A frustrated mother's emotional open letter to the stranger who insulted her four-year-old daughter's haircut is being shared across the internet today.
American journalist Terri Peters, from Maryland, took to Disney's parenting site Babble to chastise the woman, who told her daughter she could be beautiful if only she grew her hair long '"like a princess".
The open letter to the "inconsiderate" woman was posted a few months back but is being widely shared and commented on this week.
It begins, "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."
Peters and her daughter encountered the woman while waiting in line to pay for a Rapunzel doll, which was meant to be a treat for her daughter after behaving so well after getting the haircut.
Sadly, the comments ruined the special moment for her daughter.
Describing her reaction, she wrote, "I see the wheels turning in her mind, wondering if she should have skipped the short haircut, wondering if she is beautiful like a princess.
I see the shame and self-doubt that this small comment brings to her eyes, and I want to run from the store and protect her from the standards of beauty that our society wants to place upon her."
The letter, which was written a few months ago but has since been shared widely, continued, "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.'"
Luckily, Peters was able to save the day by reminding her daughter that at the end of Disney's Tangled movie, which stars Rapunzel, the princess had short, brown hair.
She wrote, "Instead of talking any further about how a lady in a store told her that she would be more beautiful if she grew her hair long like Rapunzel, my daughter and I drive home talking about the end of Rapunzel’s story — the way she stood up for herself, was strong and brave, took care of the ones she loved, and put other’s needs before her own — all while rocking a short, beautiful haircut."
Peters rounded off the letter with a reminder of how susceptible children can be to criticism of their looks.
"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."
You can read the full open letter here.