10 things I want you to know


livcuThere are so many things I want to tell my daughter as I watch her grow and age at a rapid rate. Seventeen months!? Where did the time go? Before I know it, she’ll be seven and then seventeen. I remember how fast it went with her older brother, now a teenager. My biggest fear is that all the rational things in my head right now that I plan on telling her when she hits those formative adolescent years will go out the window, and I will become, well, a crazy mom who spouts off rules instead of engages in discussions. I want to be a mom that can talk with her kids about struggles in life and consequences of actions but also enforce rules. There has to be a balance.

Before I lose all rational thinking (which is bound to happen with a teen daughter), I figure I have 11.5 years (probably less. . .8 years, maybe, based on how fast kids are growing up today) to decide what I want her to know. I am sure this list will change with the world, but here’s what I have so far.


1. Someone will offer you drugs. Don’t do it. Not because it’s wrong or I told you not to, but because one feel-good, rebellious moment can result in some scary stuff. You could be arrested, suffer an overdose or some other reaction, or you could decide you like it enough to keep doing it. . .and then drugs can become your life. If you don’t believe me, Google (or whatever the company turned verb is in your day) Amy Winehouse, Len Bias, and Heath Ledger. You have so much going for you; it’s not worth it.

2. You’ll also want to drink alcohol. You probably will have a drink before you turn 21. If you do, never get behind the wheel of a car or get in a car with someone who has been drinking. I’d rather have you call me to pick you up from a party that you’ve been drinking at than have you call me from jail or never hear your voice again.

3. You’re going to meet a boy. He’s going to want to have sex. You might want to too. Protect yourself, but don’t do it until you are ready to face the consequences of having sex. I don’t just mean pregnancy. I mean the emotional stuff that comes with it. Protect your heart and your body because your first time should be with someone who respects your heart, soul, and boundaries. Oh, and wait until you’re 30, please. πŸ˜‰

3. You might not meet a boy. Maybe you’ll meet a girl. That’s OK, too. I love you. I don’t love you “no matter what”, I just plain love you.

4. You can be whatever you want to be, but that may not mean that you are going to be a famous athlete/singer/actress/_________. It’s great to have dreams, but find your greatest strengths and passions, and focus on those. You are you and no one else.


5. Read every day. You don’t have to read the complete works of William Shakespeare, but read. If you love Science Fiction, read Science Fiction. If you adore realistic fiction about female teenage protagonists, read your mother’s best sellers. (Note: I have a few years, right?) Read magazines, newspapers, comic books, whatever! Just read.


6. Pay attention in math class. You really do need it in everyday life. I promise. Once you get to imaginary numbers, this no longer applies unless you are going into some profession I don’t understand.

7. Be financially responsible. Don’t use credit cards like they are cash and start saving early. You won’t regret it!

8. Tell the people you love that you love them every day. You can never tell them too much.


9. Having faith is important, even if you don’t express your faith in a church building on Sundays. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ask questions about Religion. Own your own spirituality. Part of having faith is exploring your past, present, and future and knowing what your truly believe, not what the world tells you to value.

10. Always have a dog in your life. If you have a place where the dog can live and be healthy, adopt a dog. They need homes, and people always need them. Your dogs love you so much, and although I know they probably won’t be around when you are 13, you will always have dogs in your life.


Is there a piece of advice you have given or would like to give your child? Post it here or share it on facebook or twitter!

40 comments for “10 things I want you to know

  1. October 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I’d add, “your body is yours to control. Don’t let anyone touch you in a way that you don’t want. That includes Santa at the mall, the dentist when you are alone in his office, your teacher or coach or an uncle who wants to play dress-up.”
    Also: Your Mom will go away for a few days every year to be with her writer friends. Please let her go.

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:06 am

      Oh, yes. Mom needs a vacay every once in awhile, but I hate to leave her and the boy. They are my summer. I will try to make it next year. I heard I missed quite the time this year!

  2. December 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I just read this today. For some reason I didn’t catch it when you originally posted it. These are definitely things I want Keira to know!

  3. July 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    i still love the pay attention in math class one. if kids only knew!

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:04 am

      I try to tell them! I am an English/Reading teacher, sure, but I know this! Math helps, especially when you are at massive sales!

  4. September 18, 2013 at 2:16 am

    Commenting again to say I love that pic of Olivia with her “Papa”!
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    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:06 am

      Me too! <3

  5. September 18, 2013 at 2:19 am

    These are awesome. I think I’ll say some of these exact things to my own daughter. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Robyn R recently posted…Bash & the Pirate Pig Review and #GiveawayMy Profile

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:07 am

      Thanks, Robyn! I am glad you agree. Having a daughter is so precious.

  6. September 18, 2013 at 2:27 am

    These are all great. Not sure what else I would add.
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    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:07 am

      Thanks, Katrina!

  7. Kim
    September 18, 2013 at 2:33 am

    One thing I want to instill in my kids is a love of travel, a love of exploring. So, I guess I want to tell them that the world is so much bigger than their backyard. Explore, get out of your comfort zone, learn when to trust a stranger, when to take a risk, and learn when not to.

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:08 am

      Kim, I think you are doing an excellent job of that! I hope you are doing well. I have been following your weekend updates, so I hope things look up.

