Awkward… 4 Growing-Up Lessons I Learned the Hard Way, That I Now Teach My 13-Year-Old
By Danielle Smith of Pretty Extraordinary. Danielle Smith is a paid spokesperson for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®
That's how I would describe myself in middle school.
There were braces and the beginnings of acne and terrible hair. There was lots of moving around and very few friends. There was insecurity and SHOULDER PADS.
Friends, being the 'new girl' all the time meant that I walked in the door hoping to fit in, but confident I would only be seen for all of the things that made me different. Often times, I was right. I was teased for the braces and the freckles, so I learned to value myself a little less and put too much weight on what others thought of me. I remember clearly the anxiety I experienced each time I'd enter a new classroom and the sinking feeling I'd get when I realized it was going to be a challenge. Again. Reliving the memories actually gives me a physical tightness in my chest.
Even looking back, I need only flip my 8th grade school picture over to get a sense of my self-worth at the time.
I admit, this makes me sad, but I remember the feeling of 'Yuck!' so strongly.
My small girl, a newly minted teenager, is my opposite. Not only does she tolerate my love of photos (taking them of her and her brother, that is....), she loved her braces. She embraces her glasses. Bad hair day? Ponytail it! But more and more, I'm noticing a little hair-down action.
The beginnings of acne? Well, that is a slightly different story. I can remember CLEARLY first noticing a little something on my chin, my forehead or the side of my nose. I also remember getting one just before a date or school pictures. Though I never suffered with massive breakouts, (Delaney seems to be following in my footsteps), every inkling of a pimple can cause anxiety. So, we talk about it.
I realize I am a work-in-progress when it comes to mothering, but I've decided there are four things I want my teenage girl to know some of which I think she is already nailing!
1. Embrace what makes you different. Admittedly, this small girl had more confidence at ten than I did in high school, so, I think we are on the right track. She has always loved her freckles (it makes me so happy because I hated mine!), thought braces were cool and is perfectly content to be the 'funny one.’
2. Surround yourself with good people. Moving around a bunch when I was young made this a bit of a challenge. This is why it warms my heart to see my girl have a tribe of friends who make her laugh, who think she is special and who will stand up for her. Naturally, this is an evolving time, so I have plenty of opportunity to continue to guide her on the path of being a good friend and choosing good friends. I've learned to seek friends who support me, are loyal confidants and love to laugh. I'm teaching my small girl to value the very same in 'her people'.
3. Learn to take care of you. Your health, your skin and your hair: Making healthy choices means eating well, being active and, particularly important to teens, taking care of your body, both for health and appearance’s sake. Learning to wash, condition, and yes, brush your hair is something that needs to be taught. Skin care is the very same. As Delaney is now watching her skin change, I've introduced her to CLEAN & CLEAR® Acne Triple Clear™ Bubble Foam Cleanser. She loves the smell - a combination of mint and aloe. In just one week, you can start to see clearer skin. This would have come in handy during my middle school years!
4. Be kind to yourself. You WILL have days where you feel less-than-perfect. We all do. And that's okay. Remember the inside of you, your heart and willingness to be good to others, will help you to shine on the outside.
What do you aim to teach your teens about this time in their lives?
Danielle Smith is a paid spokesperson for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®