All Women's Talk

Things You Should Never Say to Your Daughter ...

By Alison

What are some of the things you shouldn't say to your daughter? Well-meaning parents may think they're helping their daughter with the things that they say she should or shouldn't do. But if you're not careful, your daughter can grow up thinking that she should behave a certain way just because she's a girl. Here are some of the things you shouldn't say to your daughter …

1 You Can't

'You won't' or 'you can't do that' is one of the things you shouldn't say to your daughter. Just imagine if Marie Curie's mother had said 'You can't be a scientist!' or Margaret Thatcher's father had said 'Politics is a man's business!' Instead of telling her that she can't achieve her ambitions, help her find a way to achieve what she wants to do.

2 That's Not Feminine

So what if your daughter doesn't like wearing skirts and dresses? She doesn't have to dress according to anyone else's ideas of what a girl should wear, and can have her hair short if that's the way she prefers it. Not all girls like 'girly' things, so allow her to develop her own tastes and be the way she wants to be.


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3 You Shouldn't Eat That

Every parent worries that their daughter will develop an unhealthy relationship with food, so be careful about the unwritten messages she's getting from you. Don't tell her that she'll get fat if she eats that slice of cake or has another helping. Try instead to encourage her to eat healthily but teach her that it's ok to have some treats.

4 You Shouldn't Say That

Girls often absorb the message that they shouldn't speak up because it's rude, yet boys may not be given the same message. Telling your daughter off for speaking her mind is like saying she shouldn't have an opinion. As long as she's not being downright rude, let her say what she thinks.

5 You Should Put on Makeup

Some mothers worry that their daughters want to wear makeup too young, while others think that their daughter really should wear some makeup! It seems girls can't win. Don't tell your daughter as she gets older that she 'would look better' with some makeup on - she'll get the message that you think her face isn't good enough. And even if you don't want to give that impression, it's not a healthy message for her to absorb.

6 You've Got Your Clothes Dirty!

When your daughter is young, let her play in the mud. It doesn't matter if she gets her clothes dirty; it's not like the old days when clothes had to be washed by hand and you didn't have many spare outfits. Let her play messy games if she wants to - it's good for her to get outdoors and enjoy fresh air.

7 That's Not for Girls

Finally, never try to push your daughter into a gender role. We may, without meaning to, see certain jobs as either masculine or feminine. Boys are still told they shouldn't be nurses, and girls steered away from engineering. Don't tell her that certain things are not for girls - this is the 21st century!

Being a parent is not an easy task, and it's hard to get everything right. Encourage your daughter to follow her dreams and develop her interests, and don't try to steer her into 'girly' ways. Were you ever told you couldn't do something because you were a girl?

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