This post: 13 Things Today’s Teens Don’t Know How to Do
The other day my daughter came to me for help. One of her favorite shirts had lost a button and she was completely perplexed on what to do next.
“Mom, what do I do? I love this shirt!” she said. “I don’t want to throw it away!”
Wait a minute, I thought to myself… you mean to tell me that my daughter is about to throw a perfectly good shirt away merely because a button fell off?
And, that’s when it hit me. I’ve failed my kids (at least in some areas, anyway.)
The truth is, if you think about it, there are plenty of things today’s teens don’t know how to do. Quite possibly through no fault of their own (or ours, for that matter) they just haven’t been taught to do some of the things we were expected to do when we were kids. With advancements in technology, changes in our culture and perhaps a shift in priorities, our kids simply aren’t as savvy about some things as we were growing up. (At least most teens, anyway.)
So, even though our kids walk around thinking they know absolutely everything about everything, I’m here to tell you, they don’t. Here’s an amusing look at 13 simple things today’s teens don’t know how to do.
13 Things Today’s Teens Don’t Know How to Do
#1 Where to Place a Stamp on an Envelope
Ask a teenager to mail a letter and chances are you’ll find them holding the envelope in their hands with a blank stare on their face. Not only are they a little clueless about where to place the stamp, they’re also clueless about how to actually address an envelope. With so much technology at their fingertips, there’s a good chance this good ‘ole fashioned skill is one they’ll never master.
#2 Mail a Box
There comes a time in every teenager’s life when they’ll be required to mail a box. As they wander around the house aimlessly looking for a box (thinking to themselves, “how hard can this be?”), they’ll eventually come to you for a few pointers:
“Where do I find a box?” “What packing material should I use… will tissue paper work?” “How do I label it?” “Where do I go to mail it?” It costs that much to mail a freaking box?” “Can you just do it for me, mom?”
#3 Read a Clock
If you want to have a little fun, ask your teen to tell you what time it is using a traditional analog clock. You know, the kind with actual hands. Seriously, how many of us still have traditional clocks in our homes?
The only place you might find a clock with hands is in a library or classroom and even that’s becoming less common. Let’s face it, with our kids glued to their cell phones 24/7 they may never need to read an analog clock ever again.
#4 Write in Cursive
It’s definitely a dying art. Sure, there might be a handful of schools that still teach cursive, but that could turn out to be fruitless considering most teenagers (and younger kids) have no idea how to read cursive.
#5 Write a Check
Remember when you got your first checking account and wrote that first check? Sadly, that’s a feeling most kids today will never experience. With online banking, phone transactions, and credit cards, who needs a checking account? And, if your teen does have to write a check, sit back and watch ’em squirm.
#6 Use a Can or Bottle Opener
With the invention of pull tabs, twist-off caps and electric can openers, most teenagers are fairly clueless about how to use a traditional can opener or bottle opener. Although, now that Pepsi and Coke are bringing back their nostalgic bottles, there is still hope that they’ll eventually figure this one out.
#7 Use Library Reference Materials
When our generation was in middle and high school, we used to hit the library (for hours on end) when we had to do research for a project. Teens today have it so easy! Who needs to know how to use reference materials when the Internet and literally hundreds of cool study, reference, and research apps are at their fingertips. (The funny part is, they still complain.)
#8 Sew On a Button
Hand a teenager a needle and thread and they’ll probably look at you like you lost your marbles. If that button can’t be glued or stapled back on, chances are they’d rather walk around with their shirt missing a button (or burn the shirt) rather than sit down and learn how to thread a needle and sew on a button. (Although, it would be rather amusing to watch.)
#9 Iron a Shirt
Ahhh… thank goodness for good ‘ole Polyester. When I was growing up, nearly everything was made with (at least) some percentage of cotton which meant when you pulled clothes out of the dryer they were a wrinkled mess.
And, unless I wanted to leave the house looking like I slept in my clothes, I didn’t have a choice but to break out the iron and fill it with water (so I could steam the blazes out of the really stubborn wrinkles) – all while trying to figure out the right setting on the iron so I wouldn’t fry my clothes. Not only are teens totally clueless about how to use an iron, they’re also wildly fortunate to not have to deal with the agonizing pain of a teensy iron burn that hurt like a mother and lasted for days. (Remember? I can still feel the pain.)
#10 Make Change
Heaven help the teenager who has to make change when a cash register is on the fritz. Surely some teens would breeze through a challenge like this, but most would be on the frantic hunt for the nearest calculator to save the day.
#11 Drive Without GPS
If only teenagers today knew just how good they have it to not have to keep an out-of-date, confusing, crumbled-up road map in their glove compartment just to figure out where they’re going when they get lost.
With just a click of their phone, today’s teens not only know which turn to take, GPS actually talks to them to make sure they stay on track. Plus they have tons of cool driving apps at their fingertips that alert them to upcoming accidents, traffic, and road closures… so lucky!
#12 Just Relax (Minus Social Media)
With the average teen spending upwards of six hours a day on their phone primarily for connecting with friends, relaxation and as an escape from the pressures of “teenagering.” it’s no wonder teenagers don’t know how to relax – without their cell phones, that is. Most teens (not all, of course) don’t really know how to relax. Their idea of R&R is scrolling through Instagram or Snapchat or getting lost in funny TikTok or YouTube videos. (Truth be known, some TikTok videos are hilarious.) The trick is to get them off their phones long enough to go on a hike, learn how to cook or take up a hobby. (Good luck with that one...)
#13 How to REALLY Focus
Growing up, we didn’t have the onslaught of distractions that teenagers have today. When it was time to study, we studied. Oh, we listened to music in the background, but that was it. No cell phones, no Netflix, no FaceTime, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Today’s teens (really through no fault of their own) are more distracted than any other previous generation, which makes focusing – I mean, really focusing – a serious challenge.
Sometimes, you have to accept the fact that some things may never go back to how they used to be…