10 life skills every teenager should master before graduation

For the first time, my 21-year-old daughter did her taxes this year.


Making money, she ‘s discovered, is nice – but not so fun is figuring out how to deal with forms bound for the taxman. “I hate adult stuff,” she complains.

I hate adult stuff too, I told her. But there are adult things one has to deal with in life.

This exchange got me thinking: What are 10 life skills every teen should have by the end of high school?

For guidance, I sought the expertise of Daniel Patterson, a Newport Beach-based academic adviser, teen advocate, parenting coach, speaker and writer with 15 years of experience working with teenagers and parents as a teacher and administrator.

His “Patterson Perspective” (pattersonperspective.com) helps students and families identify goals, analyze previous outcomes and roadblocks, and develop and execute actionable plans.

“Life skills often get overshadowed by the large stature of academics and college admissions,” Patterson says. “However, it’s crucial that our teenagers are able to thrive in their post-secondary life, not just survive; this simply isn’t possible without getting the basics of ‘adulting’ down while still in the controlled environment of home.”

Here’s Patterson’s list, with my comments:

Craft an intelligent and cohesive email. Excellent choice. The advent of social media has led to the deterioration of not only written but also spoken communication. Blame texting and emojis. Communicating clearly in an email is an invaluable skill every teen should…

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