five things I want my teen to know

Dear Teens: Life is Harsh and Other Things You Need to Know

Life Lessons for Teens

We’re 5 years into this teenage thing with another 6 years ahead of us and there are some days that I am as clueless as I five things I want my teen to knowwas when they were babies and toddlers. At least when they were little and cried you could pretty much narrow down what their problems were. Now when one of them cries, it could start out for one reason and end up being something completely different by the time the last teardrop falls. I’ve found myself shaking my head and saying “what the hell just happened THERE?!” more often than not.. especially with 3 in the house now.

Most days I feel like I’m one of those “wah-wah” adults from Charlie Brown.. I talk, offer my sage wisdom (and you know I have a ton of it) and life experiences and they tune me out. Just like I tuned my parents out. But if they were listening to me? These are the 5 things they’d hear me saying most often.

1) The teen years pretty much suck. There are no 2 ways about this one. Anyone who tells you they don’t is lying to you and you should stop talking to them. While there are some great points to it, largely the 5 years between 13 and 18 are chock-full of more twists and turns than a roller coaster at Great Adventure. So when you’re having a great day, relish it because most likely, tomorrow (or the next 5 minutes) will be different.

2) The people you’re in school with will disappear when your graduate. I don’t care if you’ve been BFFs since Kindergarten, unless your entire gang never moves out-of-town once you graduate high-school, you’ll hardly ever see them again. I know it seems insane to think that, but it’s so true. So try and remember that when you’re stressing over who screwed who over and who dissed you for someone else.

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3) You’re going to get busted. Oh this one is so hard because you think you’re so smart and sneaky and while you probably will get away with it a couple of times – maybe even more times than not – at some point you’re going to get cold-hard busted. Why? Because teenagers don’t pay attention to details. Especially when you add social media sites into the mix. I’ve busted my 18-year-old several times because one of the friends I knew she was supposed to be with posted an Instagram shot or sent a tweet out that just happened to land in my lap that indicated an entirely different story.

4) You’ll regret not working harder in class. High school is what we adults call a necessary evil. No one needs chemistry or Algebra 3 in their everyday life (okay.. SOME people do… ) but you have to do it in order to get the credits you need to get in a good college. While it may seem like a great idea to wait til the day before Christmas break is over to start studying for exams, trust us.. it’s not. Take 30 minutes each day and read a little more than you should – it will pay off when you’re going to WFU instead of a community college.

5) Stop worrying about who you make happy. There are 2 people whose happiness you need to worry about. Yours and your moms. And the funny thing is that if you’re happy, chances are your mom is happy. I watch all three of my teens bust their tails to make her friends happy and you know what? They get screwed over almost every time. I’m not saying they’re guiltless in some of the things, but I know they say “I’m sorry” a lot more than they have to in order to make peace with their friends. It’s happening a lot less frequently, so we’re getting somewhere in our lessons. The next time you feel like selling out to make a friend happy, remember #2 above.

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All this being said, high-school will be on of the most significant chunks of your life that you remember forever and time will end up weeding out most of the crappy parts. (Until you have kids of your own and are forced to remember the intensely bad moments.) You’ll love seeing your classmates when you come home from college and at your reunions. You’ll always have a sense of pride when you hear that your alma mater won a game and when one of your former teachers passes away, it’ll sweep you back to her class and the lessons she taught.

Hang in there dear, sweet 16-year-olds… while it may seem as though you’re living thru hell, in a blink it will be over. And you’ll wish it were back.

Sort of.


January 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Yes… I agree but also remember that when we were teens, the last thing we thought our lives were was simple. Hind-site is 20/20!

Elaine Springer Griffin
January 7, 2015 at 10:45 am

So true! All of these are so, so true. I remember when I was 16, and DESPERATELY wanting to be an adult. Someone referencing John Mellencamp, “Hold on to 16, as long as you can, changes come around real soon make us women and men.” I thought it was such a load of shit! But it’s true. And even though teen years do suck, I do find myself wishing to go back to the relative simplicity!

January 5, 2015 at 8:35 am

Great advice Kristin. I want to print this and make my 12 and 13 yo’s read it. They definitely aren’t too young to hear it.
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January 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

I pretty much hated high school. My two high schoolers seem to have maneuvered fairly well…but my son goes to an all boys school, so that takes girls out of the equation and that makes things a lot easier. This is spot on.
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January 5, 2015 at 7:58 am

I like the way you finished this… I pretty much don’t want to go back to high school, especially in today’s world. It’s pretty tough out there. I agree with the whole list. Teenagers never think anything will go wrong, so they don’t think ahead about possible eventualities, and that’s often a “fatal flaw.” If you can come away from high school pleased with how you treated people (including yourself), that’s a victory!
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