To My Teen, Here’s the Advice to Bring With You as you Grow into an Adult

I became a mum at nineteen and missed out on a lot of adventures. While parenting at a young age was an adventure in itself and came with benefits like growing up with my kids and being able to relate to them easier, it also came with costs.

Friends drifted away because they didn’t have kids and wanted me to live like I didn’t either. The stigma against single mums made dating difficult. The financial cost of raising kids meant holidays and experiences fell by the wayside.

Looking back on my life there are some things I wish I had known about and now urge my kids to do, in addition to the basics like life skills and getting a part-time job.

While it’s vitally important to teach our kids the life skills they need to know for when they move out like cooking, cleaning, and budgeting, etc. It’s equally important to encourage them to experience life. Learning to interact with people from all walks of life, to plan and execute something themselves, and to dream big.

To my teen, 

Here are the six pieces of advice I want you to know as you reach the cusp of adulthood.

1. Go on adventures with friends.

Go road-tripping. Go camping. Go to music festivals and rodeos and town celebratory events. Get dirty and eat gross food. When you’re ready to move out, rent a house with a group of friends and get the full roommate experience. Save together and take an international holiday as a group.

Teen advice
Source: Bigstock

2. Go on an adventure by yourself.

Again, something simple like taking yourself to a different city or town for the day or weekend or on an international holiday. Soak up the country you live in, and anything the world has to offer.

3. Challenge yourself.

Do something that takes you right out of your comfort zone. Try new food. Go skydiving. Go rock climbing or abseiling. Performing at a spoken word poetry event. Enter a marathon. Be fearless.

4. Explore the world if you can.

When I was finishing high school, I heard about an au pair program. I was in no way confident enough to take the leap back then, but I didn’t know there were other opportunities. Who wouldn’t enjoy working in a bar in London or teaching English in Italy, running (and living above) a bookshop in Scotland, working at a ski lodge in Canada, or working at a summer camp in the US? I also didn’t know I could have gone to university/college overseas.

To my teens, opportunity is out there – it’s up to you to research and take it, if this is something you’d like to try. Yes, it can be scary, but this is what young adulthood is all about (before kids come into play). Chase adventures. Face fears. Find yourself and what you love along the way.

5. Volunteer.

There are so many organisations around the world accept volunteers from all over the world. Usually, your accommodation and three meals a day are provided, but you may have to cover the cost of getting there. It can be a truly rewarding experience and a great way to see the world up close and personal.

Teen volunteering
Source: Adobe Stock

If you don’t want to leave home, find something you’re passionate about in your community and offer a few hours a week.

6. Don’t stress about not knowing your path. 

You’re not meant to know.

“Real life” comes about far too quickly and we don’t always know what we want to do with our lives at eighteen. Taking time to explore the world around you and meet new people will create some amazing memories and possibly lead to unexpected opportunities.

There are many organisations that help people between eighteen and thirty (maybe thirty-two) find international working or volunteering opportunities. Do your research, make a list of pros and cons, read reviews and if possible, talk to someone who has done what you want to do.

It’s our job to give our young adults all the information to make choices that will enable them to lead successful lives. It’s instinct to want to keep them close to keep an eye on them and be there if they need anything, but, like Mumma birds, sometimes we have to gently push our kids out of the nest so they can learn to fly.

It also gives us the opportunity to find our own adventures as a couple with our partner, or as ourselves. There are many resources on solo travelling, especially for women, to enable us to feel safe while we travel.

So, to my teens, when the time comes to flee the nest, remember these six pearls of wisdom.

Say yes to new opportunities and silly adventures. Cherish time with mates and by yourself. Make mistakes along the way. And remember, Mumma is only a Facetime message away.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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