12 Essential Life Skills for Teens

Learning basic life skills is as essential to teens as learning academic concepts. Life skills for teens help to foster social and emotional skills, providing teenagers with practical applications and the ability to learn to be responsible adults. 

Learning essential life skills, teenagers develop a greater level of empathy. They learn to manage their emotions, set goals, make decisions, and form stronger relationships. While many of these skills seem basic, they involve a combination of patience, skill, and focus.

Here are 12 of the essential life skills that every teenager should learn:

1 – Problem solving. Learning to problem solve reduces anxiety and codependency. It will also help teens learn to see situations from different, diverse perspectives.  Asking for help when necessary, but coming to that source of support with some potential solutions. 

2 – Advocating for yourself. Learning to ask for what you need and learning to say “no” helps to build confidence, personal security, and a sense of self. The key is to learn to advocate for yourself without hurting others and without letting anyone hurt you.

4 – Taking responsibility for your own work. You know what you have to do. Don’t wait for your parents or anyone else to tell you to do your work, put your clothes away, make your bed or take out the garbage. 

5 – Finding a job. Learning to work for your own money builds confidence. Developing interviewing and resume writing skills are essential skills that will help you to be a more successful communicator, networker, and worker. Working with GAMECHANGER’s interview prep specialists and resume writing specialists can help teens learn to build those essential skills.

5 – Make appointments. Build your communication skills by making a simple phone call and answering necessary questions. Taking responsibility for making and following through on appointments is an essential life skill. 

6 – Admitting your mistakes. Part of being a confident person is admitting when you are wrong. Figuring out that certain choices you’ve made may have been unhealthy or hurtful and changing your behavior is key to growing up confidently and successfully. The ability to take responsibility for your own behavior is an essential life skill. 

7 – Understanding the value of money. Learn to earn. Learn to save. And learn to budget. This essential life skill will help protect you and help build independence. 

8 – Being resilient. Not everything will go your way at all times. Learn to bounce back and be flexible to alternative paths. This will lead to an easier, less anxiety-ridden existence. 

9 –  Coping with emotions. Find positive ways to manage challenging situations. Exercise more. Take up yoga. Cook. Refocus your sadness. Develop coping mechanisms that help to calm you and make you feel that you can take control of and manage your emotions.

10 – Recovering from a broken relationship. Friendships and intimate relationships change over time. Not all relationships last forever. In fact, few survive. Remember that people come in and out of your life for a reason. Learning to walk away without residual sadness or anger will help build resiliency, making subsequent relationships stronger. 

11 – Learning to do laundry and fill a car with gas. Separate your whites and colors. Buy laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Know on which side of your car the gas tank sits. Figure out whether your car needs unleaded regular or unleaded premium gas. Learn how to fill up that tank. These are all basic skills for independent living. 

12 – Learning to grocery shop and cook. If you don’t do this, you might starve. Make lists of foods you will eat. Find recipes. Learn how to safely use the stove and oven. Invest time in this  life skill as it will be key to your survival as an adult. 


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