A while ago I wrote a message to my teenage son, thousands of you read and loved it and Ive had a lot of requests for a post with advice to young girls. My 11 year old daughter is just leaving Junior school and ready to start at Secondary School. She is on the cusp of so many changes and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
Here are the lessons I would like to pass on to my wonderful pre teen daughter.
1 Love your body
Your body is a little miracle, I know you are facing so many physical changes but you need to embrace these changes and know it is your body maturing and becoming a woman. As a child you have always loved your body, your fast legs that thrash your brothers in races, your strong arms that swing you across the monkey bars with ease, your waist and hips that once hula hooped for over an hour!!
As you change and grow you are going to face a barrage of messages telling you that your body isn’t good enough. Know that the marketing companies that are telling you that you aren’t thin enough, curvy enough, flawless enough do it only to perpetuate the multi billion pound beauty and fashion industry. You are more than enough. Whatever height, weight or shape you become will be beautiful and amazing.
Your body will be beautiful and amazing because it is the case and form that carries your beautiful and amazing soul.
I hope you can see that beauty is about so much more than your weight and shape. I hope I have surrounded you by beautiful women who show you that whether we are a size 6 or a size 26, our beauty lies in our strength, kindness, intelligence and awesomeness.
2 Stupidity isn’t cute
There is this trend for celebrating stupidity. That dumb asses are funny, cute or endearing. Despite seeing these stupid people get TV shows and magazine columns, know that stupidity is simply ignorance. You are a brilliant and intelligent young woman, don’t EVER feel that you need to dumb down.
This isn’t about you being the cleverest person on the planet, we all have our strengths and weaknesses and I don’t think you have to join MENSA. Im talking about the z list celebs who revel in not knowing basic knowledge. If you ever feel that you need to act dumb, you need to change the people who are surrounding you, not yourself.
Strive to learn, both in school and out. Read EVERYTHING, experiment, ask questions, learn something new every day.
3 Be kind
Teenage girls have a reputation for being bitchy. Learn that being a bitch gets you nowhere, you can be strong willed and speak your mind but don’t be a bitch. Don’t be a doormat and let people treat you badly, but let it go and don’t face nastiness with more nastiness.
Be kind, show love, be open minded, show empathy, try and see things from the other persons point of view. Know that everyone is facing some sort of battle.
4 Respect yourself
Respect yourself and your body. Look after your wonderful body by keeping it clean and healthy. Eat well, exercise, don’t smoke (PLEASE don’t smoke), shower, brush your teeth, look after your skin.
When you get older and are exploring your sexuality, firstly remember that sex under 16 is illegal… Then have respect for your body, don’t allow anyone to do anything that you don’t want. Don’t bow in to peer pressure, all the girls may SAY they have done things you haven’t but they are probably lying. And even if they aren’t, you are better than doing things just because others have.
Show respect and love to yourself and set the bar high, don’t be with anyone who doesn’t treat you with the same love and respect that you treat yourself. Don’t rush into things, give yourself time to think things through, trust your gut and if you need to talk then come to me, I promise to be honest and not judgmental and try and help you find a solution to any issue so you feel happy and comfortable with it.
Stay safe, don’t put yourself in situations where you are in danger. And if you do, tell me and Ill make it better.
5 Study hard
It may not seem cool at times to be trying your hardest in school, it may seem like talking and messing about in class is the way to fit in. I don’t expect you to be on it 100% of the time but know that studying hard now will pay off in the future, the career you want starts here, get your head down and study hard so you can lead the life you want.
Unfortunately there is still a degree of sexism in this world and so you may have to fight harder and work longer to get the same job as a man and the same wages. Aim high, you can do whatever you set your mind to. You are such an intelligent girl, sometimes I can’t believe we made such a clever person! Your diligence and hard work pays off and we couldn’t be prouder of you. Keep going!
6 Be open minded
Everyone is so different, be open minded and accepting of those around you. Don’t ever be homophobic, sexist or racist. I know you aren’t so never fall into the trap of thinking that a bit of casual, comedic bigotry is ok. Because it isn’t.
Have empathy and treat people the way that you want to be treated. Don’t judge people on hear say, judge them on how they treat you and the people around you. As you go up to secondary school your social circle is about to grow massively, you will meet people totally different to you in so many ways. Being open minded means accepting new and different people into your life, this will happen for the rest of your life, so enjoy meeting new people and use the experience to learn new things.
7 Own your sexuality
As you get older and your sexuality becomes a bigger deal and something that defines you, be proud of who you are and accept yourself. Whether you are attracted to men or women, know that your sexuality belongs to you and we will not judge you.
Dress how you want because you want to dress that way, not because the media portray femininity in one narrow way. You don’t need to flash your bottom and boobs to be a beautiful woman, but equally if you want to dress in that way, it shouldn’t make you an easy target for being called names.
Love yourself and learn who you are before you try to love others, I know that it seems cool to have a partner but know the best relationships come when you are confident and happy in yourself.
8 Take responsibility for your own actions
You are responsible for the actions you take. There is nothing worse than a whinger, someone who blames everyone else for the failings in their lives. These are people who will never get anywhere in life because they are looking for someone else to make it better for them.
There is no big secret to life. You have to work hard, make good choices and strive for the things you want.
Few things can’t be made better by an honest, heart felt apology, so if you do mess up (and you will at some point, because we ALL do) then own up and say sorry.
And if you ever need me, just say the word. I will always be in your corner, no matter how stupid you have been, no matter what the time, no matter if I am busy, working, have my own problems or am ill, call me and I will be there.
9 Follow your own path
You are such a fantastic, clever, awesome, unique person. Embrace your weirdness, be yourself and revel in your wonderful self. Don’t follow the crowd, you are bigger and better than being a sheep who copies others.
Think big, aim high and follow your own path. Whatever your future dreams are you can get there if you try hard and commit to it. There are no stupid career choices if it is what you really want.
You want to join the circus? Then bloody well do it girl, be the best circus act going or make a difference with it (my favourite children’s circus The Flying Seagulls make a difference to kids all over the world)
You want to be an inventor, then start now, get inventing and aim to be the best!
Whatever path you choose, we will support you as long as you are happy and positive!
I wish I had had the confidence to write sooner, but I always thought that people like me couldn’t do something like that. I thought my best would be to work in an office or shop. Its only now in my 30s that I have realised that writing makes me happy, I saw this quote that said “The thing you do whilst you procrastinate is the thing you should be doing for a living” and I really believe that. Your career should be something you find joy in, something you are passionate about. This thing may change, you may start on one path only to realise that this other path, one that was hiding behind some bushes is the thing you really love.
Change paths as many times as you need as long as every path belongs to you and is leading you to a positive and joyful place.
Never. Ever. No physically abusive relationship starts with a punch of the first date, its something that develops and a way that somebody controls you. Don’t allow people to treat you poorly, this can start with telling you what you can or can’t wear, who you can be friends with or by not allowing you the freedom to live your life in the way you want to. They may use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. They may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.
A good relationship is one that makes you feel good, that makes you happy and that benefits your life. If you ever find yourself in a relationship where you feel frightened, sad or disrespected then tell someone. Id like it to be me, but if you can’t do that, then tell someone you trust.
Take a look at this website for more advise or help.
Im sure as you become a teenager, the lessons I need to pass on to you will change, just know that I love you so much and will always be here for you. Im not a mind reader so sometimes you will need to shout up and tell me what you need but I promise you bubs, even when we fight, even when you think I am interfering, annoying and embarrassing, I only want the best for you and promise to do everything I can to make your life as amazing as you deserve it to be.
Love Mum xxx