August is a fifteen year old girl who has lived in Maryland most of her life. She loves writing and music, her favorite subject is Science, and she’s a vegetarian. She wants to become a journalist and is working as hard as she can towards this goal.
Every now and again we all need a little good advice because, as much as we would hate to admit it, teens don’t always know what to do. The problem is that good advice can be hard to come by. So, I would like to share with you some of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard over the years.
“Just be yourself.”
I must admit that this is not the easiest advice to hear because the times when it is given are usually overlapping with those times when all you want is a set of rules to abide by. But sometimes no set of instructions exists and you need to be your own person, not a perfection machine, and act on your own accord. At the time it may seem like something someone says because they don’t really know what to do, and maybe it is, but in all honesty it really is great advice. These wise words are usually reserved for the personal essays or the college interviews, but try to keep it in mind whatever the situation may be, especially if you’re meeting new people; you get one first impression, so make it an honest one.
Teens typically don’t like to hear this (well who does?), but there is a way to give this advice kindly. Explain what you mean when you say “be yourself,” it’s not always clear on how to do it or what it even means. And even though you should try and keep it in mind at all times, don’t overuse it, no one wants to hear the same confusing piece of advice all the time
“Everything in moderation.”
This is something my mother always tells me, but it is a great piece of advice and one that can apply to most situations. This advice suggests limited use, saving and open-mindedness toward other foods, activities, and many other matters.
Of course the most obvious time to use this advice on your teen is when helping them make healthy food choices, because of course you do need to eat a varied diet with all different vitamins and nutrients, also known as needing “everything in moderation”. But this advice can also apply to settings like shopping, helping your teen save money, and when encouraging them to try new foods or activities.
“Help people with their problems and they’ll leave you alone.”
I recently had a revelation and I discovered this: if someone has a problem that they are convinced that you can fix they will bug you until you fix it (or until they can find someone else to do it for them). I figured if I help someone out with a problem that they had, whether I knew what to do or not, I’d either fix it or mess it up and make it worse, but no matter what the outcome my own problem would go away. Maybe not the nicest advice, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
We all know that advice is harder to get than it is to give, so before you give any advice to your teen be sure you understand the situation and that your teen actually wants advice. It’s never easy to follow advice no matter who it comes from or how good it is so don’t be upset if it’s not your teens first option and try to be as understanding as possible.
Photo: Wonderlane from Flickr