8 Lessons We Hope We've Taught Our Teenagers

We love you unconditionally, even when you make that hard to do.

The teen years can be trying -- for everyone in the family. Teendom is when our kids straddle childhood and adulthood and there are many days when parents have no clue as to who is inhabiting their child's body or what language they are speaking. Here are some things that our Facebook followers say they hope their kids know by the time the terrible teens take over. 

1. Common sense and safety.

No my children, you are not invincible. Los Angeles-area real estate agent Teresa Bunnell Penner reminds all teens to "Stay away from the back of windowless vans. If a stranger asks you to help them find their puppy, run. And if a stranger has the hood up on his car and asks you to get in and try to start it for him, don't and run." Just because you aren't five and can't be lured by a candy-promising stranger doesn't mean you should always trust everyone.

 2. But do trust yourself.

As Mary Nell Burgeson Stapleton put it, "Some things aren't negotiable." Line Donnelly cuts right to the chase: "Don't be an ass. There is always someone bigger and badder than you!" From Susan Ott, know that "you are a person of worth and value."

 3. Sex, sex and more sex.

The practical: "How sexuality works, how sacred it is, and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies," offers Kat Russell. "Use condoms. No means no," says Lora Pfundheller.


And from a reader who posted as Grandparent Alienation Is Not Natural, "How to be extra attentive and cautious of why and who they share their DNA with." Be responsible. Be respectful. Please be a mensch.

4. Speaking of being a mensch ...

Reader Janie Kirsch hopes that teens know to "practice compassion and respect toward all people and animals." Lora Pfundheller said "Judge people by their actions, not their skin color or the size of their bank account. Treat others the way you want to be treated." Just "know right from wrong," summarized Mel Black Bynum.

5. And part of being an adult is ....

Having "fiscal responsibility," said Max Brill. In the same vein, reader Tamara L. Keegan wrote, "How to WORK for what they want so they learn the value of things." Knowing how to "do laundry, wash dishes, cook a simple meal, vacuum and dust," chimed in Naomi Allen, who added, "Oh, and how to properly FLOSS. How to make a grocery list, how coupons work, and how to set up a budget and savings. How to mow the lawn, fix the toilet, and check a fuse box. How and when to use formal manners, like holding open doors, or sitting down to dinner, or being introduced to a stranger. How to be resilient when disappointed, how to be empathetic to others. How to self-edit before posting or emailing every thought that pops into one's head. How to say 'I love you'." Whew, a mouthful -- but tasty! Well said, Ms. Allen.

6. Be practical.
"Learn how to read and write," said Rebecca Williams. "Their multiplication facts," added Alex Koch. At least "be able to cook simple things like mac and cheese," said Kathy Grand. Anna Vieira Silveira offered, "Before the age of 18, a person should know how to write out a check, balance the account, and that credit card interest is a sneaky friend to avoid." And from Carol Dunn, "Learn to type, drive a car and swim." She adds, "Those were my mother's words, not mine. She was so right!"
7. And be a bit philosophical.
"Know that money isn't everything," said Ingrid Patton.
And from Jan Mcintyreba "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For example, you do something your mother told you not to do, [and] you will be punished." We'd throw in here that we love you unconditionally, even when you make that hard.
8. Above all, learn manners.
"Please and thank you for a start," said Joyce McKeown. And of course, "Learn how to write a thank-you note," said Liz Lowell. And as for this handy list that you can now send to your teenager, well, you're welcome!
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