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As my daughter reached 13 I started to see more of myself in her. The good bits, the bad bits. I also started to remember how tough it is to be a teenager and how the old saying of school days being the best years of your life just doesn’t always ring true. Here's my advice to my teenage self.
1. This is fun! It’s not supposed to be serious. Experiment, take risks, because later when you have big responsibilities (a job, children, mortgage…) it’s more risky to take risks. For now, push the boundaries in your safe protected environment. Pull a (fun) all-nighter, go (safe) skinny-dipping, then go back to your family cocoon.
2. You look more silly worrying about looking silly than you do when you don’t care about looking silly.
3. Get used to the idea that learning anything new is hard. And it only gets harder. So now is the time to embrace it. Giving up on dreams and ambitions is one of the things that older people regret*, because they know how much easier it is for those with a spongy young brain to take on new ideas and skills. Choose a skill to pursue, and stick at it. You will never regret it.
4. As any teenager will know, there’s a pressure to look perfect. You are perfect. Or, as perfect as anyone else. And that’s that.
5. Don’t let friendships get you down, because by the time you are an adult you’ll have ditched most of them anyway. Shame, but true.
6. Enjoy your parents. Nobody will love you like they do. And forgive them for being annoying. It’s their job.
So the key advice here is – try not to worry. But every teenager worries because they are going through a time of immense change and confusion and it can be derailing. As a teenager I know once said, “I live in my world. But it’s okay – they know me here.”
Need to get closer to a teenager? Check out the range of award-winning journals created by Journals of a Lifetime to inspire you and your teenager to learn about each other.
*Girls’ happiness plummets as they reach teenage years https://www.herts.ac.uk/about-us/news/2015/october/hbsc-report
*Top 10 regrets in life by those about the die http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/infographic-the-top-10-regrets-in-life-by-those-about-to-die/