My sweet cousin, Isabelle turned 13 today and she is so excited to be officially a TEENAGER!I remember when I would visit her in  New York and go ice skating with her and hold her hand so she wouldn’t fall. This sweet, young, innocent young girl will now be entering the world of a teen. Does she even know what’s ahead  for her? Does she realize she will be changing without realizing it? When I visited with her  last month, I told her that I would write a blog about her turning 13.

So Isabelle, honey  here are my top 13  tips for  turning 13:

  1.  Periods. If you haven’t already, you soon will be getting your period. It may be a rite of passage for womanhood, but it is not all that it is cracked up to be. Monthly cramps, bloating  and mood swings are not fun. My advice: stay in bed and watch TV.
  2. Acne. Along with your monthly “mensi” comes acne.  My advice:  Don’t fight it. Just wash your face real well and  put anti-acne medication on until it goes away. Do not pick at your pimples or face! You will regret it later if you scar.
  3. Makeup.  Most 13 year olds like to wear makeup and try to look older. My advice:  Stay away from makeup until you really need it. You have beautiful young skin.  Enjoy it without makeup while you can. Now you can put on some nice lip gloss, or a little mascara now and then for a special occasion.
  4. Boys. If you haven’t already, you soon will start taking an interest in boys. My advice: Stay away from them and enjoy hanging with your girlfriends. Boys will come and go but your girlfriends will always be there.
  5. Dancing. This is the time when teens start to learn how to bump and grind and try to act cool dancing. My advice: Don’t. Bumping and grinding make you look silly and inappropriate.
  6. Dating. Some 13-year-old girls may want to go to the movies or a dance with a boy. My advice: Go as a group with your friends. Meet at the movie theater or the dance and just have fun. You are too young to date! Trust me, enjoy being carefree and young.
  7. Boobies. Yep, that’s right.. the tatas! You will be getting them and wearing a bra.  You probably already are wearing one. My advice: Embrace it, don’t advertise it! No need to show the whole world what ya got!
  8. Clothes. Now that you are a teen, your body will be changing and you will be growing and exploring new clothes and new styles. This is your time to figure out who you are and what makes you feel pretty. My advice: Don’t go crazy spending a lot on clothes because you will be outgrowing them sooner than you think.
  9. Parents. As much as you think your parents are a nag, annoying, a pain, mean, not fair, etc.., your parents are looking out for what is best for you. My advice: Listen to them.  It’s okay to disagree. You are entitled  to your opinion, but be smart enough to realize they are protecting you and trying to keep you safe and happy.
  10. Mean girls.  There are girls that are nice to you to your face, but behind your back are saying bad things and doing bad things. My advice: They won’t ever change  so stay away from them. They grow up to be mean women.  They are not your friends even if they act and say they are. You will know who your true friends are. Trust your gut. It’s usually right.
  11. Social Media. Teens  use this a measurement of popularity and some just can’t live without it.  My advice: Be careful  and limit what you say and do on it.  There are cyber bullies so be very careful what you post and who you “friend”.
  12. Peer Pressure. Becoming a teen makes you want to fit in and be liked and that comes along with social pressure.  My advice: Be yourself. Don’t let other people pressure you into doing or saying something you don’t feel comfortable with. Again, if they do, these kids are not your “friends”.
  13. Respect. ( my biggest tip! ) You may think you know it all and adults don’t understand, but they do. My advice: Always always respect your parents, family, teachers, adults etc.   You are entitled to get upset, be in a mood, say things you don’t mean, but you are not entitled to be disrespectful.

There is a movie  called “13 going on 30.” I think you should watch it, Isabelle, and see that growing up and being an adult is not easy. It is more fun to be a teen and be young and carefree.

So Isabelle,  I hope you will take my 13 tips and  gain the wisdom  to know  how to survive your teenage years! Time goes by fast, so savor every day and every moment.

Now parents  of teenagers, I would love to know what tips you have for Isabelle as she becomes  a teenager.