Guest Expert

What Skills do Complex Teens Need to be Ready for Adulthood?

Do you know exactly what life and school skills your complex teen needs to be successful when they reach adulthood? Not in theory, but specifically?

According to Guest Expert Samantha Feinman, there are some very specific skills required. She identifies seven general areas of overall independence required for taking ownership of life, and two areas of social and emotional competence.

And it probably comes as no surprise that all of them rely on some aspect of Executive Function.

For example, we often hear from families, "My son or daughter is capable of doing high-level academic work, but they’re just not demonstrating that level of performance." That’s not a great surprise, because what it takes for a bright student to get motivated and activated, engaged and on task, is some capacity to manage executive functions.

In fact, Feinman explains, our kids need to get a handle on managing time, and everything that comes with that. Learning to arrive places on time, break down long-term assignments, prioritize, and get themselves started on tasks requires metacognition (that is, self-monitoring). Without these skills, kids and young adults will have a tough time being successful.


"I think sometimes what’s difficult for individuals is that … they have a lot of help at the middle-school and high-school level” – such as with multitasking and prioritizing.

She continues, "And then in college and employment, it really shifts. There’s not a lot of feedback that you’re getting from parents, professors or coworkers. Now, all of this has to be self-initiated. So it’s really essential, in that shift from middle school and high school to college or a career, that individuals start to take ownership over being able to do these things more independently," says Feinman.

In this podcast, Feinman breaks down four areas of life skills that are directly correlated with long-term success -- from self-monitoring to persisting through tasks. "Help-seeking isn’t just asking for help, but also recognizing when you need help,” says Feinman. “And then being willing to accept it," Elaine adds.

Light bulbs went off for Elaine because, well, this is everything we at ImpactParents teach in Sanity School®.

And just for the record, this is not all on the young adults. Parents need to understand this so that they can begin to transfer responsibilities and help their kids learn to self-manage – which is, of course, what we’re all about!

Bottom line: if you, as a parent, are thinking, “But this is everything my child struggles with -- how am I supposed to fix it?” then get started with this podcast on the road to help your kids gain the skills they need to prepare for adulthood.

Tune in now.

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