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.
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?