11 Pieces of Practical Advice For Your Teen Daughter

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I’m working with OLLY on a 2-part series about advice we would give our former teenage self, and our current teenage daughters. In the first post, I shared my own advice to teens. For this second post, I interviewed Ben Blair and 3 of our kids, Maude (18), Olive (16) and Oscar (12). They have the BEST advice!

We’re such OLLY fans at the Blair house. They are the only vitamins I’ve come across that my kids (and myself) gladly take with no complaints. They’re delicious and chewy and a happy pleasure we’ve added to our routine. OLLY Girl is a recent addition to the OLLY lineup. It’s a multivitamin that’s made for girls age 12-17. OLLY Girl is packed with 15 essential vitamins and minerals to support strong bodies and bones, including brilliant B vitamins to boost energy, and biotin to help with hair and nail growth. Plus it works from inside to support clear, healthy skin. Our 16-year-old, Olive, takes two a day, every day.

Now back to that advice, here are 11 practical tidbits from Ben, Maude, Olive and Oscar (number 7 might be my favorite!):

1) From Ben Blair: Take steps to get confident about your breath. As a teenager, I brushed my teeth morning and night and assumed brushing was enough to ensure my breath was fresh. So I was surprised when I was a sophomore and a friend told me I had bad breath. I was paranoid about it for years. At some point, I talked to my brother-in-law Jared, who had also spent years paranoid about bad breath, but finally figured out a solution. Jared said a dentist told him the way to guarantee fresh breath was to do this routine: tongue scraper, brush, floss, mouthwash.

I adopted the same routine. Now I’m not concerned about my breath–or I know when I’m in dangerous territory–that is, I don’t have a false sense of security just because I brushed my teeth. I wish I had known about this dentist-recommended-routine in high school, so I could have been more confident about my breath. One less thing to worry about.

2) From Ben Blair: This is related to the fresh breath advice — master your grooming habits early on. Take a shower every day. Wear deodorant everyday. Designate a grooming day each week where you attend to your nails, and nose hairs and any other grooming issues that might come up. If you’re not on top of it, grooming tasks get neglected and are much more likely to end up embarrassing you. If you’re on top of it and you miss a day and stink, you’ll know why; it’s not a mystery.

3) Maude: You might not think so, but in high school you have so much time. Work on time management — there’s enough time to do everything you want to do if you plan it out. To manage my time in high school, I made a notebook and drew in a calendar every month, and then I would add any commitments to the calendar. I liked being able to see the month at a glance. I still do that in college.

4) Maude: Every day in high school feels like a century, but when you look back, all 4 years feel like a couple of minutes, so try to make some good memories while you’re there. My friends and I liked to buy disposable cameras and fill them all up in one day and then get them developed.

5) Maude: Chances are there will be at least one teacher that likes you. So use that to your advantage — hang out in their classroom during lunch, make friends, take their advice. It’s good to spend time with grownups that like you. It helps with your self-esteem.

6) Maude: You’ll never regret reading; it never feels like a waste of time. Here are 6 books I recommend to all teen girls — We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Also, the classics are classic for a reason. They’re all good and read them if you can.

7) Olive: If you’re not feeling confident, fake it till you make it. Like, last year I wore jeans and a t-shirt or sweats and a hoodie every day. I didn’t care about how I dressed really at all. Now this year I’ve been more interested in fashion and I’m wearing go-go boots and vintage disco jumpsuits. At first, it felt strange to wear something that wasn’t jeans and t-shirt to school, but I just faked that I felt totally normal, and then it did feel totally normal. You can basically reinvent yourself in like a week.

8) Olive: Get an after school or weekend job if you can. It’s really cool to make friends with co-workers, it’s even cooler to get a paycheck. And once you get a job, it’s easier to get the next job. I worked at Color Factory for the last few months and it was one of my favorite things I’ve done this year. I was the greeter and learned a ton about customer service and how to say no without being rude. And I met really cool people who have become great friends.

9) Olive: If you’re going to procrastinate, do something awesome with the time instead. My friend Maya procrastinates by making cookies. And they’re some of the best cookies ever. And then she shares them with her friends (like me!). So do something like that. It helps you develop a skill and helps you make friends too.

10) Oscar: Find specific things you can do to bond with your younger siblings. Olive and I hadn’t been hanging out much, and then we decided to watch the Stranger Things series together. This gave us lots of hours together, just us, and it was fun to be able to talk to each other about it.

11) Oscar: When in doubt, get outside. Take a hike or go for a walk.

