Still today, I can so vividly remember being a little girl as carefree as I could be. Boys were just as much of a mystery to me then as they are now. I remember fighting with them on the playground and being terrified of catching their cooties. I also remember coming home one day from school after a boy had pushed me down on the playground. I was headstrong and stubborn (and still am), and I remember being so upset that he had pushed me. I couldn't understand why. When I got home that day I told my mom all about it. Her response was this:

"Don't worry, when boys hit you or mess with you, it usually means they like you."

I was perplexed by this. If he liked me so much, why would he want to hurt me? It just didn't make much sense. I found though, that because my mom had told me that, that was what I knew as the truth.

From then on, every time a boy was mean to me, or hurt my feelings, or shoved me, I thought that he must just like me. I looked at abuse and saw love. I know labeling a little boy pushing a little girl on the playground as abuse is a bit drastic, but hear me out.

We have to stop teaching our daughters that affection should come in pushes, shoves and degrading comments. We have to stop teaching our daughters that it's okay to let a boy call you a name if he likes you. We have to stop teaching our daughters that they have to settle for less; that they have to settle for anything less than what they're worth.

I am in no way trying to bash my mom because my mom is the best. I am simply pointing out a problem that we need to address sooner rather than later. As I was growing up, I found myself telling little girls I knew or would babysit the same thing. It's what we've been taught and it seems harmless at first.

But, these little girls grow up to be women. These little girls that are taught that abuse is synonymous to love grow up to be women that believe abuse and control are synonymous to love. They are taught to accept less than they deserve from boys who are taught that this behavior is okay through our acceptance of it.

There are so many toxic relationships in all generations but especially mine. I am so tired of seeing girls take emotional and physical abuse from guys who say it's because they care. Please know this is never an excuse for a man to make you feel worthless or lay his hands on you; it is not because he cares. It's the opposite.

It's time to stop teaching our daughters that boys who hit you care about you, and it's time to start teaching our daughters that boys that value you would never want to bring you harm in any way. It's time to teach our daughters to be fearless and independent and to always stand up for themselves in every aspect of life.