When I was growing up, my mom didn’t always say out loud how she felt, but she was really good at writing letters to me. She’d open with the words “A letter to my daughter.” I still remember one letter she gave me the summer before ninth grade. She said, “What have I done right to deserve a kid like you?” Even now, 25 years later, I remember feeling really loved as I read those words.
I even appreciate the way she started: “A letter to my daughter.” That told me she was proud to claim me as hers and that I was wanted. There are certain things girls need to hear and maybe even have on hand to look back on when they have a tough day. Feeling wanted is one of those things. So write that and these 10 things in a letter to your daughter. You never know—she might still remember it 25 years later.
1. “I love you from the bottom of my heart.”
Consistent expressions of love cannot be overdone. The more parents say it, the more deeply it is appreciated. She’s less likely to look for love “in all the wrong places” when she’s confident you deeply love her.
2. “I believe in you.”
Our girls need a boost in confidence for the right reasons. There are so many messages that tell them that their worth is found in their appearance. Make sure your daughter knows you believe in her because of her character and innate value.Make sure your daughter knows you believe in her because of her character and innate value. Click To Tweet
3. “I think you’re beautiful.”
Even though you know physical beauty is fleeting, it’s hard to ignore that it’s coveted by women, young and old. Don’t be afraid to tell your daughter why you think she’s beautiful. You can pick out physical features, but focus more on inner beauty by telling her something like this: “When you show kindness, you glow!”
4. “You make me proud in so many ways.”
Tell her how much who she is means to you. Don’t make things up or speak with inflated words—just affirm what’s going right. “I’m so proud of how well you handled that argument with your brother. You’re really growing up.” The simplest things can show her that you notice her and that she doesn’t need to perform to earn your approval.
5. “I want you to know what my treasures are.”
Share your fundamental values with your daughter. Teaching kids from our hearts requires some extra effort and vulnerability. In a world where there are a lot of fake personas, telling her what’s important to you will stand out. “I know we aren’t rich, but I wanted to spend more time with you, so I always took jobs that gave me more freedom and for that, I have zero regrets.”
6. “Let me tell you about the day you were born.”
Most kids know the logistics of the day they were born, but be sure to tell your daughter how you felt:
I cried like a baby the first time I held you.
I prayed for you every day for nine months, and I haven’t stopped since.
My life changed that day.
7. “Don’t ever settle for second best.”
Your girl was created in love and with a purpose. She was created to live and love at capacity. That requires the very best. Parents always want the best for their children, but eventually, they need to take ownership over that with the choices they make. Remind your daughter to use the gifts she’s been given, treat her body with respect, and choose to spend her time with someone who loves her and treats her like the prize she is.
8. “I want very much for us always to be in each other’s lives.”
Admit that you’re scared to lose her when she grows up, but that you know it’s how it should be. Tell her that you hope your relationship will transform into a friendship as she gets older, and that you’re always going to be there.
9. “You can always come to me—no matter what—and I will help you figure things out.”
It’s important your daughter understands that nothing will ever stop you from loving her. Make sure she knows that even if she’s in trouble, she can talk to you and you’re willing to help her formulate a plan. Tell her you’ll always take her calls and listen when she needs to talk, day or night.
10. “Now I want you to listen to my heart.”
Only you know what to write here. But make sure you share from the bottom of your heart. If you’re a woman of faith, tell her what that means to you. Do you have a moving story about your relationship with your own parents? Share it here. If you’re a poet, write a verse. Do you have a song that expresses something of your soul? Quote it here. She might think it’s cheesy, but eventually, she will love it for its authenticity.
What else would you include in your version of “a letter to my daughter” to make it special?