Life skills for teenagers - what have I forgotten?

(110 Posts)
MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:12:45

I have a teenager and a nearly teenager. I'm sure I've forgotten some things I need to teach them before they fly the nest.

For starters:

How to change a fuse and a lightbulb.

Basic cooking skills. Lots of subcategories here - how to make a decent roast, bechamel sauce, whip up a few easy meals, chop an onion properly.

Basic Sewing I'm sadly lacking in this area. Despite my mother's efforts, I can barely sew on a button. Will delegate to granny.

How to tip

How to shuffle and deal cards Admittedly not a biggie.

Most importantly - how not to be an arse

There's lots more, I know.

magimedi Fri 19-Jul-13 13:18:38

If they are a male teen:

Never take your socks off last when you get undressed in front of anyone.

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:21:30

I have one of each magi.

EduCated Fri 19-Jul-13 13:23:15

What to do if you get lost/locked out and don't have your phone/keys/money.

Very basic first aid (British Heart Foundation's Staying Alive videos, putting someone in the recovery position). Becomes increasingly important as they're around people starting to experiment with alcohol.

Cooking with mince - spaghetti bolognese, shepherd's pie and chilli all from pretty much the same recipe.

BastardDog Fri 19-Jul-13 13:25:15

13yo ds had a life skills day at school recently.

He learnt how to weed, sow seeds and mow a lawn.

How to help someone having a heart attack, what to do if someone's choking and what to do if someone's been stabbed.

Some self defence moves.

He's not a very academic child and this kind of learning really appeals to him in a way that French, history etc just don't.

Naoko Fri 19-Jul-13 13:25:53

Do they know how to clean properly? I once absolutely lost it with a housemate (a guy who is a dear friend and a generally decent person) at uni because he hadn't lifted a finger in months and the state of the kitchen was depressing me. I spent a while yelling at him, then stormed off to my room to fume some more. When I calmed down enough to want a cup of tea, I found him in the kitchen holding a sponge and a bottle of washing up liquid looking a bit helpless. Further questioning revealed that he felt bad, thought I was right, wanted to make it better, but didn't actually know how to clean a kitchen. I then felt bad for yelling at him and ended up teaching him how to clean - shouldn't have been my job though, age 21.

EduCated Fri 19-Jul-13 13:26:13

Also memorising their home phone number, and at least one of yours and/or their DF's/appropriate adults phone number. I was shocked how many of our Guides (10-14yo) hadn't got a clue. They all said they didn't need to know it because it was on their phone. They were stumped when we asked what they'd do if their phone was out of battery/lost!

JellicleCat Fri 19-Jul-13 13:26:18

How to use a washing machine (and preferably an iron too)

How to order a round of drinks

What's the best remedy for a hangover (apart from abstinence)

How to say sorry

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:27:45

Oh these are all good.

How to hang out washing so it actually dries.

happygirl87 Fri 19-Jul-13 13:27:55

How to bleed a radiator.

How to use the tube map (if grown up in a city that doesn't have one- as will at some stage end up on a tube/metro/subway/etc)

And to develop the idea from magimedi: never put socks on before trousers. A man in a t-shirt, boxers and socks looks ridiculous.

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:28:50

I'm not sure I know how to bleed a radiator (delegate to DH).

BikeRunSki Fri 19-Jul-13 13:30:29

How to iron a shirt.
How to admit they are wrong.
How to.open a bottle of champagne.

Takver Fri 19-Jul-13 13:31:00

How to iron a smart shirt / dress (amazed when I went to uni how many couldn't)

littlemissshittingit Fri 19-Jul-13 13:31:45

First aid - I was taught first aid as a teen and it's proven useful (e.g. how to deal with choking, fits, collapse, bleeding, fractures and resus)

Creating a fire and cooking/staying warm without electric, oil or gas

Dealing with household emergencies (e.g. flooding, gas leak, fire)

Cooking from scratch - I was taught as a teen how to make edible bread with just a fire, flour, water and a stick

How to clean/maintain the house - including defrosting the freezer

How to accept responsibility for wrong doing and how to handle criticism correctly

How to say no and how to accept no (not just sex, but all sorts - drugs, jumping into a car where you can't trust the driver to go safely)

BikeRunSki Fri 19-Jul-13 13:32:24

How to treat a wasp sting and other basic first aid.
Read music, swim, ride a bike ?

