13 Things I Want to Tell My 13-Year-Old Daughter

Dear Anna,

You’re 13. Sigh.

I have so many ways I’m proud of you and things I love about you. You have  a natural intelligence. Your kindness and ability to be friends with so many different types of people make me really proud. Your basketball skills are so effortless…you’re incredibly good without being a selfish player at all.

I could go on and on, but instead, I’m going to be all motherly and send some advice your way.

Love you bunches,

Mom

1. Don’t be a selfish jerk-face.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in yourself and your personal needs, but make sure you take time to think of others, too. Do something nice for your brother. Put a friend’s needs before your own. Assume a teacher has good intentions instead of being defensive or dramatic about why you’ve been wronged. This one will take you far…in middle school, high school, and beyond….and it’ll make you a lot happier in the long run.

2. Feeling awkward is awful…and totally normal.

The most confident and cocky kid can still feels awkward, unsure, and confused. Unfortunately, every girl your age is probably worrying about their looks, wondering if they are fat, or just dwelling on other insecurities. It’s OK (and totally normal) to have these, thoughts, but don’t let them turn into an obsession. Instead, focus on all your great traits and embrace those.

3. Equality is always worth fighting for.

I wish I could tell you that men and women are paid equally. Or that we’re at a place in this country where your skin color or sexual orientation doesn’t matter. But the truth is, I can’t. Please don’t stop speaking up for equality, though. As your mom, I certainly will.

4. Speak up for things (and people) you believe in.

Just like the equality one, it’s also important to speak up every single day. If someone is not treated fairly, it’s OK to say so. If you see someone being bullied, stand up for them. This goes to the very core of who you are, and it’s important to make your voice heard.

5. Don’t be a lazy bum.

People like to label things (example: lazy millenials). But the truth is, anyone can be lazy or not apply themselves. People have been doing it for years! Don’t fall into this trap. It can be a tough hole to climb out of. If you do find yourself not giving it your all, maybe it’s time to find something else to put your efforts into.

6. Don’t let others dull your sparkle.

People who put you down are not your friends, and you don’t have to stick it out with them. By the way, people who put others down usually have a lot more going on with themselves than you’ll ever know. So if you come across this, just move along.

7. Kindness will take your further than smartness.

High intelligence is great, but hard work can make up for that. So instead, I want you to always be kind. You probably won’t feel like being kind to every person or in every scenario, but try to live by it as much as possible.

8. Some adults aren’t all that great at adulting.

I remember growing up and being surprised and disappointed in a lot of adults. I had no idea that adults could be lazy, rude, selfish, and many other not-s0-great adjectives. I thought all adults had to “do the right thing.” This is sadly not the case. There are adults who are not-so-great parents…adults who have addiction problems…adults who manipulate others…and adults who just make mistakes. I make mistakes every once in a while…sometimes…plenty of times. Remember this about adults, and try not to judge them too harshly.

9. But you still have to show adults respect.

So even though some adults have some questionable habits or judgment, you still have to show them respect. Yep, even teachers. I know…how annoying is that?!

10. Please try new things.

It’s so easy to get into a rhythm or routine, and you just keep doing the same thing, over and over. Please be open to trying new things. Take a class on jewelry design. Go out for a new sport. Join a club you’re curious about. Try to start this habit now so you do so for years and years to come. There are too many great things in life not to explore them.

11. Try new friends, too.

Just like trying new things, it’s good to try new friends. You have some great friends already, but people change so much from this age and on. And this isn’t a bad thing! Change is good. I encourage you to be open to new friends as you grow up and evolve. Keep your mind open to new people and possibilities always.

12. Go outside and be active on purpose.

Screens and electronics are altering our brains. You know this because I talk about it way too often, but it’s absolutely true. Please don’t let electronics keep you from being active and going outside.

13. Find ways to laugh and smile a lot.

Insert all those cheesy, motivational sayings right here. “You do you.” “Live your best life.” “Do more of what makes you happy.” Yes to all of these things, and SnapChat doesn’t count. I’m talking about the experiences you have that form memories, shape who you are, and yes…that make you laugh and smile a lot. Find those things, and do more of them.

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