The Role You Take Before Going On Your Own
Independence, it’s something you seek, but also brings a sense of fear. You want to learn to be on your own, but still rely heavily on mom and dad. To help you deal with the responsibilities of being independent of your parents, we’re providing eight practical habits that will help you establish a strong foundation to feel comfortable when it’s time to leave home and be on your own. Here are the final two, plus some reasonable approaches to implement these tasks into your life:
7. Run Errands
Running to Target to get a new tube of toothpaste, picking up a new pair of shoes at the mall for a weekend excursion, fueling the car with gas, dropping an item off at a friend’s house for your school project – errands add up quickly and they aren’t always fun. So, to make the hassle of errand running easier, come up with a plan so you aren’t wasting your time. Develop the best route and map it out. It’s easiest to pick up everything you need all at once rather than going back and forth again and again. Before leaving the house, be sure to ask your mom if she needs you to pick up anything while you’re out. By giving her a break, you open up her time to focus on more important things. If you can’t yet drive, ask your mom if you can join her the next time she needs to run errands and take your list with you. Getting out of the house together can actually be great bonding time. As embarrassing as it is, you can be responsible for buying your own feminine products, it’s not fair for you to rely on your mom. While out, know that you can ask for help if you can’t find the right item, this saves you time and helps you familiarize yourself with the store.
Know your budget, stick to a list and don’t stray when purchasing items. After you’ve picked up all the items on your list, be courteous to the cashier. Learn how to pay him either with credit, check or cash. Make eye contact with him and carry on a short conversation by simply asking how his day is going. You don’t need to be texting your friends while you’re communicating with another human being, and your conversation with your mom can be placed on hold until you get back in the car.
8. Carry on a Conversation
You live in a virtual world, interacting with people digitally. It’s easy to become lost in the bubble you’ve created and forget about the people around you, but that can become a very self-centered approach to life. The most basic elements of carrying on a conversation involve eye contact, smiling when interested, listening to what is being said and responding accordingly. In order to approach a simple conversation, you must first set aside any distractions so your attention can be on the person in front of you.
Conversations can be simply questioning the stranger helping you with your order at Starbucks to a lengthy conversation with your boyfriend’s parents over dinner. With any conversation, knowing how to ask questions as well as what questions to ask is key. With a stranger, a simple, “How is your day” is enough to get the conversation going. But, with a more intimate setting, that question is just the beginning. Have a handful of “go to” questions to ask, such as “What projects have you been working on lately?” “Have you seen any good movies recently?” or “What has been the greatest blessing in your life this week?” It’s not offensive to talk about the weather if it’s a genuine concern or interest, but if it’s just small talk, quickly move on to another, more interesting topic. Take note of the progress of the person’s life. What are their likes and dislikes, struggles and successes? Ask the progress on these elements every time you meet. Let conversation flow freely and easily. Don’t always ask one question after another. Let everyone present talk. Don’t dominate the conversation by talking about yourself the whole time and don’t avoid talking about yourself either. You have a lot of interesting things to speak about, so share!
You aren’t going to be able to take on all eight of these habits at once, but each is important to develop before heading out on your own. So, how do you learn to implement these practices into your life?
Set Your Own Goals
Try to get one of these areas under control in your life per month, then when you’re ready to start the next item, reward yourself. Make your goal and reward personal. If you learned to do your own laundry, treat yourself to a new shirt. If you’ve established cleaning your bathroom as a new weekly habit, reward yourself with a spa day. If you can’t take on one new habit per month, do what works for you. Setting up your own goal is part of building independence; so don’t give up if you’re struggling. Some tasks will be easier and more natural than others.
Don’t try to implement each of these in your life all at once. It’s more important to develop these skills properly rather than rushing through them, so take your time. If it takes years to develop, that’s okay.
It’s more important to be consistent with these tasks rather than being a perfectionist about them. If you’ve made it a habit to clean your bathroom on Thursday evening, but you have a big test tomorrow that you need to study extra for, just do a quick wipe down so you stay on schedule, but then come back to what is more of a priority in your life.
Keep Up Your Goal
It’s important that you make it a habit, not just a task that you do once or twice. To truly show your parents that you’re developing into an independent young woman, you need to demonstrate that you’ve accepted these elements as a part of your life.
Make it Fun
Turn up your music and dance or sing while you hang your pictures and run errands. Enlist help so it’s a community effort – host a party WITH your sibling or friend. These tasks don’t have to be dreadful.
Manage Your Time
All these tasks should be done on a regular basis, on top of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, time with friends, sports practice, etc. No wonder your parents always seem exhausted, it’s a lot to keep up with! Time management is one of the greatest lessons of building your independence and becoming a responsible adult, so build these tasks into your schedule, which means you may have to give up some other, less important luxuries.
Teenagers have a reputation of being lazy, but when you’re on your own, you can’t afford to be lazy. Dig into these practices to help you establish yourself in the world, demonstrating your independence to mom and dad. Not every teenager is a slacker; show the world that you’re the exception.