What Kids Need to Know


I recently read a great piece about a contest called “What Kids Need to Know” in the New York Times. Parents wrote in with their top 5 wisest, most succinct words of advice for our kids, and there were some great ones. Aside from the oldies but goodies — “wear sunscreen”, “don’t forget your parents”, “remember your manners” — there were some unique entries, like “the longer you make them wait, the more they’ll like the meal”.

So it got me thinking about my favorites, and from there I started wondering about yours. Do today’s young moms value the same wisdom we older mamas do? Let’s find out. Here is a list of my “pearls of wisdom” (in no particular order) for the younger set. Please send in yours!

Don’t be concerned about what the boys think of you. It’s what YOU think of you that counts.

If the hard times add up to more than the good times, something needs to change.

Would you do it if your mother was watching? If not, think twice.

Don’t put anything up your nose.

Make a mistake. Forgive yourself. Then don’t repeat it.

Eat when you’re hungry.

Only go to a surgeon if you need surgery. Then go to the best.

Go for it. All-out, full-bore. You are good enough.

Hang on to those Jonas Brothers CDs, even after you’ve outgrown them. I so regret dumping my old LP album collection.

Learn to do laundry, clean a bathroom, and cook a delicious meal.

Don’t put glitter on the project.

Reconsider the tattoo.

Turn your cell phone off. Better yet, leave it at home.

Do the best job you can. No regrets.

Be kind and consider the common good.

Please send in a few of your own. We’ll keep a running list …

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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?

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