Which of these thoughts come to mind when you look at your teenager? Your thoughts might be, “they are bright and resilient and will be all right”, or “I don’t know if they will be able to make it on their own.” If you were thinking the latter, do something about it before the time comes for them to leave home.
What tools will your young adult need to survive on their own? You may already know that I think an individual who is curious, well-read and has a love for learning has the tools they need to be successful. If your child has these tools, you are worrying too much. If they don’t have these tools, get to work on making a few additions to their toolbox.
It’s not easy to get a teen interested in doing much of anything new, but you will likely have observed a few things they do that seem important to them. That is where you will need to engage them. Whatever their interest, begin supplying reading materials for that thing. It can be a magazine subscription, book, newspaper or whatever is available in print. Ask them if there is information they would like to have if you can’t find anything and then supply all they can consume. As their knowledge increases on a subject, it will either become more enticing or it will lose its appeal and they will move onto something else. Be observant without snooping, be supportive without pushing and ask questions about their likes, dislikes, how they are doing and future plans on a regular, recurring basis.
Some teens are easier to engage in conversation than others. Some will make major life decisions early and others will cause panic with their inability to make those decisions. Believe me, they will find their way. Be a constant source of encouragement, help them develop skills they will need, then step back and let them test their wings.