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I love all these bits of wisdom so much! And I love that they come straight from the lived experiences of my family members, making them that much more meaningful to me. My last piece of advice? If you’re stressed out or feeling blue, pay attention to your body — eat good food, get enough sleep, and take your vitamins to help stay strong and keep your energy up. If you don’t love taking vitamins, definitely try OLLY Girl. I’m confident you’ll LOVE them.

How about you? What worked for you as a teenager? And what works for your own teenagers? Do you second any of the practical advice given above? What would you add to the list?

23 thoughts on “11 Pieces of Practical Advice For Your Teen Daughter”

  1. What great advice – all of it! I really loved Oscar’s advice about watching Stranger Things with Olive. That is the sweetest, and really great, practical advice about bonding with your siblings. I’m always trying to get my kids to hang out with each other and with their cousins too (“bonding moments” if you will), and I’m hopeful that they will then get the idea in the future as well.

    1. That turned out to be such a great thing. I think it’s been odd for Oscar to be the only brother around while Ralph has been gone. And this was a great thing that Olive and him could bond over.

  2. Ha, at first I thought the grooming advice seemed weird, and then I remembered back to my teenage self, and it made total sense! I would oversleep, not shower, and then spend the rest of the day feeling paranoid and self-conscious about it. Once I finally got into a routine, it was amazing how much easier my day was without all the worrying.

    I would actually add that I had a similar experience with more aesthetic parts of grooming. My hair, face-wash and makeup routines in high school were basically a version of what my mom did, but as we are very different, that didn’t work. She has stick-straight hair and mine is curly, so what worked for her was making my hair look terrible. It took me until college (where I made a lot of curly-haired friends) to realize that my hair wasn’t just naturally terrible looking.

    Looking back, I wish I had realized that if I didn’t like something about my appearance, I could experiment to see if there was a better way instead of just feeling bad about it.

  3. Thank you for this and all of your wonderful posts. I am such a fan. Would you share the source of that amazing poster on the wall behind your daughter of the bad a** young women? So good.

    1. Hi Coreen! Isn’t poster awesome? It’s actually a picture of my 4 daughters in the backyard of the house we lived in in France. I had it blown up as an inexpensive poster size at the copy shop.

      You can see more details of the poster here.

  4. At this time when I feel increasing despair for our country with every news cycle, seeing examples of cool, smart young people is reassuring! I love all this advice!

  5. Sabrina Kondelis

    You have some very wise kids; all of this is so spot on. I’m pretty sure I had to turn 35 before articulating most of this advice.

  6. I love the useful procrastination idea! I also like the idea of starting kids young with good grooming habits! Sometimes my kindergartender wants to wear deodorant after watching me put mine on. Mine is a natural kind so I let him practice! (P.S. It’s not Tom’s…that stuff gives real/effective natural deodorant a bad name).

    I’d also add:
    Your friends are probably thinking more about themselves than about you, so if you do/say something you feel embarrassed about try not to worry too much about it….you’re probably the only one agonizing over it, and they’re probably worrying about all the things they said/did wrong!

    Apologizing/fixing errors properly is a strength. Teaching teens that humility and apologizing without giving excuses when you’ve hurt/wronged someone (including by accident) is a strength! Don’t say to a friend “i’m sorry i hurt you…. but you were being such a jerk” just say “i’m sorry I hurt you.”. Turning “I’m sorry I didn’t do my homework because of [excuse]” into “I didn’t do my homework, but I’d like to do [extra homework/work/project] to make it up” is something you can start now to be in good practice that will be useful for getting ahead in a workplace when you miss a deadline, screw up a project, or arrive late!

  7. I love #7 “You can basically reinvent yourself in like a week.” This is a great tip for adults alike, sometimes you feel stuck so it’s a great reminder that you can always change! (especially your style)

  8. Fantastic, I think all the insights from your kids is great, but hit a home run for me with #10 makes me think about my childhood days and bonding with my brother on Saturday morning to watch these kung fu short movies that use to come on…we were 4 girls and one bro, so I’m sure it was just as cool for him as it was for me :-)

  9. #7 also my favorite – I’ve been faking it to make it since I was about 21 and it’s helped me grow tremendously! Love your kids! Got any advice for the parent of an 11 yr old who hates everything? Asking for “friend” :)

  10. I’m a bit late but I just read this . . . I have three teenage/college age boys and I’ve got to say this advice is great for them too! Nothing is so girl specific that they couldn’t use it as well. Thanks for some practical tips!

  11. Great post! All good advice. A very interesting read! The vitamins are so beautifully presented and very attractive. Too bad they have Gelatin in them which is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs. No thanks! Do you know if there is a vegan option?

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