22 Things All Parents Should Teach Teenagers About the Real World

Navigating the real world can be a challenge, especially for teenagers on the cusp of adulthood. Here are 22 pieces of wisdom that every parent should impart to their teens, based on a recent online survey.

Learning Is a Skill

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Ironically, high school is less about the content you learn and more about learning how to learn. It’s a skill that will serve you well beyond school walls. Don’t slack off; developing a strong work ethic now is crucial. Learning isn’t just about absorbing information; it’s about cultivating the discipline to pursue knowledge.

Friendships Take Effort

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Surprisingly, maintaining a small circle of close friends is more rewarding than a larger circle of acquaintances. Friendships require effort and give-and-take. It’s a lesson in quality over quantity. Remember, to have good friends, you need to be a good friend.

Confidence Is Key

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Confidence can open as many doors as competence. But be cautious – confidence without competence can be a dangerous mix. Building genuine self-assurance through skill and experience is invaluable.

People Lie

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Frankly, not everyone tells the truth, and that includes adults. Trust is important, but a healthy skepticism is essential. People often act out of self-interest, so learning to discern truth from falsehood is a crucial skill.

Good Friends Are Everything

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Having reliable friends is invaluable. Those who stand by you in tough times are worth their weight in gold. It’s heartwarming to know that true friends will go to great lengths to support you, and it’s important to cherish and reciprocate that kindness.

Procrastination Is Harmful

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Life never really “settles down.” Procrastination is a thief of time and opportunity. If something matters to you, tackle it head-on. The future is not guaranteed, so seizing the day is more than just a cliché; it’s sound advice.

Be Realistic

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Arguably, adulthood isn’t an endless party. Responsibilities like doing dishes are part of daily life. It’s essential to strike a balance between enjoying your freedom and managing your responsibilities.

Comparison Steals Joy

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Comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to steal your joy. Ironically, the only person you should measure yourself against is who you were yesterday. Strive for personal growth, but don’t let comparisons to others derail your journey.

Don’t Get Into Pointless Debt

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Debt can be a slippery slope. A small amount owed can balloon into a significant burden. It’s critical to understand the value of money and the importance of managing debt wisely. Financial literacy is key to avoiding the pitfalls of unnecessary debt.

Learn To Clean

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Oddly enough, becoming comfortable with regular cleaning tasks makes life much smoother. Embrace the routine of tidying up; it’s a habit that will serve you well in all aspects of life. A clean environment often leads to a clearer mind.

Don’t Rush To Leave Home

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The rush to independence can be costly. The real world is expensive, and moving out means facing those costs head-on. Appreciate the security of home while you can. Independence is important, but so is financial stability.

Nothing Is Free

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Undoubtedly, there’s always a cost, whether it’s in your personal or professional life. Even simple interactions can have unexpected consequences. Understand the value of things, and don’t take anything for granted.

Life Isn’t Fair

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Hard work and kindness don’t always lead to success or fair treatment. But don’t let this hard truth stop you from striving and being kind. Perseverance and integrity are their own rewards.

Be Self-Reliant

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Realizing that you can only truly count on yourself is a powerful epiphany. Self-reliance is a crucial life skill. Nobody is going to hand you success; it’s up to you to pursue your goals and look after your well-being.

Expect Failure

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Failure is a part of life, especially if you come from less privileged backgrounds. It’s okay to fail; what matters is how you respond to setbacks. Learn from your failures and keep moving forward.

Not Everyone’s Worth Your While

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Frankly, not everyone deserves your time or respect. Focus on people who value you and treat you well. Don’t let negativity from others derail your self-esteem or ambitions.

Stop Caring About What Others Think

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While you’re the main character in your story, you’re just a background extra in the lives of billions. Don’t stress too much about what others think; most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to notice.

Don’t Prioritize Paid Work

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Your job should not define your entire existence. Remember to look out for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t stay in a job that makes you miserable just for the paycheck. Your mental and emotional well-being is priceless.

Roll With It

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Life is unpredictable. No plan survives contact with reality unscathed. Be adaptable and willing to adjust your course as needed. But having a plan is still crucial; it gives you direction and purpose.

Celebrate Yourself

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As you get older, you may need to take the initiative to celebrate your achievements, including planning your own birthday parties. Cultivate a social life that brings you joy and fulfillment.

Life Doesn’t Always Get Harder

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Adulthood can be fun, especially if you make wise choices. The stress of school and early adulthood doesn’t last forever. With the right attitude and decisions, you can enjoy a fulfilling adult life.

Humans Are Complicated

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People are complex and multifaceted. One action doesn’t define someone entirely. Recognize that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and never give anyone complete power over your safety and well-being.


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