life skills for teenagers
Parenting can inculcate life skills in teenagers and ease transition to adulthood

Life skills are abilities that promote mental well-being and competence in teenagers and young people as they face the realities of life. They enable the teen to make rational decisions in problem solving, communicate effectively and manage their emotions and behaviours so as to participate constructively in society.

Ajay’s parents are distraught as their intelligent teen has four backlogs in college. He may not be allowed to appear in his third semester exam for poor attendance. His parents had anxiously provided him every external support at home so he could focus just on studies for his board exams. They did not foresee how their efforts to manage, support, and fix Ajay’s problems were preventing their teen from mastering the life skills he would need to be effective as a teenager in college and as an adult in later life.

Life skills for teenagers

  1. Critical thinking and decision making – the analytical skills for problem solving. This includes the ability to gather information, evaluate consequences of actions, and define alternate solutions.
  2. Interpersonal skills and communication – includes verbal and non-verbal communication, and the ability to manage conflict. Interpersonal skills are a key requirement for teamwork. These skills are the foundation for adult social behaviour.
  3. Coping and self-management skills are essential for a sense of self-control, self-awareness and goal setting. The ability to handle loss, anxiety and frustration depends on these skills. Stress and time management are key abilities in this component.

Responsible parents foster an environment of independence by introducing the concept of daily chores from childhood. Many bright teenagers have difficulties when they enter college without adequate coping and self-management life skills. Gradually handing over tasks such as getting up on their own in the morning, scheduling activities, and doing the laundry lay the foundation for work-life balance in adulthood. Guiding their teenager in his efforts at working through the daily chores while demanding focus on his studies, provides parents with opportunities to teach and learn problem solving, interpersonal communication and coping life skills that are essential for independent living in society.


  1. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Life Skills Training Guide for Young People. United Nations. 2003 (Accessed 08-Nov-2014)
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