Absolutely no one would call the transition from adolescence to adulthood “smooth.” Even in best case scenarios everyone goes through some form of identity crisis, some reckoning with their body changes, and some growing pains (literal and figurative) as they figure out what it means to be a successful, healthy adult. There are even some who say that today’s youth take a longer, more rocky road to adulthood and arrive there later than previous generations. What about your teen? Is she on the right track to become a happy adult? How can you help her to make the transition as smoothly as possible?
Skills for a Smooth Transition to Adulthood
The first step to helping your daughter transition from a teen to an adult is to acknowledge that it IS actually going to happen. Many parents don’t like to think about their little girl growing up, or get caught up in the immaturity of teen behavior and never think about their teen girl becoming an adult. Once you’re able to accept the reality that your teen girl will one day leave your home and enter the world as an adult you will look at her, and the way you treat her, differently. She needs more love, more guidance, more help, and more attention – and there are several ways for you to offer those resources to her.
One easy way to help her prepare for the transition to adulthood is to help her learn adult skills. If you’re nervous about sensitive or tough conversations, teaching her these skills is a more functional way to begin.
- How to do her own laundry
- How to clean bathrooms, kitchens, ovens, refrigerators, and how to sweep, mop, and vacuum.
- Practice simple recipes for foods she likes
- Balancing a checkbook
- Budgeting a grocery trip
- Basic lessons about insurance, utilities, and other bills
- Using a planner or to-do list
- Simple car maintenance: oil changes, tire pressure, flat tires
- Resume and interview skills
If you thought teaching her to change a tire was hard, you may feel the urge to avoid some of the trickier conversation topics about transitioning to adulthood. Unfortunately some uncomfortable, tough, and sensitive conversations are needed. Look for opportunities to talk to your daughter about the following topics as she transitions to adulthood:
- Consequences of sex and sexual violence
- Choosing good friends and positive, supportive influences
- Healthy and safe dating and relationship habits
- Dealing with rejection and failure
- Her strengths and weaknesses
- Legal and illegal use of alcohol and other substances
- Body Issues: staying healthy, physical fitness, objectification, unrealistic media portrayals
- Plans and options for post-high school life
- Current political and social issues in the world
If your teen daughter needs more help in her transition to adulthood, don’t be afraid to look into the programs offered at residential treatment centers. The structure and design is specifically directed to help her grow, transition, and succeed as a healthy and happy adult.