Being 12 Is odd, right? I can’t be the only person that thinks that. At 12, I remember thinking I was about to be an adult, and no one could tell me anything. I was rude, stinky, emotional, and ungrateful. Sound familiar?
Being 12 is odd because you are one step into childhood and one step into a teenager. As mentioned above… there’s this weird idea that “teenager” means grown-up. It’s such an awkward space to shed one layer of yourself when you’re still so much attached to another.
12 is not an age I am interested in going back to AT ALL.
But being the mom of a 12-year-old made me reflect on things I wish someone would have taught me when I was 12 that could have enabled me to make better choices in my early teenage/adult life.
Here are the 12 things I am teaching my daughter before she becomes a teenager.
Learn from your mistakes.
Accept that mistakes will happen, and I will always help you navigate them but don’t repeat them. Take the time to reflect on why they happened and how you can prevent them in the future. Be accountable when you make a mistake; no one likes the blame game.
Accountability equals success.
Do what you say you’re going to do, acknowledge when you didn’t, and hold others accountable for what they promise you. If you want success in business or relationships, be a person of honor. When you lack accountability for your actions, people won’t trust you, you’ll miss opportunities, and your feelings will end up hurt. Also- an apology is better than pride.
Money goes quicker than it comes.
It’s easier to spend than making money. So, choose how you spend wisely. Remember to “pay yourself first” (aka savings), budget for what you want, and never feel guilty for what you spend your hard-earned money on. Most importantly, Don’t compare your money to anyone else’s; money doesn’t define a person’s real wealth.
Balance work and play.
As you grow up, the world will pressure you to work harder and be better every day. However, don’t forget to take time out for yourself. Finding the right balance of hard work and pleasure is essential to a happy life. Don’t be the kid who spends all their time playing and sacrifices school, and don’t be the kid who does schoolwork every waking hour and never smiles.
People remember how you made them feel.
People may forget your name or face, but they will always remember your kindness. Always lead with kindness, respect, and helpfulness. And if you can’t be kind, respectful, or helpful, be quiet.
Not all friends are real friends.
Learn the difference between real friends and fun friends. Real friends align with your values and will be there for you through thick and thin. Fun friends show up for the party and leave when they see tears. Spend time defining what characteristics of friends is essential to you, then focus on those relationships. Fun friends come and go; real friends are forever.
Bring your best to the table every day.
Not every day will be a great one, but it’s our responsibility to try our hardest to make it as good as possible. On tough days, always remember to be kind or be quiet and never drag anyone down with us.
Happiness is an outlook, not a thing.
Don’t be fooled by commercials and social media; happiness will never come from a thing. Happiness is a choice to see the silver lining in everything. Our happiness is our responsibility, and it’s all about our attitude towards things. If you expect things or people to make you happy, you will always be disappointed.
Don’t try to be like others.
TV shows and TikTok make you think being a copy-paste of everyone else will make you liked. But repeating what others do gets boring quickly. People might gravitate to what’s familiar at first, but diversity is the spice of life. Always be proud of what you love and who you are. Don’t change for anyone. If someone doesn’t like it… too bad, you will attract the right tribe to you.
Success tastes better earned.
Being handed success only feels good for a moment. Putting in the work makes you feel good for a lifetime. Seriously. Working hard to accomplish things makes reaching the goals feel great. It might be hard to see that when you’re struggling to get there, but when you’ve earned them yourself, NO ONE can take them away from you.
Respect is always in style.
Being respectful never goes out of style. Rudeness might get attention on social media, but you will quickly be forgotten. Always hold doors, listen more, speak, say please and thank you, don’t interrupt your elders, and always be fashionable. Remember- treat everyone with the same level of respect, from the janitor to the president.
Eat that Frog.
Literally, go to Paris, eat the frog legs, have a great time, and enjoy life. But only have you have completed all the not so fun stuff. Life is filled with a lot of crap we HAVE to do. Don’t procrastinate; get these things done, then move on to the better stuff. Pick the ugliest hardiest thing to finish first; you’ll feel so accomplished. (Also don’t forget to read that book, it’s so good).
12 is such a crucial age, no matter how odd it is. Setting my daughter up with these fundamentals will help her navigate sticky situations in her teenage and adult life.
Do you have a tween? Comment the top thing you hope to teach your child before they go into the teenage years.