As you know I have two teenage children. Lewis is 16 and Holly 15. I’m not going to lie parenting teens is hard work. I constantly worry that I’m being too strict, not being strict enough, giving bad advice not intervening with advice. Nagging, not nagging. You see where I’m going with this? It’s a total contradiction and while I think I know the ‘right’ answers to give they’re not always the best answers. If that makes any sense.
What I do know is that being a teenager is like living in a mixed up world, a world where you are being told you have to choose a direction or make a decision, but you are unsure of which direction to take or what your decision will be. Of course, as adults we know that life very seldom turns out exactly the way we planned it and will often go the complete opposite way, but that’s cool, that’s life and sometimes these things just happen.
I think the best piece of advice I can give to my kids is this: don’t spend your days worrying, enjoy being young and free. Learn well but understand that life’s biggest lessons are not learnt in the classroom. Be kind, thoughtful and considerate to others and above all else love and listen to your mother!
I quite often reflect on my teen years and wonder what I would tell myself if I could go back. Would it have made any difference and would I have even listened to the older version of me?
I asked on my facebook page what advice you would give to your teenage selves and this is what you had to say:
”Oh goodness, so much. Stop thinking you know it all and can plan your life out ahead of you mainly. And to learn to be flexible and bend in the winds of change pretty quickly, as that’s the only way to survive. Also, appreciate being able to be spontaneous as it’s harder when you have children. Oh, and savour every single lie in”-Hayley, Downs Side Up
”Be true to yourself and honest in all situations no matter how difficult. Make decisions based upon what YOU want, not what others want for you”-Al, The Dad Network
“Firstly I would talk to myself as if I were a friend, an encourager, a person who is there for the teenage me in a really positive way. I would say don’t worry dear heart, about how it will turn out. (I worried as a teenager that I wouldn’t find someone to marry and have a family with.) I would say don’t feel guilty about feeling let down but also don’t hold onto disappointment or bad friendships. I would say to go with my gut instinct with boyfriends and to never demean or demote myself for others sake. Gosh, I would say so much to myself! Mostly to have confidence in who I am”-Lizzie, Lizzie Somerset
“Although you have no clarity right now, very soon you will start to see things clearly. You’ll come to realise what you need to do to turn it all around. The keepers in your life will forgive you, and eventually you will forgive yourself”-Renee, Mummy Tries
“Trust your Mum. She was actually right about everything”-Martyn, Inside Martyn’s Thoughts
“Be confident and stop comparing yourself to your friends. Also don’t let anyone treat you like a doormat, friends or otherwise because you are not one. Finally, trust that your parents only want what’s best for you, they aren’t trying to ruin your life!”-Francesca
“Love yourself, know your worth and don’t let anyone ever make you forget it!”-Katie, Pouting in Heels
“You are enough the way you are, don’t be afraid to be yourself, some people aren’t worth the time or trouble”-Leigh, Headspace Perspective
“Trust your self-worth and don’t let anyone make you feel worthless; parents, peers, or teachers. Believe in yourself”-Ally, Messed Up Mum
“Don’t listen to your Mum and get your eyebrows waxed! Haha, seriously, I’d tell myself not to be too hard on myself and that everything would work out so not stress”-Vicki, Honest Mum
“Wear that short short skirt, it looks great on you, and you’ll look back and regret not wearing it more often (while you could get away with it). Kiss the boy you’re crushing on, he might just like it and you’ll never regret the boys you kissed… only those you didn’t. So my alternate advice to my teenage self is to have as much fun as you can, don’t take life too seriously, and appreciate the moments because they slip by faster than you think!”-Uju, Babes About Town
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s how you’ll learn what does or doesn’t work for you. There’s nothing wrong with changing your plans and coming up with something new”-Izzie, World According to Izzie
“Don’t be in a hurry with things, there is plenty of time in life”-Andrea, Andrea Louise
“You are not fat. You will look back in years to come and wish you were that ‘fat’ again!”-Hannah, Hannah Spannah Coco Banana
“You’re not a special snowflake, and trust me, you don’t want to be. Common ground and humanity are so much more important than snobbery. Also, dad is never going to even acknowledge his shit, so I’d give up as soon as possible if I were you. It’s not worth the internal turmoil”-Lix, Lix Hewett
“Really? Is he worth any of your tears? I think not. I’d also tell my 20-year-old self that incidentally”-Vanessa
“Enjoy life! It gets trickier when you’re an adult”-Melanie, Le Coin De Mel
“You are worth more than you think, hold out for the right one”-Aby, You Baby Me Mummy
“Do as much crazy shit now while you can still get away with it!”-Natalie, Diary of an Unexpectant Mother
“Treasure those around you. not there forever and takes lots of photos”-My Aunty Tracey
“I guess I’d just say, take heart and know that if you stick with God everything will work out alright in the end. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the heart that holds on, so hold on to hope, because it won’t let you down”-Alexandra, I’m Every Mum
“Stick in at school. Work hard. Cause although it’s a pain in the bum right now, it’ll be worth it when you are older and have ££s to go shopping and partying with”-Laura
“Don’t be so serious. Life is there to enjoy. It’s a winding path and be prepared to make many detours. Believe in yourself”-Sarah
“Be yourself, avoid bullies and remember your life will b so much better hen you are older”-Victoria, My Little L
“Do not start smoking and dump that idiot you think you love!”-Alica
“I would be telling myself to realise you are beautiful no matter if you look different and make up won’t change that”-Tammy, Us Two Plus You
What a wonderful response, thanks so much to everyone for getting involved and giving over your beautiful words of wisdom, I am sure they will be comforting to those that need them and your thoughts have also been immensely helpful to me, as a mum to teenage children.
Over to you readers, let me know in the comments what advice you would give to your teenage self…