10 Areas of Essential Life Skills for Teenage Boys

10 Areas of Essential Life Skills for Teens

Overview: Curious about which essential life skills our teens should know before leaving home? Here are the best ways to teach these essential life skills for teens as well as a FREE, printable teenage life skills checklist.

Both of my boys have been working part-time jobs since they were 15 and 16. This is a huge blessing. As parents, all of our efforts are building toward the day that our boys will move out, hold a steady job, and be able to provide for themselves and possibly a family. However, this doesn’t just happen without any intervention on our part. It’s important that we teach our sons how to take care of themselves after they move out of our houses.

All of our sons are different and have different strengths and interests. And they will go on to have a variety of careers – some of which haven’t even been invented, yet. It’s impossible to teach our sons EVERYTHING; however, there are several main skills they should all master before venturing out into the world.

Here’s a List of 10 Essential Life Skills for Teens:

1 – Cooking

Some boys will do well by simply knowing how to create basic meals from a box, use the microwave, and use the toaster. Others will enjoy this area and will appreciate gaining extensive culinary skills. At the very least, we should teach our teens the following:

  • How to make a balanced meal with a protein, a vegetable, and a carbohydrate.
  • How to make a week’s worth of meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No one wants their son to live on macaroni and cheese or pizza for every meal.
  • How to use the various appliances in the kitchen – even knowing how to use small appliances such as a blender, food processor, bread maker, toaster oven, etc.
  • Let them use as many of our kitchen gadgets as we can – i.e., cheese grater, pizza cutter, egg slicer, colander, measuring cups, etc.

2 – Laundry

Be sure our sons know how to do the basics of caring for their clothing.

  • Separating colors properly
  • Using detergent and various additives (i.e., stain remover, bleach, etc.)
  • Learning which items would be better to air dry versus using a dryer.
  • The proper way to iron a shirt
  • Knowing that it’s important to hang up clothing as soon as the dryer finishes so that it doesn’t get wrinkled
Your Path to Feeling Less Stressed Video Course

3 – Grocery Shopping

If our kids want to eat and don’t have extremely high-paying jobs which allow them to eat all of their meals in restaurants, they will need to master this skill.

  • Making a grocery list
  • Comparing prices of various sized items
  • Shopping sales and/or coupons
  • Putting groceries away in an orderly fashion – putting the new stuff behind the old.
  • Going to different stores in order to save money.

4 – Budgeting

This is a super important skill. I recommend having all kids go through Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance for homeschoolers.  It’s best to go through this course with our sons and daughters before they have their first part-time job so that they will understand the best way to handle their money.  Being financially responsible will serve them and their families well as they go through life. We went through this with our sons last year, but we will do a refresher with them now that they will have summer jobs so that they can put what they are learning into practice.

  • Tithing
  • Have a savings account – save for something large like a car
  • Open and manage a checking account and either writing checks, which is becoming less and less common
  • Proper use of a debit card
  • Paying a bill, whether that’s online, over the phone, or with a check
  • Paying taxes
10 Areas of Essential Life Skills for Teenage Boys

Another great resource you can go through with your teens is Managing Your Money by Jane Bingham. This down-to-earth guide takes the mystery out of managing your money. Filled with practical advice on topics such as how to be a smart shopper, how to budget, and how to earn money, it will equip you with the skills needed to manage your money — now and in the future.

5 – Cleaning

Teach them how to do all of the various cleaning tasks inside of our houses.

  • Help them establish a simple cleaning routine and learn how to stick to it.
  • Doing the dishes by hand and with a dishwasher
  • Cleaning bathrooms including toilets
  • Using a vacuum
  • Dusting
  • Picking up clutter
  • Organizing a closet

6 – Maintaining the yard

Teach our sons and daughters how to do various landscaping tasks outside of our houses.

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Using a string trimmer
  • Planting and weeding a garden
→ Related Content: Do Hard Things – 11 Ways to Help Our Boys Become Responsible Men

7 – Maintaining the house

The more skills we can teach your teens in this area, the better. The more handyman skills you and your husband know, the more you will be able to teach your kids. Fortunately, most of us have access to YouTube, which is a wealth of information. If we’re willing to learn alongside our sons, we can figure out how to do pretty much anything by watching YouTube videos.

  • Change a furnace filter
  • Add salt to the water softener
  • Add an electrical plug to a room
  • Paint walls
  • Turn off the water supply lines
  • Unclog a toilet and a drain
  • Use the circuit breaker box
  • How to use basic tools such as a hammer, screwdriver, and a saw.
10 Areas of Essential Life Skills for Teenage Boys

8 – Maintaining a car

Everyone who drives a car should know how to maintain their car. Teach them how to look up car repair videos online so that they can save money by doing minor repairs themselves versus having to have everything fixed by a professional.

  • Add air to a tire
  • Change a tire
  • Jumpstart a car
  • Refill various fluids
  • Be informed about when to bring the car in for service.
  • It’s also handy if we can teach our kids how to change the oil, change the brakes, or any other car repairs we know how to do.

9 – Job-seeking skills

Obviously, these are super important unless your son becomes an entrepreneur, which is also a wonderful option.  🙂

  • Make a resume
  • Fill out job applications (whether online or on paper)
  • Prepare for an interview
  • Pick out suitable clothing, tie a Windsor knot, iron a shirt, etc.
  • How to shake someone’s hand properly 
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Boys

10 – Other important skills

Someday, our sons and daughters will thank us if we have taught him how to do these skills as well.

