I wrote this song, My Daughter, My friend, for my daughter when she was 6 years old and when she reached teenagehood, I wrote her this letter.  Please feel free to share.

8 Things to Remember To Help You Navigate The Tumultuous Teen Years

You’ve reached a critical point in your life – you are teetering on the edge of adulthood as billions of people have done since the dawn of humankind. Some transition easily and some transition with difficulty and some are just a train wreck waiting to happen because of the choices they make to get through teenagehood – they get into drugs, alcohol, early sex, etc.

1. Teenagehood is like a right of passage. Who you will ultimately become as an adult will be shaped over the next 10 years…or less. And, at this point, you are just at the beginning stage and literally, your brain is not equipped to handle it yet.

2. The frontal lobes of your brain that are responsible for self- control are not fully developed yet. This is something that comes with age and comes with time. It’s no wonder you feel so compulsive and just throw yourself out there to experience life!!! You don’t have the completed brain developmental growth …yet….it will come. With age.
In the meantime, the only way you are going to survive in this world until this vital, key developmental process is complete, is for someone who loves you and is looking out for you to keep guiding you along the path reminding you of what is right & what is wrong – what can be damaging to you, what is dangerous, what can hurt you in the long run and what you may regret when you are older. Basically the difference between good & bad choices.
You have to ultimately make the choices yourself but you need to make informed choices. If you make a bad choice, then you have to be prepared to deal with the consequences.

3. Teenagehood is like having an accelerator with no brakes, someone told me today. You go full tilt, on all fronts but you don’t have the brakes yet to stop yourself. This is how & why teens get into trouble time & time again. They think that what they are experiencing now is adulthood.
It is not adulthood. It is the transition time to adulthood and teens need to pick up as many skills as they can so that they are ready to strike out on their own when their time comes. How well you are prepared depends on how much you want the tools that other people can give you on your journey.

4. You are an awesome young person. You have tremendous potential to realize any dream you may have. It doesn’t matter what the dream is – what matters is that you find the passion that has been laid in your heart in order to figure out the purpose of your life and that you pursue your passion so you can make all your dreams come true.
You’ll need help along the way so you can discover what you are good at, what you excel at, what cranks you up. Is there an activity that you do where time flies by like the blink of an eye? Something that makes you feel excited, ignited and awakens all your senses? That’s where your passion lies. As they say: follow your passion & the money will follow. You need to choose a career that stimulates your passion & forces you to keep striving to do your best and be better.

5. Friends. This is another subject that I have to touch on. It matters very much who you choose as your friends. It doesn’t matter whether everyone likes you or not. You need to stick with your friends. Who are your friends? People that make you feel special, who like you all the time just the way you are. People that you feel comfortable & at ease with. People who will always stick by you no matter what the whole world is saying about you. People who believe in you and want only the best for you.

6. If that ends up being only 1 or 2 people, then stick with them & forget the rest. The rest are not your friends. You don’t have to prove yourself to a friend. You don’t have to worry about them being mad at you because you did or said a stupid thing. You don’t have to question whether they like you or not. You just know it. You also have to learn how to be a friend so that someone can count on you to always be there and never let them down. Friendship is a two-way street.

7. You will have many acquaintances but only a few friends. You are lucky if you pass through the world with one truly best friend. It takes time to figure out who are your true friends but once you decide what makes a true friend in your eyes, then you can easily pick them out from the rest. Then, leave the rest as acquaintances and always make that distinction so that you don’t lose yourself in trying to prove yourself to people who really don’t care about you in the first place.

8. Last, but in no way least, God is there, will always be there and doesn’t care what you did even a minute ago. He forgives you in a nanosecond if you but seek Him out. If you desire to have Him help you out in your life, then keep that door wide open so He can come in. He will never force Himself on you or try to make you love Him. He would much rather wait with loving patience for you to want to come to Him on your own because you want to, not because you have to.

I love you. I believe in you. I want to do everything in my power to see you succeed in life so that you can have the joyous life that awaits you. It has always been and will always be your choice.
And finally, always, always remember that I will always love you no matter what you say or do.
Love, Mom xoxox

My Daughter, My Friend is available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Music, Amazon, etc.

Follow me on Twitter (@jeanettearsenau), Instagram (@jeanette_arsenault), Facebook, LinkedIn & Google +