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A Letter to My Beloved Teenage Daughter, While She’s Still My Baby

Letter from a mother to her teenage daughter, written while she’s still a child.

Letter From a Mother to Her Teenage Daughter

Letter from a mother to her teenage daughter | Image shows a young girl in a field of wild flowers.

An open letter from a mother to her teenage daughter expressing the monumental things I need you to know but can’t say to you today, and which will inevitably be lost in translation across the years. Things I feel today, while you’re still my baby, and want to get down on paper before the realities of life blurs them…

It’s so tempting to keep you undeniably safe, like a butterfly held captive in a glass jar; because in allowing the butterfly the freedom to dance, you are also allowing it to be vulnerable.

My heartfelt letter to my daughter:

My sweet Angel,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about you growing up. It’s silly really, but for some reason, while I was pregnant I couldn’t imagine beyond your first six months of life in this world. Call it petty superstition, but I think I was too terrified something awful would happen, and we’d become that statistic.

But then, in the blink of an eye you did reach that milestone and, of course, I had to consider the next six months. And now as I write you’re 19 months old, and the more life goes by and your dad and I continue to be lucky enough to have you in our lives, the more I’ve started to look forward…

The most precious things to pass onto your daughter: wisdom, advice, and the depth of your love. #teenagedaughter #letter #motherdaughter #parenting

A Heartfelt Letter to My Daughter

Being a mummy makes you feel a kind of profound, vibrating love.

I decided to write this letter because I’m currently in the ideal position of being able to remember my own teens, but also being able to view your teenage years objectively, before they’re upon us. Naturally, as time marches on my own past angst will become (more of) a distant memory, while yours will begin to cloud my judgements.

This letter serves as a reminder to myself of why I must keep your needs in mind, when all I want to do is lovingly instal bars on your bedroom window, fasten the buckles on your strait jacket, and whip up your favourite dinner.

That may sound crazy, but being a mummy and feeling that kind of profound, vibrating love does crazy things to a woman.

If I had to do those unstable things to keep you safe, I’d struggle not to. But of course I know I need to keep that in check.

Mother and Daughter Snuggled in Blanket

This missive is also designed to remind your teenage self that, though you may sometimes struggle to comprehend that an old fart like me was once your age – I get it.

The lack of confidence; the feelings of isolation; the uncertainty and need to fit in. Right now, today, I do.

I hope I never forget, so that I can empathise with you and be the mother you need me to be. But I am fallible, so if all my precious memories of you push out the less pleasant ones of my teenage years, then I’m sorry.

But you will at least have this to refer to as a poor substitute. And so will I.

Inspirational Letter to Teenage Girl, From Her Mother

When I was a young woman, as you are now, I was stifled and suffocated. As I mentioned above, a mother’s love can do that. So can a dad’s, but mine wasn’t around to interfere; nor to be a sounding board for your nan’s parenting methods. It must have been very difficult trying to strike the appropriate balance alone. I hope more than anything that your dad and I are still very much a team by the time you read this.

Your nan had baggage from her own childhood, sadly – just as many of us do (I hope that won’t be true for you). And naturally, it influenced the way she brought me up. I think it also coloured her judgement; but that’s understandable. It’s also inevitable, and what gave me the idea for writing this.

The most precious things to pass onto your daughter: wisdom, advice, and the depth of your love. #teenagedaughter #letter #motherdaughter #parenting

Learning from Past Mistakes

I’ve heard it said that in becoming a parent, you gain a new insight to, and appreciation of, your own parents; a bit like putting your upbringing under a magnifying glass. But I find that to be over-simplified and prefer the analogy of a prism: to refract the interwoven threads of our relationship and pick through which to replicate, and which to refine.

It’s so tempting to keep you undeniably safe, like a butterfly held captive in a glass jar.

As your mother, my inclination will always be to protect you from danger. But there’s another vital element to your health if you’re to blossom as you grow. I must not clip your feathers, for your true beauty will only be appreciated in the beating of your unfurled wings.

It’s so tempting to keep you undeniably safe, like a butterfly held captive in a glass jar; because in allowing the butterfly the freedom to dance, you are also allowing it to be vulnerable.

Of course, their beauty is in their vulnerability.

Letter to My Teenage Daughter

I want to be a good mum to you; for you.

More than anything in the world, I want to be a good mum. I don’t want to be your best friend, so you’ll confide in me all the stupid things you do when you’re out of your mind and your depth, with stress or grief or drugs. I don’t want those things for you at all.

I certainly don’t want to be your adversary, who you are easily able to dismiss, discount and distress. I’ve no doubt these things will happen from time to time, despite both our best efforts. But if I have my way we will find a healthy equilibrium instead.

