Read This Mom's Empowering List Of 'Don'ts' For Her Daughter

"Don't stay home because you don't have anyone to go out with. Take yourself out. Have experiences by yourself and for yourself."

From a very young age, the gender stereotypes we learn can have lasting effects. One recent study found that the movies, TV shows, and other media that perpetuate these rigid gender stereotypes can negatively affect children's sense of self, relationships, and career aspirations. According to the report, media reinforces the notion that masculine traits and behaviors are more valued, and the idea that girls should really just be concerned with their appearance. Another study found that gender stereotypes can negatively impact girls as young as 6 years old and their beliefs about their own intelligence. 

Writer Toni Hammer doesn't want her 5-year-old daughter, Lillian, to fall victim to those statistics. She recently shared an empowering letter she had written to her on Facebook with advice on the things she shouldn't do. From apologizing for things that aren't her fault, to saying "yes" just to be polite, Hammer touched on several common negative behaviors both girls and women fall into.


"Don't apologize when someone else bumps into you," she wrote. "Don't say 'sorry to be such a pain.' You're not a pain. You're a person with thoughts and feelings who deserves respect."

When it comes to dating, Hammer hopes her daughter will put herself first and not feel pressured to say 'yes' to guys she doesn't want to spend time with. "Don't make up reasons as to why you can't go out with a guy you don't wanna go out with," she wrote. "You don't owe anyone an explanation. A simple 'no thanks' should be acceptable." 

Many girls feel uncomfortable eating in front of others because they're worried they'll be judged by how much or what they eat. Hammer doesn't want her daughter to be self-conscious about this. "Don't overthink what you eat in front of people," she wrote. "If you're hungry, eat, and eat what you want. If you want pizza, don't get a salad just because other people are around. Order the damn pizza." 

She hopes her daughter will develop a deep sense of self and won't make decisions on her appearance based on others. "Don't keep your hair long to make someone else happy. Don't wear a dress if you don't want to," she wrote. 

Developing a positive, healthy relationship with food and feeling confident in their appearance is something many girls struggle with. In fact, studies show more than half of girls as young as 6 to 8 think their ideal body is thinner than their current size. Forty-two percent of girls in first to third grade want to be thinner and 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of becoming fat. These unfortunate statistics show how important it is to help kids foster positive self-image. 

Too many girls and women are afraid of coming off as rude, aggressive, or unkind, so they end up doing things they don't want to or shouldn't have to do. Hammer hopes her daughter won't fall into this habit. "Don't say 'yes' to be polite. Say 'no' because it's your life," she wrote. "Don't hide your opinions. Speak up and speak loudly. You should be heard." 

Lastly, she wants her daughter to be proud of the person she is and unafraid to show people. "Don't apologize for being who you are," she wrote. "Be brave and bold and beautiful. Be unapologetically you." 

Hammer's post has already been shared over 3,000 times and has over 4,000 likes in just a few days. Many parents hope to raise their girls with this exact message, but many women can also benefit from giving this advice a read. 


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