3 Commitments That Will Prepare Your Teen for Life on Their Own

Learning to make and keep commitments is an essential part of life. It’s also one of the most difficult qualities for kids –  including teens – to learn! How is your teenager doing?

Teenagers need productive ways to spend their time and energy. A life filled with learning opportunities, including commitments, will prepare them for independence as adults. Unfortunately, too many teens fill their hours with activities that contribute little to nothing to prepare them for their future. But they will find ways to use that energy – even if it’s destructive – because the need to belong and to feel confident in their identity will drive them to fill that need.

You can guide your teen through these years by helping them make commitments that teach practical life skills and help develop the character they’ll need to succeed as adults. Here are three commitment ideas that will give your teen a sense of purpose, grow confident in their abilities and prepare them for life ahead.

teenagers and commitments

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3 Commitments That Will Prepare Your Teen for Life on Their Own

1. Part-Time Summer Jobs

Getting and keeping a job takes commitment. Work is always going to be a part of your teen’s life. Expanding household chores to now include a part-time job will require more consideration of the cost involved when making commitments. Earning money to spend on things they want is exciting but comes with a price tag. What will they sacrifice? Time with friends? Sleeping in? Summer camp?

Summer jobs are temporary commitments and can teach your teen things like time management, how much they enjoy this type of work and how to interact with a boss and co-workers. They’ll also learn to set feelings aside when they just don’t feel like going to work. And if they haven’t developed a good work ethic by now, they may even learn what it feels like to be fired! Better to experience these things now and turn them into personal growth opportunities while you’re there to talk through the pros and cons that come with commitments.

2. Volunteering

Dozens of organizations need volunteer help. Teenagers are often highly sought after due to their high energy and enthusiasm. Volunteering is a great way for teens to discover what they enjoy and develop valuable practical and life skills.  They’ll experience the joy of serving others and working as part of team.

Commitments can start out short to determine whether it’s a good fit, then increase. If it wasn’t a good fit, next time they’ll ask more questions before committing. They’ll also discover more about themselves, how the organization works, problem solving among other things. Check out these links for volunteer opportunities:

Doors of Hope 
Rescue Village
Geauga Parks

3. 4-H Projects

Geauga County has a fabulous 4-H program. It is “committed to helping young people develop skills that will help them succeed. We want to empower all youth to reach their full potential.” Further stated on their website: “In 4-H, youth learn by doing projects that are designed to fit their needs at different ages. Through a variety of projects—from food and forestry to rockets and rabbits—4-H gives children and teens opportunities to learn life skills, to practice them and become confident in their ability to use them in the future. 4-H teaches young people how to meet their needs for belonging, mastery, independence and generosity in positive ways. More specifically, 4-H programming is built around Eight Essential Elements, sometimes also called the Eight Key Elements…”

A teen who commits to a year of 4-H will be forever changed! Many teens joined at the earliest age possible and will testify to the life impact it has had. It has been a commitment they will never regret! Find info on Geauga County’s 4-H programs HERE.

The teenage years should be filled with opportunities that prepare them for a life of independence. Committing to various jobs, volunteer work and projects will expose them to situations where they will learn vocational, life and relational skills. They will also continue to develop the character qualities needed to achieve life goals. To waste these years will slow their progress in reaching their full potential to fulfill that special purpose they were created for. Guide them in making wise commitments, allow them to fail if needed and be there to encourage their growth. Then watch them thrive when it’s their time to leave the nest!

Other articles in this series:
6 Ways to Teach Your Preschooler About Commitment
5 Ways to Teach Commitment to Your 6 to 12-Year-Olds