Will you write to your son or daughter on their 18th birthday?

The blogging community has given a new lease of life to the tradition of writing a letter to your son or daughter on their 18th birthday, either to sum up all the parenting wisdom you’ve been imparting over the last eighteen years or to tell them what they mean to you.

We LOVE the idea (if it’s good enough for Reese Witherspoon, it’s good enough for us) and you’ll be seeing our letters to our sons when they turn 18, that’s for sure. We’ve got a few months yet to plan them, so we’ve taken a look at some of the best ones out there for inspiration.

This dad beautifully expresses what we most want to tell them, all of the time. (My irrational fear of them diving into shallow water, whether pool or sea, would 100% be included in a letter from me…)

“Be safe and make good decisions.”

A former colleague and I used to joke that we’re only a sixteenth of an inch from doing something foolish every day. Truthfully, I think we’re much closer than that. There will be times when you have the urge to do something you know you shouldn’t. When that urge comes – and it will – stay focused and keep your eye on the big picture. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. I want you to have phenomenal experiences at every stage of your life. I also want you to be proud of the majority of those decisions and live to tell your grandchildren about them.

We also love every word of the classic advice in this letter, from a father to his son:

“Keep your promises.

Doing what you say you will do is a rare thing in our world today. It is one of the easiest ways to stand apart.”


Yes, yes, yes!

And we chose this one to include because we like the way this letter is so personal – it pulls together all the characteristics of the writer’s daughter and gives advice accordingly:

“You have always been independent and resilient. Remember those are great qualities and will get you far in life, but you don’t have to do everything on your own. Life is all about relationships, and it’s ok to open your heart to others.”

Others are just straightforward love letters (we hear you!). Author Rosa Kwon Easton expresses the mix of emotions perfectly:

“Congratulations on your 18th birthday! This moment is a cause for celebration, but I am filled with mixed emotions. I know you were always on loan to me, as those parenting books said, but now that the time is here, it’s very hard for me to give you back.” 

And to end on a high, Caitlin Moran’s famous letter to her daughter is gold; if you haven’t read it, google it immediately. It wasn’t written for an 18th birthday but we just can’t leave it out. A couple of our favourite quotes are:

“The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are – so lovely I burst, darling – and so I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you to feel happy.”

“Never love someone who you think you need to mend – or who makes you feel like you should be mended. There are boys out there who look for shining girls; they will stand next to you and say quiet things in your ear that only you can hear and that will slowly drain the joy out of your heart. The books about vampires are true, baby. Drive a stake through their hearts and run away.”

So, what do you think? Have we inspired you to start writing the perfect keepsake for the big day? We hope so – let us know!

Louise & Anna x

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