To My Daughter Who Thinks She’s Stupid

To my smart, talented, hard-working daughter:

It happened again. You couldn’t do something you wanted to do, and so you stormed off, yelling “I’m so stupid!”  

To My Daughter who thinks she's stupid

I get it. You’re a negative thinker. We’ve figured that out over the years. You expect perfection from yourself. You automatically think people are laughing at you because you think they should. You frustrate easily.

Once upon a time, kids were hard on you because you sometimes gave wrong answers in a highly competitive class. Or, they got angry if you made a mistake that made them miss out on a class reward. Once, when you were struggling to understand fractions, your teacher told me in front of you that you’d just never be good at math.  

If I’d known how hard you would be on yourself, or If I’d known how it would make you lose confidence in yourself, I would have never put you in that class to begin with.  I regret not pulling you out sooner.  Mostly, I wish I had realized how sensitive you were earlier.

I can’t blame everything on that class. Part of it is just who you are. But, my sweet girl, every time I hear you yell at yourself “I’m such an idiot!” my heart hurts.

When I see you pound your head in frustration because you can’t do something, I worry.

Each time you shut me out when I try to build you up against the negative voices in your head, my frustration shows.

So, next time you have a negative thought, I want you to remember this:

You are loved. Your family and friends love you, and many others who know you love you. You are a daughter of God, who loves you. You are a great friend. You are so responsible and organized. You are helpful. You have so many talents. You are so creative and write beautiful poems. You play the piano and sing beautifully. You’re a hard worker. And, even though you think you’re stupid (and we repeatedly talk about how grades aren’t important), you got straight A’s all year.  

I know that negative voice in your brain tells you you’re stupid, and you want to believe it. I know you don’t want to listen to me when you’re wallowing in the despair of a mistake made. So, I wrote you this letter so that when you’ve calmed down and are feeling better, you might just believe me when I tell you that you are strong, you are smart, and your hard work will take you further than you dream is possible.


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Valerie grew up Naperville, Illinois, and is a Midwestern girl at heart even though she spent 16 years in Phoenix. She moved to Marion in 2016 with her husband, daughter (14), and two sons (12 and 9). Valerie graduated from BYU with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She is a former band director, a current substitute teacher and accompanist, and an avid reader and crafter.