  • How to contact people such as making important phone calls, sending emails, filling out contact forms, etc.
  • How to talk to important people such as bank loan officers
  • How to ask questions of people when he doesn’t know how to handle various situations
  • How to respond in an emergency, such as treating wounds
  • Basic sewing skills such as sewing on a button or hemming pants

BONUS ITEM: Social Responsibilities

It’s also important to be sure our teens understand the about other intangibles such as having empathy and compassion for others, honesty, forgiveness, standing up for their beliefs in the face of opposition, how to treat your spouse, and other important concepts. Without these abilities, our children will either cause themselves or others to struggle in this life.

Tips for Teaching Life Skills to Teenagers

If you have the desire to equip your teen by teaching them these life skills, you may encounter some resistance. Teenagers aren’t always eager to listen to advice. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you get started:

  • Choose wisely – Start out with tasks your child has some interest in before moving on to ones that may be more of a struggle.
  • Show don’t tell – It’s often helpful for your teen to be present as you tackle a task to help them become familiar with how to do something before asking them to do it on their own.
  • Need leads to desire – Remember that many people learn best when they’re in the midst of needing to do so. Your son may not want to learn how to change a tire on a car until he’s on the side of the road with a flat. He may not be interested in learning about budgets and saving money until he has a job where he’s earning money of his own. Look for opportunities that will show him his need for this information, and he may be much more receptive to hearing what you have to say.

There is no way you will ever be able to teach your child everything he needs to know. If we teach our kids how to learn, they will also be able to pick up various skills from different people along the way. Whenever they encounter a new situation, we want them to be willing to try to figure out the best action to take rather than being afraid to do something wrong and getting stuck.

Our kids really do want to learn life skills if we give them opportunities at the right time and in the right way. Let’s do what we can to raise responsible children who grow into capable men and women. With a little bit of effort, we can achieve this goal more easily than we might think.

There are so many life skills that we should teach our sons and daughters. Do you have any other skills that you would add to the above list? Please leave a comment below.

21 thoughts on “10 Areas of Essential Life Skills for Teens”

    1. You’re welcome. Yes, it’s always nice to put our minds together with lists like these so that we are less likely to miss important stuff. If you think of anything I should add, let me know. 🙂

  1. Money may not be the most important thing in life, but it certainly is vital for a comfortable life. Education gives you the knowledge and some skills you need to become employable. But it may not give you the skills to manage your earnings and spending, save money, etc. In simple words, you need to make your teenagers financially literate.

    1. Definitely! I went through Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance with my boys last year and that was excellent training for them in the area of financial responsibility. And they’ve both just started working summer jobs so we’re going to get to put all of that head knowledge into practice. Fun times!

  2. I like the printable, I will hang this in my son’s bedroom wall ☺. It’s really important to teach our kids essential life skills. The lessons they learned from textbooks will not suffice. This will also help us parents to feel confident and to know that they are prepared before leaving the house. Few things I may add on the list are: Packing their own bag, Treating a Wound for emergency and Basic carpentry like hammering a nail.

  3. We have taught all three of our kids (1 son and two daughters) most of these things. I would also add how to sew – at the very least how to sew on a button and how to hem pants – as a valuable life skill.

  4. you forgot one very important part of life. how to be socially responsible. this is an extremely important subject for any teen to learn. i am not only talking of sexual behavior, but of morals and ethics of empathy, compassion, and understanding. that a person makes mistakes , and to stand by your moral and ethical beliefs. above all learn to forgive, especially yourself.

    1. Sara Lee could not have made a more PERFECT request!! I along with many other parents are struggling with these subjects…

  5. I just wanted to reiterate one thing. Showing them how generally not as effective as them seeing you do these things. One of my dearest friends keeps her home immaculate and she manages the bills and shopping. She was always concerned about her son knowing how to do these things and was making sure that he was aware of all these responsibilities, but while he was still living at home, he was a slob. And, one day I mentioned to her that when he had a home of his own, she might be surprised by how well he managed these responsibilities. He recently got his first home and surprise!!! He is keeping his home just like she kept hers. It’s all about what they are used to living with that counted. So, don’t be too disappointed if he doesn’t immediately start doing all these things for himself. It’s the expectation that you, as a parent, set for them. As always, patience is necessary!!!

  6. This is really great Michelle. Just as I am reading this one of our older sons is outside mowing the lawns with my husband! We do a lot of inside chores, cooking and baking lessons and a few other things on your list. As they get older we will add more to the list of things to teach them.
    Like you, we are Christians and so the real important stuff is naturally just a part of our lives and is taught through bible study, conversations and real life situations as they come up.
    One extra thing we are teaching our children which is important to me, is the value of serving in our community and helping others that are either less fortunate than us or helping friends and neighbours when there is sickness etc. I have a very good friend who had cancer a few years ago and we took a home cooked meal around every week for the whole year as she was going through treatment and now the cancer has returned and I have started doing meals again. My sons obviously see this and is a great way to teach them how to look after our friends/family. I hope that as our sons grow and one day are independent adults, that they will continue to help in someway in their own communities or church.
    I am glad of the reminder of teaching how to respond in emergencies. First Aid courses are important and I will look into that.
    Thanks!

  7. I love all these tips and can’t agree more that preparing teenagers for young adulthood is essential. Thanks so much for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.