10 Life Skills Your Kids Should Learn in High School

High school can be a stressful time. Many students are panicking about having grades solid enough to get into college. Others are grappling with the daunting idea of graduation from high
school and dealing with new, more serious responsibilities. Social situations make the lives of others challenging, to the point where many have suicidal thoughts. No matter what your child’s plans are after high school, there are certain life skills that they should know to effectively communicate and build relationships with people. During the high school years, be sure your teenager has these ten life skills to enter the world prepared for battle.

Personal Goal Setting

Setting incremental goals can help college students and young adults succeed. Goals should include short-term, long-term, personal, and professional goals. Without formal goals, young adults lack a solid direction and can suffer in all aspects of life. Before sending your high school student out into the world, be sure to help him or her to establish incremental goals.

Positive Thinking and Stress Management

41.6% of college students experience frequent anxiety problems. This may be due, in part, to a lack of stress management training. Every person needs to understand how to relieve stress and remain emotionally healthy. Teaching your student how to deal with the imperfections and stressors in life can improve mental health problems in the future.

Conflict Management

Schools don’t teach much in the way of conflict management and resolution. In elementary school, students are taught to share and keep hands to themselves. Past that point, many students don’t learn how to deal with conflict. Teach your children to manage conflict effectively when the opportunity presents itself. It can also be very helpful to enroll students in short conflict management courses to further develop skills.


Student leaders and student body organizations label themselves as leadership programs, but don’t teach it. Students are often elected to the bodies and represent classes, but don’t learn actual leadership skills. Teach your child from a young age how to be a leader and accept different personalities. Even if the child doesn’t grow up to fill leadership roles, the skill will always be helpful for peer interaction.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Children are taught to sit and listen at an early age but aren’t taught how to properly interact with people. Parents need to teach children active listening skills. Most people listen with the intent to
reply, instead of listening to understand. If you’re guilty of this yourself, find a course in communication and interpersonal skills. Most people don’t have this skill, so you are placing your child in an advantageous position if he or she learns how to communicate effectively.

Cognitive Skills

Children are often taught to listen and regurgitate information for tests. They are rarely required to think critically, or problem solve. Cognitive and critical thinking skills require a good deal of
time and effort to teach. The process should be long-term, so students can develop habits of better cognition. Cognitive skill courses are a good option to implement the best methods for
your child to succeed.

Time Management

Many students don’t know how to manage time properly. Often, children are on structured schedules at home, but don’t continue them when they move out of the house. Teach your student to manage time effectively on their own. This will probably involve trial and error, but allowing them to see consequences of poor time management is the best way to ensure long-term success.

Financial Intelligence

College students often begin their lives piled in debt from school loans and credit card balances. While there is often no way to avoid student loan debt, teach your child how to spend within their limits. Educate them on the perils of accruing credit card debt and living outside their means. It’s also a good idea to work with your teenager to create a formal budget. It seems simple, but many young adults struggle with this skill.

Substance Abuse

Schools often touch on the subject of substance abuse, but it needs to be an ongoing education for students and young adults. Alcohol and marijuana use has slightly declined in the youth population, but prescription drug use is climbing. Take the opportunity to discuss substance abuse with your child on a regular basis. Be sure you don’t overwhelm them, but keep the lines
of communication open for discussion.


Bullying, mental health issues, and suicide have sadly become a way of life for today’s youth. Schools often address these problems effectively but be sure to be involved in your child’s mental health care. Look for signs your child is being bullied or is becoming depressed. Help teach them from an early age to ask for help when they need it. Never shun your child’s feelings or tell them to “get over it.” Mental health problems are real and can have a serious impact on young adults’ lives.

Life Skills in High School

There are many teachable life skills and this is not close to a comprehensive list. Pay attention to the soft skills your child needs. Think back to the things you wish you had known as a graduating high school student and incorporate them into your child’s life. Students can never be too prepared academically or with life skills.

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