TeeBee Fri 19-Jul-13 13:33:13

How to use a condom correctly.

BikeRunSki Fri 19-Jul-13 13:34:49

Make a bed with flat sheets.

BikeRunSki Fri 19-Jul-13 13:35:20

Drive

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:35:40

They would be mortified if I demonstrated condom usage. grin
<plots mortification>

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 19-Jul-13 13:35:56

Change a Tyre and treat a burn.

my mum once said that the most useful thing she could ever teach me is "always keep your gin in the fridge"

<helpful parenting> grin

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:40:43

To get a decent haircut

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:41:02

grin at BigKids

morethanpotatoprints Fri 19-Jul-13 13:43:20

How to manage money, budget etc. How mortgages and loans work.

How to be streetwise and not fall for the cons out there.

Vibbe Fri 19-Jul-13 13:43:33

How to quarter a chicken and make a sauce. Baking bread.
I've been baking since I was a young child, but my dad wouldn't let me move out of the house before he had shown me how to quarter a chicken and how to make a basic sauce.

How to assemble Ikea furniture - quite helpful when living alone.

How to use a drill.

How to clean the house, basic hygiene rules for kitchen/house.

How to do laundry.

Basic behaviour - shake hands when meeting people, how to sit properly at a table, eating properly/using knife and fork correctly.

Allthingspretty Fri 19-Jul-13 13:44:34

How to budget money.
What is the difference between gross and net income and what information is on a payslip

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 13:44:49

Good point. They're fairly streetwise - have watched lots of Hustle on DVD! But will make a point of making sure they know not to transfer money to people emailing from Nigeria.

exexpat Fri 19-Jul-13 13:46:19

Watching with interest - DS is 14. I'm trying to get him to cook more, and his laundry/cleaning skills need a lot of work.

Has anyone mentioned sewing on buttons and fixing hems yet?

I saw the OP mentioned changing fuses - can't say that would have occurred to me, as I think the last time I had to change a fuse was probably more than a decade ago. Knowing where the mains fuse box is and how to flip a switch back into position is all that seems necessary these days.

cq Fri 19-Jul-13 13:49:30

That the paper bags in ladies' loos are not sick bags, as thought by a naive male friend on our female corridor in Freshers Week.

shrinkingnora Fri 19-Jul-13 13:49:42

How the direct debit/standing order system works. The 14 day cooling off period for financial contracts. How to get up and get to work on time day in day out.

How to hail a cab

You can get most people to do nearly anything you ask if you smile and ask politely

Allfurcoatandnoknickers Fri 19-Jul-13 13:58:40

My son (just 16) has come back from a residential with the National Citizen Service. It's been fab! He's a y11 leaver, and has learnt basic stuff like first aid, budgeting skills, food shopping, cooking, cleaning their living accommodation etc. he's actually really enjoyed it cos I wasn't breathing down his neck, and hopefully may be make him ever so slightly more appreciative of all the things we do for him (hmmmm....).
The last two weeks of the course are a social action project, where they've got to come up with and implement an idea that will benefit the community in some way. It's a great idea,and definitely given my son a much needed kick up the backside

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 17:58:14

So much to do... They won't be able to leave home until they're at least 35 at this rate. wink

BalloonSlayer Fri 19-Jul-13 18:01:17

If you drive to collect an indian takeaway, don't put it on the seat of the car, put it on the floor.

< voice of bitter experience >

twirliedobbit Fri 19-Jul-13 18:03:59

Where a stopcock is and what it's used for.

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 18:57:23

"If you drive to collect an indian takeaway, don't put it on the seat of the car, put it on the floor."

Oh yes. And if an item is missing, check under the front seat before ringing up the takeaway to complain and finding it there when it starts to stink a week later.

exexpat Fri 19-Jul-13 19:03:38

Oh yes, financial stuff is crucial - how to compare interest rates etc.

