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52 Things you should teach your teen daughter

Karen Amster-Young

Facebook was filled with Mother’s Day tributes and posts this past weekend. There were old pictures, new pictures, words of thanks and words of wisdom — all in honor of moms everywhere. Funny, sad, wise or just recording the events of the day, you felt the power of all things mom. And then, just like that, I was reminded why we are here: “You waited until now to do the rest of your history homework?” I asked my 14-year-old daughter after she finally stopped FaceTiming. “Waiting till the last minute to do something important rarely works.” It’s not rocket science and I’ve said it before but this time I felt the words coming out of my mouth. There it was, the lesson of the day. I can’t help it.

When the house was finally quiet hours later, I stepped back, felt thankful and thought about things. Yes, the day was filled with food, flowers and fun but it’s rare for a full day to pass without throwing in a lesson or two even when we try to “take a break.” I guess that is what we do. As girls dressed now as grown-ups, we’ve learned. We’ve fallen. We’ve succeeded. We’ve failed. But we keep going. We keep teaching, 365 days a year. So in honor of being the mom of a soon-to-be ninth grader, I jotted some others down. There are many more.

  1. Give back. Continuously teach your daughter that there is more to life than a new pair of “Seven for All Mankind” jeans.
  2. Don’t judge. From Bruce Jenner to Brian Williams. Embrace and forgive differences and diversions and deceptions.
  3. Get over yourself. For every selfie there should be a post about the world.
  4. Be nice. Don’t be one of the Mean Girls. Love the movie but learn the lessons.
  5. Learn the power of what you say and don’t say. Learn when to talk up, shut up or just smile.
  6. Remember, there are all kinds of smiles.
  7. Misunderstanding? Miss your best friend? Learn the power of talking, not texting.
  8. Do the right thing. Include others even when the group tells you otherwise.
  9. Karma is a good thing. Trust it.
  10. Pursue your passions and interests, especially when the going gets tough. Work and hobbies are a great distraction from the B.S.
  11. Be yourself.
  12. Never stop trying to be better but don’t beat yourself up when you fail or falter.
  13. Not every good friend is good for every reason.
  14. Don’t feel guilty. Own your decisions.
  15. Learn. Try. Don’t be afraid to fail. Life is like photography, you develop from the negatives.
  16. Respect yourself.
  17. Read. Netflix doesn’t cut it.
  18. Help someone every day. Look around. Someone needs a hug, a hand or a hello.
  19. Be your own best friend.
  20. Hugs help.
  21. Extremes seldom work for anything. Learn balance, moderation.
  22. Learn the power of eye contact.
  23. Gossip Girl is not real.
  24. Never forget how important family is. For everything. Now. Later.
  25. Life existed before Instagram and Snapchat — trust me.
  26. Not every decision has a right or wrong choice. Just make a choice.
  27. Plans, schmans. Planning is great but embrace unpredictability.
  28. Accept help when you need it. Everyone does.
  29. Compromise.
  30. Forgive. It’s not always easy, but do it.
  31. Smile. Laugh.
  32. Advocate for yourself.
  33. Advocate for others.
  34. Don’t be a doormat.
  35. Tough stuff makes you stronger.
  36. Run, walk, play, move.
  37. Be loyal. Stick up for those you love.
  38. Retail therapy is a real thing.
  39. Raise your hand in class, in life.
  40. Trust yourself.
  41. Get up and change “the channel.” There weren’t always remote controls.
  42. If you think it’s wrong, it probably is.
  43. Make the time for what’s important even if you miss something “important.”
  44. It’s OK to be scared.
  45. It’s OK to be selfless.
  46. It’s OK to be selfish.
  47. Pitch Perfect is a great movie but somewhere along the way, watch An Affair to Remember, The Way We Were, Beaches, The Breakfast Club, and other movies your mom deems “classics” just so we can talk about them together!
  48. Kissing is very important, intimate and incredible. Don’t just kiss to kiss.
  49. When you buy that amazing shirt, skirt or something it has to look great and feel great — at least most of the time!
  50. There is nothing wrong with napping. Remember 50 may be the new 40 but it’s not 14!
  51. Say “I love you” to someone every day. I love you. And…
  52. Sometimes a new pair of “Seven for All Mankind” jeans does make things better. Even for a day.

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