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Recently, I was listening to a song by Taylor Swift — Never Grow Up — and it tugged on my heartstrings in more ways than I imagined. How in the world did my son grow up to become a teenager before my eyes? How are we now dealing with high school homework, broken hearts, and the fact he no longer wants to spend every waking moment with me?

All those moments he made excuses to come cuddle in my bed, when he couldn’t wait to help me with any chore I was doing, when he looked up to me like I was his superhero. How did all that pass before my eyes as if I had blinked and it was gone?

I’m aching for those moments again, but since I know I won’t get those back, I’ll focus on the future as I still have so much to teach him.

As he transitions from a teenager to a young adult, there are several things I want him to know.

 

ALWAYS BE YOURSELF!

It’s hard being a teenager in this world, with so many people looking up to celebrities, YouTube sensations, and Instagram influencers. Many people put up a facade about who they are and unfortunately, teens become sucked into a false reality that they aren’t good enough. When in reality, not only are they good enough, but they are perfect just the way they are! Always be true to who you are and the right kind of friends will be there for you.

NO MATTER WHAT, I’M HERE FOR YOU!

You may think you’ll get in trouble, but always remember, we were a teenager once, too. Chances are your father and I have been through the same situations. Life is a learning lesson and no matter what, we have your back. We’re here to pick you up when you fall.

STAY ON TOP OF YOUR HYGIENE!

Can we have this one on here multiple times, please? Hygiene. It’s important. No one wants to smell your body odor and trust me, you have it. Everyone does! Stay on top of your showers, always brush your teeth at least twice a day, and please put on your deodorant. Oh, and if you’ve worn those pair of pants for a week… it’s seriously time to wash them!

DON’T MESS UP YOUR CREDIT SCORE!

The one thing I wish my parents talked to me more about. Once you get a credit card or a car purchase under your name, it’s extremely important to always stay on top of your payments. Never get yourself into a situation where you start owing more than you can afford. If you have a poor credit score, it’ll be so much harder to get into an apartment, get a loan (like for a new car), keep your payments down (hello high-interest rates) and so much more.

Here are some tips on how to teach your kid to manage money.

ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR GUT!

Seriously, listen to your gut.. it’ll never steer you wrong. Your intuition is a powerful one.

BULLIES SUCK!

I wish we lived in a world where bullies didn’t exist, but unfortunately, that’s something that will never change. If you ever get bullied, please don’t ever take what they’re saying to heart. Usually, bullies are taking out whatever is happening to them onto someone else. It’s not you, it’s them.

And most importantly, don’t you ever bully anyone!

SHOW RESPECT TO OTHERS!

Whether it’s another peer or an adult, always respect everyone. Even if you feel they don’t deserve it, it’s what a respectable young man would do.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA APPROPRIATELY! 

Nothing is temporary. Just because you’re behind the screen doesn’t mean it’s not real. Be smart when you’re online and be respectful to yourself and others.

HEARTBREAKS HAPPEN, IT’S OK!

No way to sugar coat this one, heartbreaks suck! It may feel like your world is over, but I promise it isn’t. Heartbreak is a part of growing up and it only helps us to become stronger. Please know I’m here for you during all the emotions it brings you, and I’ll only listen if you need me to.

ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS!

Life goes by so fast. I know you’ve heard me say this, but the older you get, the faster it will go. Enjoy every little moment because it will soon become a distant memory.

DON’T FOCUS TOO MUCH ON GROWING UP!

There’s a difference between being mature and ‘growing up’. As I mentioned previously, enjoy those little things a normal teenager enjoys. You have plenty of time to be an adult when you get there.

IT’S OK TO CRY!

And don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!

ADMIT WHEN YOU’RE WRONG!

If you’re wrong, say sorry! It shows your maturing and you can use that as a learning experience.

ASK FOR HELP!

If you need help, never be scared to ask for help. Whether it’s from your dad or mom, friends, or teachers, someone will always be willing to lend a hand.

And most importantly – know that I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!

You were my first born, the first person I ever truly loved more than anyone else. You have been my whole world for 14 years and you will continue to be so for the rest of your life — no matter how old you (and I) get. No matter what situations you get yourself into, know that I’m your biggest cheerleader, your #1 fan and someone who will never leave your side! You are my son and I love you!