I was a very spoiled child. Not because my parents took me on lavish vacations and showered me with "just because" gifts. In fact, those things never happened. But they did a lot for me. My mother cleaned the clothes and cooked the meals (and since she's Italian, you know they were delicious), while my dad tinkered with the cars, changed my lightbulbs, and unclogged the toilets. Once in a while I'd sit in to learn their tricks, but for the most part I let them take the lead. This bit me in the butt the minute I left for college. I can't tell you how many times I called my mom to walk me through laundry or texted my dad about a plumbing problem. Needless to say, my phone bill was pretty pricey freshman year. While I appreciate everything my parents did for me, there are a few things that I wish they'd taught me along the way. To keep your teen from suffering a similar fate, make sure they don't leave home without mastering these simple life skills.
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Wake Up on Their Own
As much as kids love waking up to their mom's soothing voice, they need to learn how to rise and shine to an annoying buzz. Otherwise they are sure to sleep through most of their freshman year.
Source: Flickr user potzuyoko 
Write a Thank You Note
Teens have a reputation for being rude. Get yours to change the stereotype by encouraging them to send thank you notes for gifts, awards, and random acts of kindness. Bonus points if they are handwritten.
Source: Instagram user 14willlord14 
Do the Laundry
Sure your kids can pay to have their dirty duds cleaned, but that adds up after a while. Wouldn't you prefer that they put that money in their savings account?
Source: Flickr user emilysnuffer 
Make (and Keep) an Appointment
This one seems simple, but most kids depend on their parents to schedule doctor appointments and car inspections. Unless you want them to go years without a teeth cleaning, teach them how to make the appointment themselves.
Source: Instagram user wendy_prettywellorganized 
Manage Their Finances
They don't need to know about investments and stocks, but your teen should have an understanding of basic finance skills  like balancing a checkbook and budgeting.
Source: Flickr user meddygarnet 
Handle Small Medical Issues
As much as we love Web MD, it can cause us to panic over something as simple as a bug bite. To help them keep calm, teach your teen how to treat cuts, burns, and low fevers.
Source: Instagram user akosiprincern 
Carry on a Conversation
Thanks to texting and social media, kids have lost the ability to actually talk to someone. Encourage them to put down the tech devices and opt for face-to-face conversations whenever you can.
Source: Flickr user vhbelvadi 
This might be a difficult task to master if you live in New Jersey or Oregon, which ban self-service gas stations. Then again, what teen wouldn't enjoy a road trip?
Source: Flickr user r00ts 
Calculate a Tip
You don't want your child stiffing the waitress just because their phone died during dinner. Here's a simple tip calculation: Move the decimal one space to the left and double that number.
Source: Flickr user vxla 
Remove a Stain on the Go
Nothing ruins an outfit like a giant red spot on your shirt. Rather than telling them to buy a Tide stick, show your teen these easy (and free) stain removing techniques .
Source: Instagram user danieluh89 
Cook a Meal
You wouldn't feed your child take-out every night, so why should they resort to that when they move out? Teach them how to whip up simple dishes like pasta, grilled chicken, and stir-fry . As an added bonus, they'll be able to impress future significant others.
Source: Flickr user The Travelling Bum 
Learning to sew on a button or mend a tear will save your child money on a tailor. If they're really good, they can turn it into a small moneymaker.
Source: Flickr user simon_cousins 
Tend to Toilet Troubles
Never pay someone to do a job that you can do yourself. That means taking care of clogged and running toilets.
Source: Instagram user deny8791 
Clean a Room
There's a big difference between a room looking clean and being clean. While your child may be the master at moving their mess around, make sure they know how to vacuum, sweep, and dust the mess away.
Source: Flickr user SewPixie 
Change a Tire
Take it from someone who's been there, nothing is worse than waiting for AAA on the side of the road during a rainstorm. Save your child the tears and teach them how to replace a flat.
Source: Instagram user rdeokie