Also how to complain, politely but assertively, about crap goods, shoddy service etc.

Allthingspretty Fri 19-Jul-13 19:10:22

Consumer rights
Hiw to read bus and train timetables

specialsubject Fri 19-Jul-13 19:11:07

how to use a washing machine without wrecking either machine or clothes. With a reminder that the clothes then need to be removed and hung to dry, not left for days.

how to do washing up - it needs both hot water and detergent.

that non-stick pans only stay that way if you DON'T use metal utensils, and DO use cooking oil.

how to close a door quietly, walk without shaking the entire building and come home drunk but in silence. (or don't come home at all).

do all this and the likes of me won't be screaming at them in the hostels on their gap year. :-)

JammyDodger1 Fri 19-Jul-13 19:11:08

How to prioritize things.

How to relax.

How to say No politely (and I mean to invites, people putting on them etc)

How to stay safe Online.

and how to never apologise for being who they are.

But on a less serious note grin

how to rescue wine that has been frozen.

what not to google shock

and a gem my dm god bless her gave me is

"Be nice or don't say anything as in twenty years your children will be at school with their children" and you'll all be stood together!

MardyBra Fri 19-Jul-13 19:12:35

"how to close a door quietly, walk without shaking the entire building "

If only...

JammyDodger1 Fri 19-Jul-13 19:15:59

I have another one

Have the first person in your phone as a point of contact in case of emergency.
i.e
I am down as "Arelass" in dh phone and he is down as "arehubby" in mine as if he is down as Fred how would anyone know he is my hubby and to contact him?

headlesslambrini Fri 19-Jul-13 19:17:54

how to buy a mothers day present - don't forget that one!

quoteunquote Fri 19-Jul-13 19:23:59

How to judge when to phone 999.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Fri 19-Jul-13 19:31:37

Breaks out in cold sweat - there are a few of these that I can't teach my kids as I'm not certain about them myself shock

If you use a bucket to pee in when camping, put wood chip cat letter in the bottom first <bitter>

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Fri 19-Jul-13 19:32:45

That'll be litter.
I'm not sure what a cat letter is but I'm sure it's a clever and cunning thing.

ivykaty44 Fri 19-Jul-13 19:40:30

you have to learn how to allow them to fail on their own

preferably in a safe environment

we learn from being allowed to do things for ourselves and we learn from being able to learn for ourselves

How to clean toilets smile

jazzcat28 Fri 19-Jul-13 19:57:19

My DH's mother didn't teach him anything before he moved in with me at 19

I had to educate him in the following:

That vegetables can be nicer and cheaper fresh than from a tin
How to work a washing machine - including colour separation, that clothes smell damp if left in machine and how much is too much for a load
How to budget your monthly wages
How to make £30 last a week of food not just 1 day
That bills DO need to be paid and it is NOT ok to wait until they chase you via debt collectors (his credit file is still so poor he can't go on our mortgage)
That Christmas dinner made with a real turkey (not a Bernard matthews reformed roll) is yummy and lasts ages so is worth a few quid more

And the one that will out me

How to make cheese on toast without using a microwave

SeagullsAreLikeThat Fri 19-Jul-13 21:04:08

Not hijacking but re Jammydodger's "contact in case of emergency", I read that you can put I.C.E. (as in "in case of emergency) in front of the person's name in your phone and the police etc will always ring that number first. I have it in front of both DH and my Mum... But it may be an urban myth and not actually used at all!

Catmint Fri 19-Jul-13 21:08:53

How to file household correspondence.

How to split a bill without angst.

How to keep your drink from being spiked
What to do if a condom splits
How to recognise the signs of meningitis

Still18atheart Fri 19-Jul-13 21:21:37

how to make a bed
how to clean their room & toilet
how to iron
how to fill out a tax form
how to budget

ImNotBloody14 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:29:56

How to grow veg, care for chickens, and basically how to survive well on very little cost by raising/ growing their own food.

How to see the possible uses of an item/ think beyond it's obvious purpose.

How to make money in more ways than just their employed job. Or to see the value in the various skills they possess and use it to barter/earn extra cash.

