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Back to School: Preparing Kids to be on their Own

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Starting college and moving out of their parents’ home is a transitional landmark in every teen’s life. While most teens are excited to live independently because of the freedom it brings, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. As parents, you can start preparing your children gradually, so they aren’t overwhelmed when they move out.

To help your child start out on the right foot, it’s important to make sure they are prepared in these areas:

  • Keeping a schedule – starting in high school, let your child keep track of their own schedule, and keep them accountable to it.
  • Budgeting – talk to them about how to manage money and pay their bills.
  • Cleaning – including doing their own laundry!
  • Cooking and meal planning – include your teen in meal planning, shopping and preparation at home to teach them healthy habits.
  • Social situations – talk to your teen about how to handle situations that involve alcohol or drugs before they happen.
  • Healthcare – teach your child how to talk to their doctor, ask questions, handle insurance, know medical and family history, and keep a copy of their immunization records.

Children grow at different speeds, but having open discussions about responsibilities and independence throughout their life can help prepare them for adulthood at their own pace. Fortunately, Cone Health Center for Children has an exceptional team of adolescent medicine specialists, pediatricians and behavioral health specialists dedicated to helping and counseling parents and teens in the community who are struggling with the transition into independence.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Martha Perry is an adolescent medicine specialist and the medical director of Cone Health Center for Children and the Pediatric Care Division of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Perry received her Doctor of Medicine from University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1999. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital from 1999 to 2002, and a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at University of California, San Francisco and Boston Children's Hospital from 2002 to 2005. She is Board Certified in both General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.