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10 Signs You Are Ready To Leave Home

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10 Signs You Are Ready To Leave Home

The grass always does seem greener. It is not uncommon for teens to believe that adults have it made. No rules, you can do whatever you want. All you want is to be an adult with no rules. Often, though, you fail to realize all of the responsibilities that come along with that, and adults are failing you here as well.

I do remember being a teenager and having the feeling that I was so ready to leave home. Actually, I was very ready, but so many teens are leaving home unready. So, let’s take a look at my checklist of 10 signs to know if you are ready to leave home or not. These are 10 things I believe anyone who is out in the world on their own must know how to do, or they might encounter some serious problems.

  1. You know how to do your own laundry. You understand that red socks don’t get washed with white t-shirts, unless you really like pink. So, essentially, you can sort, put in detergent and whatever else you like (such as fabric softener or bleach), and wash and dry the different types of loads. Presumably, you also know how to fold your clothes, sheets, and towels and actually put them away as well.
  2. You can cook a healthy meal (Hot Pockets and frozen pizza do not qualify as healthy meals) and clean up after yourself. Can you boil an egg or pasta? Make baked chicken or spaghetti? Maybe even grilled cheese? If so, you will likely be able to survive on your own. And now that you can cook, do you know how to wash those pots and pans and dishes? Because, out on your own, nobody else is going to do it for you.
  3. You know how to change bed linens. That means putting clean sheets on your bed once in a while. It’s not always the easiest task, especially if you have a large bed. It requires pulling and tucking in and potentially dealing with comforters and duvets. Figure this out. You probably like sleeping in a bed with sheets and blankets. You need to know how to change your linens.
  4. You know how to clean a toilet. Toilets need to be cleaned often or they truly get disgusting and can harbor nasty illnesses. No, they do not magically clean themselves, even when you add cool little cleaners to the tank or the bowl. You will need to get in there with a toilet brush and all around the seat and lid with a sponge and cleanser. Learn how before you leave home.
  5. You know how to track and manage your money. You know how to log into your bank account online or by app. You know how much you have at any given moment, and don’t spend more than you have. You understand the concept and responsibility of paying bills. You don’t spend on credit cards unless you have the money to pay in full each month.
  6. You know how to make and keep an appointment. Whether it is a doctor’s appointment, getting your car serviced, or a meeting with a teacher, you know how to call or email to schedule your own appointments, and you remember to show up as well. If you don’t know how to do this, start learning now.
  7. You know how to refill a prescription. You know not to wait until you run out of medication, but to get it refilled ahead of time. You understand how to call or electronically contact the pharmacy for the refill and pick it up. You also understand that you might have to also call your doctor to get the refill order into the pharmacy. You understand and have mastered the process and are responsible enough to do this without ever allowing yourself to run out of important medications. You also remember to take your medications as prescribed.
  8. You know how to manage a calendar and meet your deadlines. This means you keep a calendar of important deadlines and events and manage your time well enough to meet all deadlines and remember important events, like your mom’s birthday. You get your work done on time and turned in, you show up to important things, and you call, send a card or a gift, or text loved ones on special occasions. You meet all school and work related deadlines.
  9. You take responsibility for your mistakes, rather than blaming others or denying. This is a real sign of maturity. Everyone makes mistakes, child or adult, but it takes maturity to own your mistakes and use them as opportunities to learn and grow and improve yourself. You’re not afraid to say, “I’m sorry” and make amends when you’ve hurt someone. Hopefully, you will never make the same mistake twice.
  10. You are prepared for and know how to handle an emergency. Whether it’s a small emergency, like a flat tire or a car accident, or something major like a natural disaster. You cannot go out on your own until you understand some basics about what to do if you find yourself in an emergency situation. Be prepared and have a plan.

Growing up isn’t all fun and games. You’re going to become an adult, whether you like it or not. These are the basic skills you need to master to have success when you leave home. Learn how to do all of these things before you leave, and you will be off to a great start.

Lori Freson Lori Freson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California. She has been working in the mental health field since 1997, and has been a licensed therapist since 2002. Lori currently works in her own thriving private practice in Encino and Sherman Oaks, where she serves the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas.
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