5 things I will tell my teenage daughter

Navigating teenage years can be super tricky for any parent.  Of course, there is a different set of problems for boys and girls, with a lot of overlapping topics, but when I envision that venn diagram, I see the girl side bulging out.  I know from experience, it is very hard to be a teenage girl, even when life is good.  We ask a lot of our teenagers.  We ask them to grow up quickly and decide who they want to be and what they want to do with their lives before they even finish their teen years.  This is no easy task.

Savannah just turned 9 last week, which has got me thinking a lot about the mom I want to be for her.  It is really important to me that I not helicopter over her like I did when she was younger.  I want her to make mistakes (just not as big as the ones I made, haha) and I want her to be authentic and free-spirited.  I compiled a list of things I want to tell her so far, based on things I wish my 30 year old self could tell my 13 or 16 year old self:

  1. Be authentic.  “Peer pressure” is synonymous with teenage years, but resisting is possible when you love your authentic self.  That is easier said than done for a person of any age, of course.  Oscar Wilde said it best, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Any friend of value will gravitate towards you when you are being your true self.  This is how you know you are truly compatible as friends, and these friendships can last a lifetime.
  2. Be a kid.  …because you are and you won’t get another chance to be one again.  This is one of my biggest regrets – dying to grow up already.  It can be hard to live in the moment, especially when parents and teachers and society are telling you it is time to think about your future.  I want to emphasize the importance of being silly, weird, adventurous, innocently reckless and carefree.
  3. Take care.  Treat yourself with respect, compassion and love.  Take care of your body by exercising and making healthy food choices and don’t forget to take care of your mind.  Read for pleasure, meditate and pray on decisions, do things that bring you joy and never compare yourself to others.  Forgive yourself quickly and think positive.  Never tell yourself something you wouldn’t tell your BFF.  Don’t dwell on things you cannot change.
  4. Intelligence and confidence is beautiful.  Beauty truly does come from within and there is nothing more beautiful than a happy, confident person.  Believe in yourself and ignore what others may say about you.  It IS cool to be smart, more than you know right now.  Intelligent women are stunning, unstoppable and can have anything they want in the world, including love, money, happiness, a family, notoriety and a career.  There is no limit to those who push themselves.
  5. I love you no matter what.  When times get tense, never forget that I love you NO MATTER WHAT, forever and for always. I love you and you don’t have to say it back if you don’t want to.

New to Nickelodeon is an awesome show to watch with your teen called Make It Pop! It reminds me how important it is to express one self.  I’m a writer, so when I was a kid, that is how I expressed myself.  I kept diaries, wrote poetry and created short stories to express myself, and it is really fun to see my daughter do the same.  The main theme of this post is to encourage kids to be themselves and to share it loudly with the world.

Do you and your teen want a chance to win a trip to LA to attend the taping of a Nickelodeon show? (yeah, you do!!)  Head over here to the sweepstakes entry form to enter!

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