I want to be a good mum to you; for you.

I want to find the strength and wisdom to raise you to be balanced, decent and content. For me, that means openness, honesty, transparency; it also means privacy, trust and respect. They shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

Treading the Fine Line Between Protective and Stifling

Rather than have our relationship become tainted, as you cloak your exploits in secrecy, I want to find the courage to set you free. Besides which, it’s surely better to unravel the apron strings incrementally than to slash through them on your 18th birthday.

Teenagers are notoriously obnoxious, and I fear losing our close bond – but then children your age are not supposed to share, and already I am in awe of your kindness and generosity. I also believe respect inspires respect, which is something your dad and I intend to promote in our home.

When I think about my own teenage years, my memories are diluted, as if the colour has been bleached out of them. I don’t want that for you. I realise that what I want is secondary to what you need, but I hope that the two things will marry up if I keep my head.

My greatest hope is that I’m able to continue to be positive for you, and to foster all the good, and beautiful traits of which I see such promise in you. Not all people grow up to  be admirable adults; but some do. It is possible. And I attribute that largely to growing up in a stable, loving, healthy and content home.

A letter to my teenage daughterwhile she's still a baby. To pass on all the things I want her to know before the reality of life gets in the way of telling her.

Inspirational Letter to Teenage Daughter

I know I will make mistakes. Your dad will too. And so will you, my sweet girl. I hope there’s a sibling also, who will be making his or her own errors of judgement; and in so doing will provide you with a little understanding of what it is to love someone so dearly that you wish to see them learn from your mistakes, rather than repeat them.

Of course our little family will not be perfect. We will face our own trials and have to find a way through.

Naturally, I hope to limit those hardships, and instead nurture memories you will cherish and one day share with your own children.

It took for me to reach and pass that six month milestone to comprehend something else, of utmost significance. (How odd that sometimes the simplest realisations can truly be the most profoundly intense.)

Mother and daughter cuddling

My Pledge to You, My Beloved Daughter

You may wander away from me to explore your horizons – I wish that for you – but I hope you will never be distant.

I had the epiphany that it’s not too late to work towards making your teenage years different from mine; it’s not inevitable that history will repeat itself and we will grow apart for that difficult, transcendental phase.

You won’t necessarily become unhappy and disdainful and secretive and aloof. I can keep working on making sure that doesn’t happen. Mostly, I need to work on letting go of the reins, of allowing you to feel your feet and find your balance.

You may let go of my hand, but my arms will always be there to break your fall. And you may wander away from me to explore your horizons – I wish that for you – but I hope you will never be distant.

You have heard my heartbeat from the inside, and I have cradled yours within my body. You carry a piece of my heart with you wherever you go, and I’m as vulnerable as if that were literal rather than figurative.

Remember always, my precious girl, you are the brightest star in my sky (and yours dad’s too). And with every passing day, you become more fabulous in your own right. We are so very, very proud of you.

My wish is that in writing what I hope qualifies as an inspirational letter to my teenage daughter, she has something tangible to look back on and revisit when she may need comfort from her mother, but is unable or unwilling to reach out to me. I want to always be there, even through moments of conflict or miles of distance.


Thursday 2nd of June 2016

My nephew is about to turn 13, sometimes I can't believe it, sometimes I can't believe he's only 13! #kcacols

Kate Tunstall

Thursday 2nd of June 2016

It's funny how they have the ability to at once seem wise beyond their years, yet also entirely innocent. ?

Jen @Practical, By Default

Wednesday 1st of June 2016

What a great idea. I wish I had thought of it as I sit here with my teenagers. Lovely letter! #KCACOLS

Kate Tunstall

Thursday 2nd of June 2016

Thank you so much! ?

Kate Tunstall

Monday 30th of May 2016

Thanks Ali, I hope so. ?

Michelle G

Sunday 29th of May 2016

This is absolutely lovely, touching and thoughtful. My baby girl is not a year old yet but I look at her and imagine her as a teen, how she'll be, what she'll be interested in. Once she arrived that the only thing that mattered from now on was her being happy and I would support her and love her whatever path she takes. This is easy to say when she's a (fairly) compliant baby but I'm sure will be more challenging as she grows ;) #KCACOLS

Kate Tunstall

Monday 30th of May 2016

Haha, I dare say you're right! Thanks for your lovely comment x

Rebecca | AAUBlog

Sunday 29th of May 2016

aw this is lovely. i can't imagine having a teenager! Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS hope to see you again next week

Kate Tunstall

Monday 30th of May 2016

Thanks Rebecca.