There is a significant difference between being an adult and behaving like one. Legally, teens become adults when they turn 18. It's pretty normal for teens to wonder when they really become adults, however, and what makes the difference between an adult and a child. Here's a list of life-skills we think every adult needs to know in order to really act like an adult. 

1. Financial Management

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Learning how to manage your finances is a life skill that every young person should learn before turning 18. Financial management includes the ability to create and stick to a budget, save money, understand credit, and plan for future expenses. Mastering financial management skills while you're young can set you up for long-term financial stability. It is important to learn how to prioritize the critical expenses (like rent), avoid overspending, and save for emergencies and future goals. It's really never too early to start learning; kids as young as 7 or 8 can begin practicing with their allowance.

One Redditor said, “Developing skills of positive financial management is a process many overlook.”

Another also added “So much this. Or even just understanding how to budget, and a basic understanding of household bills.”

2. Good Hygiene 

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Good hygiene is essential for preventing illness and disease, as well as personal appearance and satisfaction. Develop healthy habits such as regular hand washing, brushing teeth, showering, and wearing clean clothes. It is also important to practice good hygiene in public places and when you're sick. Learning good hygiene at a young age, you can develop habits that benefit your own health, and make it easier to keep a strong group of friends—giving you a healthier community overall.

3. Cooking

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Cooking is important not only for saving money, but because it can teach you time management, budgeting, nutrition, and so many other things. Cooking at home, you'll have greater control over the ingredients they use, which is especially helpful if you have allergies. Overall, learning how to cook is a valuable skill that provides numerous benefits, including increased self-sufficiency. It is never too early to start learning, and developing cooking skills at a young age can set individuals up for a lifetime of healthy and enjoyable eating habits.

One user said “Oh and cooking some basic meals is a life saver. I don't know why schools don't have home economics classes. It's such a shame.”

4. Simple First Aid

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Learning some amount of first aid is important, and it can help you get out of a flight-or-fight response during an emergency, and actually help. Basic first aid skills can help prevent injuries from becoming worse and sometimes even save lives. It's good to know how to treat minor cuts, burns, and bruises, as well as how to respond to choking, allergic reactions, and other medical emergencies. Knowing how to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) usually require a certification, but they can be life-saving in some situations.

It is also important to understand how to see the big picture in an emergency, such as assessing the situation, calling paramedics, and staying calm and focused.

5. Critical thinking 

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Critical thinking is the way we carefully analyze information, evaluate evidence, and make logical decisions. The foundation of critical thinking is really just asking good questions, trying to find out all the relevant information before you make a decision, and developing your problem-solving abilities. Honestly, the world is full of information and misinformation, and confusing situations (like finding an honest mechanic or negotiating with a landlord). The ability to think critically and ask good questions will take you a long ways.

One Redditor said, “Don't take things at face value, really consider what is being told to you, why, and by who. There are good people in the world of course, but there are many who do NOT have your best interest at heart and will attempt to take advantage of your ignorance. Go slow, listen, learn, and Think.”

6. Time Management

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Time management is an essential life skill; it can benefit anyone at any age but it's particularly important to learn it you move away from home and encounter the world on your own. Managing your time is important for everything from the obvious (working, school, making plans with friends), to cooking a meal or cleaning your house. As you become an adult, practice managing your time and creating a schedule or using a calendar or planner. Time management can help you to be more productive, achieve your goals, and reduce your stress.

7. Emotional Intelligence

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Take some time as you become an adult to learn or brush up on emotional intelligence. You don't have to read thoughts, but staying attentive to the emotions, reactions, and expressions of the people around you can teach you so much, and help a lot with all kinds of relationships. Everything from working to dating relationships rely a lot on working with other people's moods and emotions, even if they're unfair. Developing these skills will help with navigating social relationships and communicating clearly and effectively.

One Redditor added “Emotional intelligence. I didn't start developing this at all until I was in my late 20s. I feel like men especially struggle with this.”

8. Self Control

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Delayed gratification is one of the hardest skills to learn: almost everybody is tempted by the instant payoff. Learning self-control is essential to make better decisions, regulate your emotions, and achieve your goals. Self-control skills include delayed gratification, but also impulse control, self-motivation, and stress management. The ability to manage your stress, keep yourself motivated and keep control over your impulses will take you a long ways in life.

One Redditor stated, “Self-control, you are now an adult, and whatever protections you had for your actions as a minor are largely gone, and the consequences are now higher.”

9. Communication Skills

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Learning to communicate well can provide significant benefits, such as improved relationships, better academic performance, increased employability, improved mental health, and enhanced problem-solving abilities. Some ways to develop communication skills include practicing speaking, reading, and writing, joining clubs or organizations, active listening, and seeking feedback. Whatever way you find to practice, do it with mindfulness and intention, not just to get it done.

10. Developing your Own Opinions

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Developing your own opinions is an important skill to develop before the age of 18 because it helps you become a critical thinker and an independent individual. It is essential to form your own opinions based on evidence, logic, and reasoning rather than simply adopting the beliefs of others.

11. Learn a New Skill

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As you age and become more independent, don't stop studying and learning new things. New skills are not only just interesting (and make you a more interesting person), but they can increase your overall joy, inspire you in your school or career, and keep your mind sharp. Some really valuable skills to consider brushing up on include a foreign language, coding or computer programming, public speaking, writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

As a user added “There are a lot of skills one should possess before turning 18, they include: social skills, communication networking, tech skills, video editing, graphics designing, and coding…”

While you might not try to learn those exact skills for your personal career path, keep studying and learning, whatever direction you decide to take.

Original Reddit thread here.

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