Educators and Parents: How to Prepare High School Students for Adulthood

Summary: What is missing in preparing today’s students for life challenges? They want “people skills,” and it would benefit us to teach them skills to be better adults.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

As a large urban high school principal, I appreciate your time with my leadership team.

Furthermore, I did what you suggested.

I surveyed the high school juniors. Here are responses to one of the questions you thought would be eye-opening. It certainly was!

The question: “What are you learning in school that is NOT being taught?”

Here are some of the answers:

“It’s better to be silent than argue with the popular students.”

“It’s fun to “talk trash” about parents.

“What you look like and what you wear are most important.”

“Drinking and getting drunk is a high school sport.”

“Pot, weed, cannabis, by any name, helps you get by on ‘down’ days.”

“Losing virginity before you graduate is the sign of a leader.”

Teens hesitate to ask what they need to prepare for adulthood.

Similarly, the next question I asked was: “What are you learning in school that you know will help you as an adult.”

“Not much. I can get what I need for work from the internet.”

“How to cheat on tests and not get caught.”

“Ways to praise teachers for getting a better grade.”

“Talk fast, pretend interest, and ask for help (even if not needed).”

“Pick the easiest subjects to get great grades with little effort.”

“Don’t share private concerns with teachers.”

Please note that many students love to learn and thrive in high school.

However, I do believe we are ignoring what these emerging adults do not just need; it is also what they want.

Above all, I would like your suggestions about what we should teach our teens to prepare them for adulthood.

The core of education is to prepare children to flourish as adults.

As noted, your coaching and Stress Mastery program have significantly impacted my leadership team.

As a result, I would appreciate suggestions for spreading your life skills methods to the youngsters.


Loves to Learn

Changing times demand different priorities for educating our young.

Dear Loves to Learn,

What a lucky school to have you at the head.

Instead of banning books and even “The David” from children’s eyes, you are moving in the direction of what will keep the next generations healthy and creative.

I believe that the young ones yearn to have a playbook of skills to help them navigate the complexities of life. Not instead of all the other important information they need, in addition to it

By all means, give teens specific options on life skills they want to learn.

As can be seen, the problem with asking teens what they want and need is they don’t know how to ask.

Nonetheless, the big question for those who lead and teach is the following:

“What skills can we, as educators, offer that will make a difference in handling stress and conflict when the students are out in the world?”

All in all, here is what I believe today’s youngsters want and need to be taught in high school.

  1. Firstly, Financial Literacy, One of the essential skills high school students need to learn is financial literacy. Many students leave high school without basic budgeting, saving, and investing knowledge. Financial literacy classes can teach about credit scores, taxes, and how to avoid debt.

Fundamental relationship and communication skills are as critical to teach as math and science.

All things considered, students must learn how to create and manage a budget, save money, and invest their money to create a more secure financial future.

  • 2. In addition, Time Management: Time management is a skill many adults struggle with, but it is a critical skill to learn in high school. Students must balance homework, extracurricular activities, and social lives in high school. By learning practical time management skills, students can set priorities, develop schedules, and learn how to use their time more efficiently. Practical time management skills can help students avoid stress and anxiety in college and beyond.
  • 3. Likewise, Conflict Resolution: Conflict is inevitable in life, and learning how to resolve conflicts is an essential skill that high school students need to know. Conflict resolution classes can teach students to communicate effectively, listen actively, and find common ground in disagreements. These skills can be helpful in all areas of life, including personal relationships and professional settings.
  • 4. Similarly, Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. It is a critical skill that can help students develop positive relationships and communicate effectively with others. Emotional intelligence classes can teach students how to manage emotions, empathize with others, and handle stressful situations healthily.

Most importantly, prevention matters: Teaching life skills in school will save vast amounts of money.

  • 5. All things considered, we need Critical Thinking: Critical thinking skills are essential for college and workplace success. High school students must learn to analyze information, evaluate evidence, and make informed decisions. Critical thinking classes can teach students to think logically, ask questions, and challenge assumptions. These skills can be helpful in various professions, from law to medicine to engineering.
  • 6. By all means, Health and Wellness: Many high school students struggle with health and wellness issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. Health and wellness classes can teach students how to manage their mental health, develop healthy habits, and care for their bodies. Students can develop healthy habits that will serve them well by learning about nutrition, exercise, and stress management.
  • 7. In addition, Digital Literacy: In today’s world, digital literacy is essential for success in many fields. High school students must learn to use computers, the internet, and social media responsibly and effectively. Digital literacy classes can teach students to evaluate online sources, protect their privacy, and communicate effectively in digital spaces.

Whatever happened to being polite and courteous with others?

  • 8. Ultimately, Professionalism: This is a set of skills and behaviors essential for workplace success. High school students must learn to dress professionally, communicate effectively with colleagues and clients, and manage their time and workload. Professionalism classes can teach students how to develop a professional image, network effectively, and succeed in job interviews and performance reviews.
  • 9. Most importantly, Competency: In today’s globalized world, cultural competency is critical for success in many fields. High school students must learn to understand and appreciate different cultures, beliefs, and perspectives. Cultural competency classes can teach students about cultural differences and similarities, how to communicate effectively across cultures, and how to work effectively.

Moreover, it will take a groundswell of caring adults, parents, and educators to bring life skills into the schools.

In short, life skills classes have been moved to the side of today’s educational system. Academics are the focus. It is a dangerous assumption that students will learn how to navigate life relationships independently.

Ultimately, life skills classes should be mandatory because many ill-equipped students do not know how to face the “real world.”

For example, as a starting point, I suggest learning to handle stress without violence (verbal or physical) to start the process in high school. My book “Invisible Stress (It’s NOT What YOU Think)” is a good beginning. Along with the book, I am offering my Stress Mastery online course for FREE! Please get in touch with me at for further information.

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia Lafair

PS. The Stress Mastery program includes personal coaching for the leaders who will help the students, and then they all become stress masters.


Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options