sibling, grandparent, family friend, teacher and others to help train your kids. They'll love the attention and they'll PAY attention. And they'll grow new relationships in the process.
What can 14 and 15-year olds do?
Here are some life skills that a 14 and 15-year-old can learn.
Social Security number and other contact and ID information.
Understand and use debit cards
Your child can set up a free savings account and then learn how to use a debit card. This is terrific practice for handling their finances!
Identify a business skill to acquire
Have your child take lots of career interest surveys online and talk to lots of people about their careers. Then help them begin - you can set up an internship for them. Let them go volunteer at the lawyer's office for a month and see if they like it.
Teach them how to thoroughly clean a car. Better yet, have Grandpa teach them how and have them clean all the family cars.
Change flat tire
Teach them and then have them do it over and over again to practice. Girls included.
Have them learn how to clean and organize a garage - a good skill to protect your major investments that live in the garage.
Girls learn about make-up
Have fun with this. Take them to the mall and have the make-up ladies teach them all about it (then go buy them their own products somewhere cheaper!) Have them begin with simple, basic make-up.
Sell items on the Internet
Have them sell items on Craigslist, eBay and others. Teach them about safety when selling online.
Basic car operation
Now is the time to tap into your friendly mechanic and have them teach your teen how a car works. Girls and guys will benefit from this one.
Learn basic government and politics
As they study this in school, add to their learning at home. Have the dinner table conversation be about all kinds of these topics. Let them have their own opinions!
Accompany parent to vote
Have them go over the ballot with you and then take them with you. Now is the time to teach them to be intelligent, diligent voters.
Structural household repairs
Get your favorite handyman to help with this one. Have them learn how to unplug the sink, drill, do minor electrical and more. They'll thank you later.
Learn about interest, debt, securities
Time to ask your banker buddy to teach your child about finances. A great resource in the U.S. is the Personal Management merit badge book at the Boy Scouts of America. You may want to learn with them! There are lots of finance videos online that can help as well.
Put up wallpaper
Again, practice makes perfect! You can even ask a professional to let them tag along on a few jobs - they'll learn a lot.
Food storage basics
Teach them about safe food storage and the importance of storing for emergencies.
Basic interior decorating
Great skills for all to learn. Teach them about color, texture, balance, and more. Lots of TV shows cover these principles. Watch together and discuss. Then let them redecorate their bedroom!
Fourteen and 15-year-olds are chomping at the bit to be adults. What a great time to work with them and teach them all kinds of adult things. It's great to teach them these things at home so they can learn, make mistakes, and learn some more in a safe environment. Encourage their maturing opinions and their adult habits.
These take time but it is well worth the investment. You'll have confident, capable kids and they'll be even more confident as adults. Enjoy!