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Mum wrote a very open, public letter to the “inconsiderate stranger” who criticised her four-year-old daughter’s haircut.

The American mum, Terri Peters, is a writer for TODAY.com and the Huffington Post — and her letter has now gone viral.

Terri chose to stay calm at the time, explaining: “We have a doll to pay for, so we stand in line and make small talk with you until we’ve finished paying.”

Terri writes that as she and her young daughter waited to pay for a new toy, a woman decided to make small talk, including “what a beautiful doll” and “which princess is that?”.

“She [her daughter] looks at you with her silly, friendly attitude on display and says, ‘Rapunzel!’ And then, you look at my perfect little girl and say, ‘Well, her long hair is so pretty. You would be that pretty, too, if you had long hair.’”

“Before you decided to tell my daughter that she could be beautiful — like a princess — if only she’d grow her hair long, I wish you’d taken a minute to think about your words. The truth is, you do not know my child. You do not know that she cried every day when I brushed her long hair, leaving both of us frustrated and in bad moods.”

“You do not know that last summer she and I got matching bob haircuts and she loved hers. Then this fall, when she started ballet, she desperately wanted to wear her hair in a crocheted bun holder, leading me to tell her if she grew it out and was very patient through all of the hair-brushing, she’d be able to by recital time in the spring.

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“You did not see how proud she was when she wore her hair in a bun for her dance recital, nor did you hear the excitement in her voice when it was over and she asked me, ‘Can I get my hair cut short again now?’

“You did not watch her sit still — and be very well-behaved for a four-year-old — while she got her new haircut. You definitely did not watch her look at herself in the mirror and smile when it was finished because she was so happy with her new look.”

This rude stranger could have easily undone all of Terri’s hard work, with the mum admitting that it made her feel “like you punched me in the stomach, because who says that to a child?”

She added: “On the walk to the car, my daughter says to me, ‘Mommy, I wish they would have had a princess doll with short hair like me.’ And so, I tell my daughter that all kinds of hair are beautiful, just as all kinds of people are beautiful. I explain that sometimes people say things without understanding how those things sound to others, and that you were not saying she wasn’t beautiful — only that Rapunzel had pretty, long hair. But then I ask her, ‘Do you remember what happens at the end of Rapunzel’s movie [Tangled]? What does her hair look like?’

“I get giggles from the back seat as she says, ‘Short and brown like me!’”

Thankfully, it seems Terri undid any of the damage on this journey home with the inspiring Rapunzel story — but the woman’s unnecessary comment was still left ingrained in her mind.

She finished: “I’m sure you didn’t mean to insinuate that my daughter was not beautiful. You were just making conversation with a very cute little girl in the same check-out line as you. But please, in the future, speak with more caution to the little girls you meet. Children soak up everything, even the voices their mommas wish they could shield them from.”

Share your comments below.

This article originally appeared on Babble

Images via Babble

  • I am sort of getting tired of these “open letters” wish people addressed things politely on the spot rather than these passive aggressive tactics for click bait

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  • I can so imagine the annoyance of this mum ! My son had for many years longer hair and received so many negative responses that now he wants a haircut that other people like !!

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  • It’s up to you to teach your daughter that the length of her hair means squat when it comes to her value as a person. Its also up to you to teach her not to judge her value by her appearance. It wouldn’t matter if a stranger comments on her appearance if she doesn’t put her appearance before anything else.

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  • I don’t understand why people feel the need to say things like this to children? Or to anyone for that matter? Keep your opinions to yourself!

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  • Some people really need to think before they open their mouths.

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  • I feel for Terri and her daughter for the ‘well meaning’ strangers comments. I also feel for the lady in the background of the photo for being in a photograph that went viral probably without her consent!

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  • Even if this woman said this ‘accidentally’, it’s still horrible! How do you say something like that to a little girl? And I think this little girl is very pretty, with short or long hair. I hope that woman reads this and is more careful with her words next time

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  • Great letter to read and as mentioned I don’t think the stranger meant to be rude but sometimes people should just say hi and leave it at that instead of making comments about appearances particularly to children.

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  • To me it sounds like the woman meant no harm and was saying she’d be beautiful with long hair too, not that she wasn’t without it. I’m sure the woman didn’t mean any harm by it. I can see how it could be taken the wrong way though, and the mother was just protecting the feelings of her child. Did the child take it the wrong way or did her mother just assume and jump the gun in case?

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  • Sensible of her to realise it was probably unthinking… I still hope I’d never accidentally make a remark like that!

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  • People have to realise that not every mother is bringing up a fashion model. If that’s how you evaluate your daughter, I feel sorry for you because you have a gods gift of a child which in your eyes should be the most beautiful child in the world.We don’t only love them if they are pretty.

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  • What a beautiful way of undoing what that lady said. For the record, your daughter is beautiful whether she has long hair, short hair or no hair she will always be beautiful.

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  • I agrree if you cannot say anyting good then say nothing at all. I am a Nanna now but still can hear comments said to me,As I unfortunatly was plump,curly haired and wore glasses. My cousins nd I were on an outing and bus driver said oh three little fairies and baby elephant (me) A neighbour when I was crying said stop it fat girls do not cry they are supposed tomake people happy!. Even as I grew older still thoght I was fat and ugly tho looking back was not. Kids are vulnerable and need good sef esteem. good on you mum for sorting it out. Words can hurt

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  • I think you’re over reacting. “Insulted?” that woman was just making an innocent remark. C’mmon now, if we all take every people says seriously or give deep meaning to it, then maybe we might as well live in a box.

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  • Well done Teri. What a terrible thing that woman said to your daughter. Some people just don’t think or understand the effect of their words on others. Strange really, I’ve never heard such a claim before in that way. I find as parents we’re always having to ‘undo’ or ‘coach’ our kids on other people’s words or behaviours.

    Reply

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