To my daughter,
Don't apologize when someone else bumps into you.
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.
Don't make up reasons as to why you can't go out with a guy you don't wanna go out with. You don't owe anyone an explanation. A simple "no thanks" should be acceptable.
Don't overthink what you eat in front of people. 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.
Don't keep your hair long to make someone else happy.
Don't wear a dress if you don't want to.
Don't stay home because you don't have anyone to go out with. Take yourself out. Have experiences by yourself and for yourself.
Don't hold back your tears. Crying means you're feeling something that needs to get out. It's not a weakness. It's being human.
Don't smile because someone told you to.
Don't be afraid to laugh at your own jokes.
Don't say "yes" to be polite. Say "no" because it's your life.
Don't hide your opinions. Speak up and speak loudly. You should be heard.
Don't apologize for being who you are. Be brave and bold and beautiful. Be unapologetically you.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.