The Most Important Things Teenagers Should Know, as Told by Adults

Adults are just former teenagers, and it turns out, you learn things about life and the world as you get older. That's why these adults are sharing the most important things for teenagers to know.

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Oct. 5 2020, Updated 4:10 p.m. ET

featured to all the boys
Source: Netflix

Being a teenager is rough. Luckily, it doesn't last forever. And it may be a long shot, but if there are any teenagers out there who actually want to listen to some adults, those adults might actually have some advice for those who have not yet reached their 20s. 

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Adults definitely don't know everything, but they do have the wisdom of having lived through teenagerdom. And so, when one person asked adults to Reddit to share the most important things for teenagers to know, they delivered. Here are some of our favorite answers.

eighth grade
Source: A24

"It's OK to say no to anyone," writes Purpleraven01. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is trying to guilt you into doing something you don't want to do, there is strength in saying no and walking away. 

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harry potter money
Source: Warner Bros.

Lastnight97 recommends starting to try to save some money now. I'll second this one. Even if it's only a few bucks here and there, it's a great idea to start putting away a little money as soon as you possibly can. 

war games
Source: MGM/UA Entertainment Company

A very practical piece of advice from sweetperdition: "Get a marketable skill." Recent generations have sort of grown up with this idea that you should strive to "do what you love," to "follow your passions," and to make your living at something you really love. But that doesn't have to be the case. You shouldn't hate your day-to-day life, but if you get a lucrative skill in an industry and can make a good living, that can be just as valuable.

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Source: Paramount Pictures

In a similar vein, checkmatelocked tells teens not to freak out if at 16, 17, and 18, they don't have a "passion" yet. You are still so young it's not even funny, and you have plenty to time to figure out what excites you. If you don't already have a passion, they suggest putting effort into learning new skills. You might find your passion that way. But most importantly, don't stress about it!

sex education
Source: Netflix

This one is key. EmbarrassedCalendar1 says that you should not put off dealing with mental health issues. As a teenager, especially these days, you have to deal with some very big, very emotional things. You don't have to get through it all alone.

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Source: Miramax Films

This one may seem small, but it's true. "Cashiers don't care if you buy condoms," induceddaftfan writes. Replace condoms with tampons, pads, pregnancy tests... Don't not buy something you need because you're embarrassed. I promise cashiers have other things going on. Life is not the movies!

bobs burgers
Source: FOX

Don't be afraid to like what you like! When you're a teenager, there's all sorts of pressure to like the right stuff and be "cool," but hey, if you're a horse girl, own it. If you're a Lego nerd, lean in. DrDjausdr wants you to like what you like and be unapologetic about it. And I think that's great advice.

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Source: Paramount Pictures

As a teenager, your brain might still be developing, but that doesn't mean you don't have terrible judgment all the time. Holydumpsterfire451 says to listen to your gut when you find yourself in strange situations. "If something feels off / wrong, it probably is," they write. There's no shame is listening to yourself and removing yourself from a situation if it doesn't feel right to you.

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Source: Buena Vista Pictures

This is one that is not only important for teenagers but for people of all ages. K--Will writes, "Hold yourself to your own standards. If you wouldn't let anyone treat your friends / family like trash, then don't do it yourself." You have value, and you deserve the same treatment from others you would expect your loved ones to get. Don't let someone walk all over you. 

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to all the boys
Source: Netflix

Look, it's cool if you meet your soul mate in high school, but chances are, it won't happen, and that is more than OK. The reason is, PosNegTy reminds us is: "The person you love at 17 may not be the person you love at 30. You change. They change."

Source: New Line Cinema

Ten-million coming in hot with this spicy take: "Learn how to cook. It's way cheaper and usually faster than takeout." Even if cooking isn't your passion or something you even really enjoy, it can be super helpful to have a few standard recipes for nutritious meals in your back pocket so you aren't always eating takeout and instant ramen when you're older.

mean girls
Source: Paramount Pictures

Last but not least, this gem comes from Umikaloo: "People tell you, 'These are the best years of your life.' That's bulls--t." Yes, you generally have fewer responsibilities as a teen. But you also have so much more freedom as an adult. And you simply can't beat the wisdom of having lived some actual life, enough to come into your own and grow into yourself and realize what's actually important to you. That doesn't happen until later. It just doesn't. And when it does, it's pretty great.

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