How to cook frugally, without waste, in batches, but healthily.

As you can see mine are all about surviving on very little- im skint and wish i was better at dealing with it grin

BackforGood Fri 19-Jul-13 21:35:44

JammyDodger - you should use ICE (in case of emergency) in your phone, then everyone is looking for the same thing if there's an emergency, as Seagulls said.

I hope when mine leave home that they go knowing that they can always ask for help if they need it. smile

curlew Fri 19-Jul-13 21:42:07

How to accept a compliment charmingly.
How to let somebody down gently.
How to win, and lose, gracefully.
To realise the importance of kindness.

ivykaty44 Fri 19-Jul-13 21:48:31

I have more than one ICE contact in my phone - but I have darling daughter and dad before the names - so then not on;y are they ice contacts the person knows who they are speaking to before the person answers, my dd1 is a fully grown adult and that is why she is ICE my other daughter is labelled darling daughter but doesn't have ice before her name.

BlackMini Fri 19-Jul-13 22:18:06

I consider myself to be very independent, have been living alone for 3 years, but I feel I need some of you to come and teach me some of these skills!

This is from last summer but really stuck in my head. m.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jul/28/modern-teenage-rite-of-passage

imademarion Fri 19-Jul-13 22:26:30

Wish I'd known some if these myself! Esp how to apologise and how to accept a compliment.

I was hopelessly impractical but could order confidently in fancy restaurants, swear fabulously in several languages, mix excellent cocktails and roll a spliff with twelve papers.

I never had problems finding people to sew in a button for me...
grin

jazzcat28 Sat 20-Jul-13 11:01:39

Re the ICE numbers in phones - this doesn't help if your phone has a pin to unlock it. Always make sure you have a business card of ICE contacts in your purse/car so emergency services find it when they look for your ID.

At work we have a sticker on the back of our ID cards which we carry at all times for this purpose

BikeRunSki Sat 20-Jul-13 11:15:31

ICE in my phone would get you the Institution of Civil Engineers Paramedic friend says that they always look for " home" first, then " mum".

BikeRunSki Sat 20-Jul-13 11:19:36

Many years ago I sewed a button on for my male flatmate so he could go out with a new girl in his pulling shirt. In return, he roasted a chicken for me ( veggie) to entertain a young gentleman. That was in 1997, and we are now both married to the people we were seeing that night. So sometimes it helps to be a bit helpless..... grin.

EduCated Sat 20-Jul-13 11:48:06

Ah Bike, that's an ace story smile

BackforGood Sat 20-Jul-13 13:18:31

Ah - well it was a paramedic friend of mine that first told me about ICE :-)
Jazz - my phone's not that posh, but you are right of course.

scoutfinch1 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:50:49

To be confident making 'proper' phone calls e.g to banks, companies, even ringing a taxi or takeaway is good practice.

Moneysense- avoid store cards, interest rates, bank accounts, savings, direct debits, budgeting etc.

In house fire safety- checking doors, electrical fires, cooking fires etc.

What to do if they feel threatened, think someone is following them etc.

How to have a safe night out. Don't leave drinks unattended. What to do if you think your drink has been spiked. Don't use unlicensed taxis. How to take care of drunk friends.

How to use public transport including flying.

How to complain politely and how to return goods to shops.

How to find jobs, write a C.V and behave in a job interview.

How to read a payslip/ tax forms.

How to behave and feel comfortable in a nice restaurant

How to resist peer pressure.

How to shop on a budget

How to pay bills

As well as everything else already mentioned. Wow there are lots. It is great that you are thinking of this now OP. It is shocking how many people I remember at uni that were completely incapable of basic tasks or lacked basic 'street sense'

scoutfinch1 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:07:11

Another few to add but it would be good to teach them what certain organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Womens Aid, Samaritans etc do and how to contact them if you or a friend needed to.

How to locate and register for services such as a GP and dentists. How to find Sexual Health services such as testing, morning after pill, contraception and give them the confidence to use them if necessary. When to make a GP appointment, when to ring NHS direct etc and when to go to the hospital.

How to travel safely, where to keep important documents, dangers of pickpockets, what to do if abroad and something goes wrong.

