I can deny it all I want but the frightening fact is that one day my four children will be teenagers. Feisty, hopefully not wearing their pajamas to the mall, snarky 13-19 year olds. Everyone says enjoy the time when they are young because one day, not far from now, you will be
waiting pacing for your child to come home. I sometimes receive texts from my husband's cousin, a 14-year old seeking advice on every teenage issue imaginable. I appreciate that she confides in me and I hope that every teenager has an adult to be open with. I also feel grateful that I do not have to relive those years but it also makes me cringe at the thought that one soon day, I will be riding shot gun on the emotional roller coaster that will come from living in the same house as my future middle and high school students (I know Mom, I know- those days will be payback time).
There is no denying that it is a different day and age then we, as parents, were growing up. My eight-year old knows how to do more on a computer than I did at the age of eighteen. There was no internet, cell phones or social media. Bullying was contained during school hours. It now has no boundaries. We, as adults, need to do our part to listen, advise and most importantly, be there.
Here is the advice that I give to the teenagers that I adore now and will continue to give (with the hope that any single part of it is listened to):
Stop scrolling Instagram. Take out your headphones. Put down your phone.
Texting should not replace face-to-face conversations.
Listen to your parents.
Listen to your grandparents.
You are loved by so many.
You are strong, smart and beautiful.
Speak with respect.
The internet is written in ink.
Think before sending.
Learn to say sorry, please and thank you.
Letting go is essential to your future happiness.
Doing well in school is essential to your future.
Saying no to what everyone else is doing is empowering.
Think before piercing.
Learn from your mistakes.
Appreciate it all.
Life is colorful. Try not to be beige.
Perfection is overrated.
Get a job.
Do your chores.
Ask how you can help.
Happy people attract happy people.
You can guess what negativity attracts.
Try out for a team.
Eat foods grown from the ground.
Write in a journal.
Read books that you love.
You have permission to complain about something three times before creating a positive solution for it.
Laugh with your friends with abandon and don’t analyze how your laugh sounds when it is out in the world. It is beautiful.
Boys do not think with their minds at this age.
If someone is hurtful, they are not worth your time.
Wear your seatbelt.
Learn to play an instrument.
Have slumber parties.
Last but not at all least, hug your momma.
We've so got this.