The teen years are a turbulent time for youth and parents alike. As early as 10 years old, adolescents begin developing important skills for adult life. But at 13, 16, or even 18, they don’t have all of these skills together just yet. A paradox of dependence and independence is created as a result of this disjunction. The paradox causes a lot of confusion for teens, which can lead to emotional and physical outbreaks. Skills development programs create a safe environment for teens to try out new skills around people they love and trust, making mistakes without the threat of real-world retribution.

Academic and Career Skills

In order for your teen to develop the skills necessary for their future career, they must first discover what they want to do. Taking self-assessments and exploring available career paths empowers teens to pursue the skills required for their interests. In most programs, a mentor will come alongside your teen to guide this process. They may connect your teen with a professional in their identified field of interest and/or find relevant classes, work-study, job-shadowing, internship, or apprenticeship opportunities for your teen. They may assist them personally with their job search, resume and cover letter writing, and mock interviews questions. Your teen will learn about networking, goal-setting, and career planning alongside someone they have built bonds with.

Home Life Skills

Basic domestic skills like cooking and baking, doing the laundry, and cleaning a house are important to develop in teens, who will someday have a home of their own to take care of. Some programs offer classes to teach these skills, while others are residential, placing teens in a shared living space to learn how to manage the minute hassles of daily life as a community. Residential life skills programs can also develop social and emotional skills in teens.

Social and Emotional Skills

For the first time in their life, teens develop the ability to think abstractly, solve complex problems, appreciate the subtleties of ideas and situations, and get a sense of what others are thinking and feeling. This development drives a need for conversation and empathetic connection with their peers. They also develop the ability to look beyond their present situation to the long-term consequences of their actions. Learning how to deal with stress, anger, and sadness becomes important to them for maintaining healthy, lasting relationships. Residential life skills programs, summer camps, and after-school programs can foster much-needed interaction and opportunities for emotional regulation. Teens develop listening and communication skills, self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and leadership.

Developing skills for school, work, and home in a structured environment can ease the burden on teens who feel the need to “have it all together” when they may not. Skills development programs put teens around seasoned adults as well as their peers to foster constructive learning. If you know a teen who is struggling to make the transition into adult life, we are here to help. Our transitional living program provides youth with the skills and resources necessary to live independently.