How to shop for and buy travel/car/home/contents insurance.

How to set heating systems and boilers. How to turn off the gas or water.

Some of these might be a bit far off for your pre-teen but worth thinking about for when they are a bit older.

MardyBra Tue 30-Jul-13 18:07:45

Just discovered another one. How to wrap a present. Neatly.

How to put on makeup, check your stockings for ladders, dress professionally. It's mortifying to have a colleague or boss kindly point this stuff out when they're 17 or 18. <bitter experience>

BerkshireMum Tue 30-Jul-13 18:23:26

I love this thread - and need to cut and paste the ideas before it disappears.

Capitola Tue 30-Jul-13 18:29:13

Def making a bed - my teen recently went on school trip and was the only boy in his room that could happily put a duvet cover, pillowcase and sheet on. Shockers.

Madlizzy Tue 30-Jul-13 18:32:28

How to relate to work colleagues and employers.
How to have a good work ethic.
Take the time to learn to spell properly and use correct grammar.
Read, read and read some more.
Keep up to date with current affairs. It's very useful to know what is going on in the world.
How to meal plan.
Always keep a condom or two in your bag or wallet.
Know when to buy new shoes (lads especially!)
Remember that you can find really good clothes in charity shops for very little money.

JenaiMorris Tue 30-Jul-13 18:38:10

I can't do some of these things.

I am 40 blush

JenaiMorris Tue 30-Jul-13 18:39:32

The difference between antiperspirant and deodorant.

MardyBra Tue 30-Jul-13 18:40:00

Don't worry Jenai. Neither can I. But they're all useful ideas.

MardyBra Tue 30-Jul-13 18:41:42

I've never quartered a chicken for example. I either buy portions or roast it whole.

invicta Tue 30-Jul-13 18:51:11

What a great thread!

How to use public transport ( and how to read a timetable)

Capitola Tue 30-Jul-13 19:12:20

Use chopsticks, know how to eat shellfish, General restaurant etiquette.

We took ds mate to a chinese restaurant and he cleaned his face with the hot towel!

MardyBra Tue 30-Jul-13 19:13:12

At least he didn't try to eat the "lemon soup" like someone I once knew!

JenaiMorris Tue 30-Jul-13 19:16:15

I'd love to be able to "prepare a chicken for sautée" but whenever I've tried I've massively ballsed it up.

I have taught my son to make carbonara, it being easily assembled using store cupboard/long fridge living/all night garage ingredients after a night out and more charming that picking up a kebab on the way home.

I am hoping for a lovely DIL, you see.

JenaiMorris Tue 30-Jul-13 19:18:54

Arf at the lemon soup!

Outside in but also please apply common sense when faced with 4 forks, 2 spoons, 6 knives at a place setting.

JenaiMorris Tue 30-Jul-13 20:52:28

Better still, watch what everyone else is doing or either a) have the confidence to ask or b) brazen it out.

Twattybollocks Tue 30-Jul-13 21:40:43

How to change a wheel

MardyBra Tue 30-Jul-13 22:58:09

blush Not sure I could change a wheel and be confident about it.

Twattybollocks Tue 30-Jul-13 23:12:16

Exactly, and actually, its really really easy. My father taught me because he said he didn't want me standing in the road with a flat tyre reliant on some random mans mercy, better if I can do it myself, and blokes would definitely think twice about attacking a woman who is wielding a large piece of metal. Of course, men can equally easily be attacked so useful for either sex.

RealAleandOpenFires Tue 30-Jul-13 23:53:09

How to wire a plug

(simplest way:- remove cover, turn over so pins are facing away from you.)

Blue wire = Bottom left
Brown wire = Bottom right
Green wire = Grass grows upwards.

CatsInCustard Wed 31-Jul-13 00:02:43

To know their alcohol limit

Dollybird86 Wed 31-Jul-13 00:59:24

How to put pressure into the boiler

Build Flat pack furniture

Fuse box (ie if all lights go out)

Nepotism Wed 31-Jul-13 01:37:07

Personal organisation - DD2, if you're reading this, it's really sensible to arrange a doctor's appointment before you run out of meds rather than after.

