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July 2015 Newsletter

Help Your Teen Build Self-Sufficient
Life Skills This Summer

by Channing Herrera, MFTI

For some teens the end of the school year can mean freedom, little responsibility, and endless electronic face time. Little focus can be paid on how teens are using their free time during summer, especially when the structure of school is no longer a factor. Fortunately, summer can provide a productive opportunity for teens to gain essential life skills that will help them prepare for adulthood.
As a parent, you can support your teen in learning skills to become self-sufficient via day-to-day tasks throughout the summer. Below are some areas in which you can help your teen.
Healthy Living
  • Encourage your teen to maintain good hygiene by having a routine for maintaining his health.
  • Share with your teen that good hygiene includes exercise and eating healthy, as well as making healthy decisions about how he treats his body and the effects of alcohol and drugs on the body.
  • Increase your teen’s awareness of doctor’s check-ups and follow-up with routine appointments.
  • Teach your teen some basic safety / first aid skills, and keep important contacts and health insurance information with him in case of emergency.
  • Teach your teen the benefits of preparing food for herself vs. getting “fast food.”
  • Build better eating habits by improving your teen’s understanding of what to buy in the store, how to cook well-balanced meals, and storing food properly.
  • Share knowledge regarding food shelf life and how certain foods are prepared to prevent illness.
  • Show your teen the basics of using the mixer, stovetop, and other kitchen tools so she is empowered to make meals for herself. 
  • Teach your teen the essentials of credit, paying bills, balancing accounts and budgeting.
  • Show your teen how to use an ATM card and machine and how to write checks.
  • Discuss using credit cards responsibly, saving money and the safe keeping of important financial documents to ensure economic protection in the future.
Caring for the Home
  • Enforce simple routine chores such as picking up after herself, washing her own clothes, using the dishwasher, and using other household devices to clean up.
  • Teach your teen how to change a light bulb, or review the basics of an electrical circuit / switchboard, as well as water shut-off and other maintenance procedures necessary for a residence. 
Automotive Care & Safety
  • If your teen is starting to learn to drive, allow him to do his own research to gain a better understanding of what qualifications he needs in order to become licensed, including driver education courses, driver instruction, and testing.
  • Teach your teen to have his registration and insurance documents organized and easy to access in the event he is pulled over.
  • Discuss the use of Bluetooth when making phone calls or accessing driving instructions.
  • Share what is involved in regular auto maintenance (oil changes, air in tires, and working light fixtures), and show your teen how to change the tire in case of an emergency. 
  • Give your teen daily responsibilities throughout the summer and school year to support her ability to fine-tune time and self-management skills.
  • Encourage your teen to practice self-management skills by participating in volunteer opportunities, taking on a part-time job, or getting involved in a club, sport or other activities.
  • Support your teen with her activities by educating her on planning tasks accordingly, including breaking down big tasks and setting goals and deadlines.
Addressing these life skills with your teen can help support his or her independence. Remind your teen that these skills cannot be taught overnight, and are sometimes learned by making mistakes. These conversations can provide a bonding experience as you embark on a united venture toward your teen becoming more responsible and self-sufficient.
Would you like additional tips and suggestions to help your teen? Visit our Los Gatos Teen Therapy blog to read more articles, or contact us at 408.389.3538 to learn more about our parent support counseling services.

About The Author

Channing Herrera is an In-Home Teen & Family Coach at Los Gatos Teen Therapy. She facilitates positive communication strategies that are family focused and culturally competent, and provides a supportive environment that encourages positive coping skills while working through issues related to trauma, anxiety, depression, and stress management. Channing is trained in Crisis Intervention, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Structural/Systems Family Therapy. She was previously a Mental Health Specialist for Starlight Community Services.

Group Therapy: A Great Way To Connect With Other Teens And Get Peer Support This Summer

Los Gatos Teen Therapy is excited to offer several teen therapy groups! These groups allow teens to connect with peers who understand what they are going through. Group sessions are $75* and 75 minutes long. The weekly groups are ongoing, and an 8-week commitment is requested. Visit our website or download / print this flyer for more information.
  • Social Skills*
    • Saturdays 9:00-11:30 AM; Co-Ed Group – Ages 15-18
* The Social Skills group is $175 and 2.5 hours long. This group will take place out in the community rather than in the office so the teens can practice the skills they are learning in real world settings.

To sign up or learn more about our teen groups, please contact us at 408.389.3538.

Summer Therapy Services Available

If your students or children would benefit from therapy services over the summer, Los Gatos Teen Therapy is happy to provide: For more information, please contact us at 408.389.3538 or visit our website at
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Los Gatos Teen Therapy provides individual teen therapy, family therapy, group therapy, parent support counseling, and in-home teen and family coaching 7 days a week, including afternoons, evenings, and weekends. For more information, contact us at 408.389.3538 or
Copyright © 2015 Teen Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, All rights reserved.

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Teen Therapy Center of Silicon Valley
246 Union Avenue
Los Gatos, CA 95032

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