Dear Little Girl With The Smart Mouth,
I know you probably think that I am about to come down on you — that this is the moment when you are going to be chastised for that mouth which likes to run, and often gets away from you. Well, you are about to be surprised little lady. My tirade I am about to have right here, well, it is not one in which you will be put in your place and reminded to be respectful. Why you ask? Because for the most part you are respectful, you are just opinionated, and that should be admired and encouraged.
It is very important for children, especially young girls, to understand and believe in the power of their voice. For them to know and confidently believe that what they have to say is important, should be heard, and valued. As parents, we often muzzle our children and suppress their opinions. Whether done voluntarily or involuntarily, this is a mistake.
What I want to tell you about your voice and your opinions is this:
- You must try to focus on spreading kindness with your words — not hate or negativity.
- You should never stay silent about things that matter.
- You always have permission to use your voice.
- Your own voice has the ability to motivate you, as well as others.
- You should be sure to share your words in a respectful and humble way.
- You need to always speak the truth.
- You can raise your words, but do not raise your voice.
- Be mindful of remembering to think before you speak.
- Believe that your opinion holds no more weight than another person’s.
- Recognize that the best opinions are those that are formulated based on facts, logic, good reasoning, and intelligence.
- And this is extremely important — never allow yourself to be silenced by someone else’s voice.
These are just the basics of how to use that smart mouth of yours appropriately and effectively. You will, no doubt, learn more rules of communication and banter as you grow up. Let my suggestions be stepping stones for you…let them be your guide.
And, do you want to know why I keep referring to your mouth as “smart”? Well, because it is. 90% of the time, when you “talk back” to your dad and I, you are making a valid point — one that should be heard. And thankfully, you already have the confidence and strength of character to drive us to listen to you — something we should always be doing anyway.
You know those parents that worry because their child is a “smart-a**”? I’m not worried. I know you will turn out just fine; and do you know how I know that?
Because you are my daughter, and you are every bit of me when I was younger.
I appreciate the tenacity with which you approach life, it’s matters, the people in it, and the conversations about it. So many important, successful, and respected people in this world came to be such because they would not let their voice be muffled, and neither do you.
If you’re wondering where I got the inspiration for this letter to my daughter, it was from Notes to My Daughter Before You Go — an inspirational book, filled with beautiful black and white photographs, as well as positive tidbits of wisdom and gentle guidance from a mother to her daughter as she journeys out of childhood. For those of you interested in writing down your own handwritten notes for your child, on something nicer than a sticky-note with the option of making them into a sort of keepsake for him/her, check out this Notes to My Daughter journal, in which you can reflect and record your innermost thoughts, memories, and advice as you would like to pass them on to your child.
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