Boring stuff like knowing family birthdays, addresses and so on.

Looking at price per kilo in the shops to understand what is best value.

MardyBra Wed 31-Jul-13 14:14:33

I was doing price per kilo just the other day with DS...

<rubs halo>

Still18atheart Wed 31-Jul-13 16:38:14

How to bleed a radiator
Teach them what's what in a fuse box and how to trip the switch etc

delegate203 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:53:36

Social skills:
how to be easy to get on with, polite, good natured, able to say no or be assertive when necessary.

Life skills:
How to manage money; clean themselves, their clothes, their home; cook a handful of ordinary recipes and a couple of celebration ones; how to cheer yourself up if you're down; how to put plans and dreams into action.

Emergency skills: self defence; first aid; survival skills.

They can pick up the rest for themselves.

deleted203 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:59:28

How to change a tyre.
How to check oil and water in the car.

How to put up a shelf.

Find the stopcock for the water in a house.

aloiseb Fri 02-Aug-13 01:21:13

Having had to tell DD that yes, you do have to pay for prescriptions when you are a student, once you are over 18, and heard the cries of "it's not fair, why should you have to pay just because you are ill?"..........my mission for the next year will be to teach her: -

Not everything in life is fair shockshockshock

That can be instead of the chicken-quartering, as she's a veggie. Thank goodness, as I don't know even how to do it myself.

Asadullah Sun 11-Aug-13 15:12:01

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Sparklingbrook Sun 11-Aug-13 15:23:17

Hello again Asadullah.

FiftyShadesofGreyMatter Mon 12-Aug-13 04:24:12

Can this thread be moved to somewhere it won't disappear?

CorrieDale Mon 12-Aug-13 07:10:07

Not an urban myth seagulls.

Joedan94 Thu 26-Sep-13 04:53:16

My daughter has been sent to a pru at 15 after truanting and bad behaviour at school. She is now refusing to go saying there is no point. She is doing this as we wouldn't allow her to stay out till 11 with friends! The week before she did and I was driving round at midnight looking for her and found her drunk , we've had problems with her being drunk on a weekly basis in the past but she has been 'good' for quite a while now. She says she is rebellin as we wouldn't allow her out later last week. I am dreading this weekend as I know she won't come in and will be drinking in a park somewhere. Can anyone help?

SuperiorCat Thu 26-Sep-13 05:47:33

Joedan I think you may be best starting a new thread of your own in perhaps the teenagers section where you will get some really good advice.

Have reported to ask if this can be moved so it doesn't vanish

mathanxiety Thu 26-Sep-13 07:23:19

To know the difference between 'want' and 'need'.

To keep track of your bank balance frequently.

Driving/ changing tyre/ checking oil and basic car maintenance.

Laundry and the need to do it weekly at least.
House cleaning ditto.

Often better to be kind than to be right.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 27-Sep-13 13:44:53

Afternoon.

We can see that this is a very useful thread so, with Mardy's permission, we've moved this into a permanent section so that it can be found and used in the years to come.

Wishing you all the best in your aim to train your teens.

thanks

Trills Fri 27-Sep-13 13:48:58

How to delete your internet history (they probably already know that)

Trills Fri 27-Sep-13 13:49:17

How to work the privacy settings on any part of the internet where you put up any personal information.

MardyBra Fri 27-Sep-13 14:01:15

Aw Julie. When you emailed me to ask if I minded if it was moved, I'd assumed it would be going to Teenagers or Parenting or summat. Thanks. flowers

Trills Fri 27-Sep-13 14:20:55

That there are more than 4 weeks in a month - so if rent is listed weekly but charged monthly you won't be surprised when it's more than 4x.

Janek Fri 27-Sep-13 14:37:02

aloiseb do you definitely have to pay for prescriptions if you're a student? You didn't in my day [older than she'd like].

SuperiorCat Fri 27-Sep-13 17:38:45

Thanks Julie

divegirl77 Sun 29-Sep-13 21:58:31

When you go the GP speak for yourself. Even more so if you are over the age of 20 - or even 30.

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