Whether we admit it or not, the ultimate goal of a parent is to make our job obsolete. Older teens should be able to function independently most of the time, with minimal parental intervention. Here are five things you can do to land your helicopter and start your teen on the road to independence.

Managing money

One of the most important skills teens need to learn is how to manage and budget their money. Show your teen simple budgeting techniques for monthly expenses, plus how to save over time for special purchases, like concert tickets. Credit card companies often prey on college students, offering them more credit than they need. Talk to your teen about how much they are really paying for items purchased with credit. Kenneth Ginsburg, M.D., M.S.Ed says, "The goal should be to cultivate an attitude that values responsible spending, long-range planning and generosity. A fundamental principal is that there's a difference between what you want and what you need."

Communication skills

When was the last time your teen used a telephone to call for information or schedule an appointment? Texting has taken communication skills hostage and parents need to bring them back. Have your teen call businesses asking for information and have them schedule their own appointments for the dentist or hair salon. Once they are living away from home they will be responsible for contacting landlords, resolving issues with their bank and scheduling appointments.

Laundry and cleaning

Most teens are responsible for chores around the house, but being solely in charge of cleaning their living space and laundering their clothes is a much bigger task. Help them break cleaning down into smaller, manageable tasks that they can do throughout the week.

Time management

Getting to work or school on time, remembering to study for midterm exams and paying the rent on time are some of the ways time management will come into play as your teens become independent. Many teens still rely on parents as their backup alarm. Give them the responsibility for getting up on time instead of checking on them every 15 minutes. Check in with them about assignments, but remind them that they are responsible for finishing them on time.

Problem solving

Despite the best-laid plans, problems are bound to arise. Appliances need repair, bicycles are stolen or the debit card is lost. Your teen needs to be able to think about possible solutions on his own and follow through. Good problem-solving skills are necessary to handle anything life may throw at your teen.

Keep in mind^ Your teen wants to be independent and you can help. Remember, you are making yourself obsolete.

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