  8. September 18, 2013 at 2:33 am

    This is a great list and although I have boys, the spirit of every point you made still applies! For my boys I would add, “always treat others with respect and dignity even if they don’t “deserve it”… especially if they don’t “deserve it” because you don’t know their life situations and you might be the only person who’s shown them that kindness. Be a model for others, no matter who they are. Most importantly, respect yourself and if need be, calmly remove yourself from the situation. It’s better to leave a bad situation then stay and be pulled into a mess you don’t need to be involved in (this does not apply when helping those who can’t help themselves, always do your best to protect those people, they need people like you)”

    And I totally agree with you on the math =)
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    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

      I bet you use Math all the time! πŸ™‚

      I definitely agree. I have to think about that all the time in my profession. . .respect for those who don’t command your respect is challenging, but you never know where someone comes from.

  9. September 18, 2013 at 2:42 am

    I definitely need to start a list like this for my son! Great idea!
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    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

      Thank you! I know I will have more to add!

  10. September 18, 2013 at 3:20 am

    This is great guidance for young ones. Thanks for sharing your wishes and dreams for Liv. May she follow them.
    Lisa recently posted…Been there or not?My Profile

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

      I hope she does too. Thanks, Lisa!

  11. September 18, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Love this, especially #8! Thank you for sharing – inspires me to write one for my kids!
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    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Thanks, Julie! I love that one too.

  12. September 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing this πŸ™‚ I will def tell some of these to my daughter
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    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:15 am

      Thanks, Karen! It’s so important to teach our kids to be tolerant. That’s what I value most for her.

  13. September 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Aw, this is sweet. I should do something like this for Brady. The 10 things you want your kid to know, the things you find important and meaningful. I love it.
    Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies recently posted…Small Town Tuesday: Country cook-outMy Profile

  14. Del
    September 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Oh I love this. I think all moms with daughters (and even sons)
    share many of these.

    I’m a pretty conservative Christian, so I really care about my daughters waiting to have sex and share all the consequences with them and hope they will wait till marriage but they will be equipped with the information they need to make their own choices. Also, I share my faith with them, but I want them to question things and own their own spirituality for sure!

    I also second that traveling would be awesome to do, I wish I did more but still plan to do some! Also, that they can be whatever they want, including a stay at home mama, that is a job to me πŸ™‚

    Great list, you are a great mama!
    Del recently posted…Every Birth is Beautiful!My Profile

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:16 am

      You too, Del! I always enjoy your feedback, and I love that you can take so much from this from a Christian point of view as well!

  15. September 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    My girls (and boys) are all grown up! So glad I instilled manners, the golden rule and giving back to their community and world. I also passed down my love of traveling and the beach. Now, we are all good friends and I’m so proud of them. Great post!!
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    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:17 am

      It’s so great when you see your hard work pay off! Congrats on having great kids! I loved your photo post, by the way! Awesome!

  16. September 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    What a great list. I think you have put a lot of thought into this. I have several granddaughters and am going to print this out.
    Peg Crawford recently posted…10 Places For Help So That Elderly Can Live In Their Home and Still be SafeMy Profile

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:17 am

      That is so wonderful! Thank you!!!!

  17. Michele
    September 20, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Themthem Die Along What A Wonderful List. I Would Add To The “Your GoingTo Meet A Boy” Section. As An Obgyn Nurse I Would Also Add That If Your Ever Feel LikedYou Are GoingTo Become Sexually Active, You Can Get Pregnant The First Time And NEVER Have SeX Without A Condom. Come To Me If You Thallnk Your Ready And We Will Go Over Birth Control SoThat You Are Protected. And Teach ThemAbout Sexual HealthAnd The STI’s That Come Along With Become Sexually Active. I Talk Everyday To Young Girls That Are So Nieve And I Would Rather Have My Daughter Equipped And Ready To Make Good Choices That AllAre Based On fact Rather Than “What She Heard From Her Friends”. And Vaccinate Your Girls And Boys Against HPV. No One Should Die Of Cervical Cancer.
    Ok I’m Stepping Off My SoaP Box. Just Be Realistic.
    Ask Lots Of Questions. Such Great Advice. Thank You.

    • Jen
      September 22, 2013 at 1:18 am

      It is very important to keep our kids safe. Thanks for your feedback!

  18. September 26, 2013 at 2:59 am

    I love this! Wish I would have paid more attention in math class. Number 4 is my favorite— I just plain love you! So true.

  19. July 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    This is a great post! I always love to re-read it.
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  20. Sara
    July 1, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I love how real you are with this, spoken right from the heart. I remember reading this last year- it’s a good post to refer back to every now and again.

  21. July 2, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Number six especially resonates with me. Once children grasp how much books can benefit their life, they will go far!

  22. July 2, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    This is a great list! It really makes me want to start one of my own. My daughter is almost 3 and these all resonate with me–even made me tear up a little. I’m scared for the teenage years. I want to be friends with my daughter, but I know it’s important to be Mom first.
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    • Jen
      July 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      I am terrified about the teen years. My 14-yr-old boy seems well-adjusted and fine. Girls scare me. I see so many of them struggle in my career as a teacher. All we can do is try our best, teach them well, and let them grow and go.

  23. July 2, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    My daughter just turned one and I am already worrying about when she is a teenager. Yikes. Good list.
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    • Jen
      July 3, 2014 at 2:30 am

      You and me both! We just have to trust that they will become the amazing women we raise them to be!

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