Best Damn Advice for Parents of High Schoolers

Momservation: Sometimes the best advice you can give is no advice at all.

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I’ve been officially banned by my daughter from uttering these words again:

“When I was in high school…”

What? You don't think someone who made these 1988 fashion choices can give good advice on high school?

What? You don’t think someone who made these 1988 fashion choices can give good advice on high school?

“How come you have to compare everything to when you were in high school?” she asked me exasperated, clearly not remembering my photographic proof that I was once a high-schooler. (Giant jewelry, giant hair, giant bows in giant crimped hair, Frosty Pink lip gloss…who can forget these visuals of ‘80’s high school?)

“Because, believe it or not, I’ve been there, done that, and bought the Blue Crew spirit sweatshirt before you! I’m the only one with four years of high school experience in this little group here,” I said circling my finger between her and me.

Whitney, my Rio Americano High School freshman, the Miss Know It All with 30 days of high school experience under her belt, gave me the international teenage look for “Whatever” (something she’s been banned from saying to me) and said, “Fine. But do you always have to start everything with ‘When I was in high school’?”

Hmmm. That’s a tough one.

How else do I commiserate with my 14 year-old daughter embarking on a four-year journey of ups, downs, angst, excitement, laughter and tears that are surely coming her way? How do I prepare her for the social and academic highs and lows that are the traditional rites of passage of high school? How do I convey that I understand what she’s going through because I too was a teenager who worried about getting asked to Homecomings and Proms, making the team, fitting in, getting good grades, going to parties, feeling left out, or sad because that boy just wouldn’t notice me?

How do I relate to my high school daughter if I can’t share my high school stories?

“Just listen, Mom. I don’t always want your advice,” was my sage daughter’s words of wisdom. “Sometimes, I just need you to listen.”

Oh. I can do that.

But when I was in high school…



  1. Heidi Witter says:

    Wow, and yes, I’ve stepped in that hole that is, “When I….” way too many times. Let’s face it, these “times” are SO different from our 80’s experiences with social media playing such a huge part in their lives. Listening now…and thanks so much Kelli! Also love the pics from her friends’ creative way of asking her to homecoming! Sweet, pun intended..

  2. Dad says:

    I will echo (paraphrase) one of yesterday’s comments from the Pope. Listen and learn from the elders for they have life’s experience.

    Lessions from a long life are more valuable and insightful than can be learned any other way.

    Certainly, listening purposefully is one of those lessons, however, don’t abdicate your job as parent to a strong-willed teenager. Be measured and clear with your counsel aware that your teenagers are fledglings and not yet flyers.

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