Tips for teens

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 21st June 2011

Where did that time go? One minute my darling daughter was a baby with blonde curls and a penchant for Madeline books, felt-tip pens and The Jungle Book video. The next she’s a fiercely independent student who’s fixed an internship in London for the summer (with no help from me or her dad, I hasten to add) and moved into a rented flat with friends.

When I was nineteen I didn’t have a clue about anything. But my daughter’s far more clued up. Even when she was at school she had a part-time job, passed her driving test first time and studied hard for exams (I didn’t manage any of those things). She can troubleshoot my computer problems in the blink of an eye, bakes the most stylish cupcakes (see above) and knows the coolest fashion bloggers on the planet. and are her current must-reads, by the way.

I’m loath to give her any advice because she doesn’t need it. But what the hell, I’m an annoying mum, so I’m going to anyway.

So here are my top ten tips for university and beyond:

1. Be confident – in your looks and your abilities. You’re lucky – you’ve got both!
2. Seize the most exciting opportunities that present themselves. You don’t want to look back and regret the things you didn’t do.
3. Travel as much as you can while you’re still young (and don’t wait till you’re my age to go to New York.)
4. You’ll meet loads of exciting new people during your university years but be sure to stay in touch with your old friends too.
5. Don’t ever settle for second best – in your career or your love life.
6. Go to lots of parties – but get masses of sleep too.
7. Don’t drink too much (and definitely say no to the vodka teapots.)
8. Keep fit, take care of your health (skin, eyes, teeth, you name it) and buy the best moisturiser you can afford. When you’re as old as me you’ll be very glad you did.
9. Keep on being kind.
10. Be happy. Don’t roll your eyes but this is the most important rule of all. Happiness is a state of mind, I reckon, so if it doesn’t sound too Pollyanna-like, if you decide to be happy, you will be.

PS: It’s cheating a bit, I know, but there are two extra rules. Please ring your mum lots and come home as much as possible. I miss you!

PPS: If anyone’s got any more tips for teenagers, I’d love to hear them.

2 comments so far

  • This is a lovely and moving post. My daughter Rosanna, left home three weeks ago. Not to uni -she’s 26! I was lucky and held onto her in my nest a little longer. Although we’ll miss them, we must pat ourselves on the back. They’re strong young ladies who’ve left home… that’s the right way of things!


  • Thanks so much, Ange. It is a real milestone when they move into their own place but I know they’ll come home lots. Hope so, anyway!

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