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Life Advice For Teens: If Nothing Else, I Hope My Teen Knows This

Parents want the best for their kids. An entirely new set of worries erupts during the teen years as our kids are growing fast and our time with them is swiftly slipping away.

We have so much to teach them, so much they need to learn. But the irony is, it’s during these years when our kids rarely listen to the advice we have to give, good advice or not. Teens are distracted by their self-absorbed world and indifferent to our valuable opinions, our hard-earned wisdom, and our well-worn patience in trying our best to equip them for adulthood.

So, we pick and choose the most important principles to repeatedly share with our teens, hoping when they are out of our sight and on their own, they will remember and rely on these truths.

6 Lessons Worth Repeating:

1. If you always compare yourself to others, you will never find out who you are.

When you look at others to measure your worth, you are dismissing your unique talents, physical features, and voice. Instead, spend your energy discovering all your gifts, building on your strengths, and fine tuning those weaknesses. Honor who you were created to be, and spend your life celebrating your individual traits and unique sense of purpose. Be the best you, as that’s enough.

2. Pick your people wisely.

Who you surround yourself with will always be your greatest influence. Choose your friends carefully. They will have a deep impact on how you do life. Make sure they are trustworthy, supportive, and kind. It’s okay to let unhealthy relationships go, and it’s also okay to avoid people you know aren’t healthy for your well-being. You can still be friendly and set firm boundaries with people, but you have a right to make your own decisions about friends, so don’t feel obligated to succumb to peer pressure.

3. Always make time for self-care.

It’s so easy to forget that we need to take time for our personal needs. Self-care looks different to everyone, so as you get to know yourself better, tune into what you need to be healthy, both physically and emotionally. Don’t deny yourself this significant indulgence. If you don’t replenish your mental and physical well-being, the consequences can be dire. Find ways to rest and refuel both your body and mind. Then practice them regularly.

4. You have more courage than you know.

You will never know how brave you are until you take that first step into your fear. The greatest lie you will tell yourself is that you “can’t.” The first step is always the hardest. The ones that follow often lead to fulfillment and empowerment no matter what actually transpires. Just doing that hard thing will strengthen you and help you realize you have more courage than you know.

5. You will make mistakes, let people down, and fail miserably.

You should expect your life to have some serious lows, massive disappointments, and humiliating shame. You are not immune to making mistakes. You will never be perfect, so prepare yourself for these falls and understand that it’s what you do with these low points that matters. Give yourself an abundance of grace when you mess up because although guilt and shame can be a useful moral barometer, they can also sabotage your peace. Take responsibility for your actions and do everything you can to resolve and redeem the situation. Remember that some of the greatest life lessons come from the hardest falls. Sometimes growing hurts.

6. Be careful how you measure success.

We live in a world of mass media that often defines success by beauty, wealth, and fame. Please don’t believe these metrics. Your success is solely based on your happiness, fulfillment, and peace. Don’t accept any other definition this world gives because it will only lead you down empty roads with a malnourished heart. What brings you deep joy? What fuels your passion and fulfills your purpose? What brings meaning to your life and challenges you to grow? Pursue a life that answers those questions, and you will find true success.

There are so many more things I want my teen to know, but if nothing else, I hope she carries these messages with her. If she can truly understand these things and practice them every day, I’ll call that a parenting win.

Until then, I’ll keep repeating them over and over again—with the hope that one day they may soak in.

Christine Carter writes about motherhood and parenting, health and wellness, marriage, friendship, and faith. You can find her work on her blog,, and several online publications. She is the author of Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” And Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World”. 

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