Budding Breasts 9 Yr Old and Appropriate Dress?

Updated on July 27, 2010
P.S. asks from New York, NY
14 answers

My DD is starting to develop breasts and she wore a bra this spring. Now that it is summer, she doesn't want to wear a bra (who can blame her) and she just wants to hang loose. I try not to have white shirts and have mostly shirts with pictures on them, etc. However, there are always a few things get she still wants to wear and she doesn't understand why she can't just be as is. I told her it is inappropriate to show her breasts. How can I help her understand - what can I do?

Update: Thanks so much for the quick responses already. Her bras are very sports bra like and thin cotton, also just got another spandexy one from Target yesterday. She just won't wear them or even do the "layered strappy tank top" look.

Thanks so much.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Certain tops and tanks have ruffles, patterns across the bust line, even though they aren't those thin little strappy tanks. My almost 11 year old likes those. Darker colors or busy patterns work well. Lots of good summer clearance right now. Take her clearance shopping at "Justice" I don't know a tween girl who doesn't adore that store.

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answers from Daytona Beach on

i know this might not be what you are looking for but you said she is just getting breasts. honestly, i hate wearing a bra, too. and i'm pretty large. most of the time i wear a sports bra. especially during the summer. it's much more comfortable during the summer when a person sweats more. it doesn't rub, etc. they sell them for children also. i would look into that. hth

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answers from Dallas on

My first reaction is to not make her self conscious of her body. She is developing breasts, that's normal. Please don't make her feel negative about her body. She is developing body image now, if parents or friends are negative toward that, it sets off possible issues for later.

Communicate with her. We are open minded here and we talk about everything. Sometimes we do lounge around the house with no bra, we love and enbrace our bodies.

If she does not want to wear a bra, layer tank tops. My 15 yr old layers her tanks all the time with her bra. The athletic bra is another good option if you feel she should be so covered at all times.

I'm not saying go show the tatas off, of course modesty is important. There has to be a balance.

I didn't mean to come across the wrong way. I hope you interpreted my comment positively. Our girls grow up so fast!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Certain tops and tanks have ruffles, patterns across the bust line, even though they aren't those thin little strappy tanks. My almost 11 year old likes those. Darker colors or busy patterns work well. Lots of good summer clearance right now. Take her clearance shopping at "Justice" I don't know a tween girl who doesn't adore that store.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Have you taken a photo of her when you feel her breast are "showing" she may not realize what you mean.

Our daughter like the sports bras like S.S. suggested also tanks that she could wear under things.

Target has TONS of different options to choose from take her and see if she can find some things that will work for he

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

Just keep reminding her in a gentle way that because of her age and that she is starting develop that she will need to wear a bra at certain times even if it's summer or maybe just there are things that look more appropriate. Just like there are times when we wear shorts or it's more appropriate to wear a nice dress. Maybe try to swing it about dressing appropriately more than focusing on her developing? That there are times when it's more appropriate to be just a bit more covered up. I can't imagine having to deal with that at 9 so tread gently.

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answers from Richmond on

My best friends daughter is going through this as well. Any slightly revealing shirts or dresses that are not age appropriate with her tiny tatas, she has to wear a pretty, lacy camisole underneathe... or go change into a t shirt. This is not up for discussion, she needs to learn to be modest. Put your foot down as the parent. While being comfortable with your body is a GOOD thing and a definate self esteem booster, being modest and dressing appropriately is equally important. Like I said, instead of getting plain old undershirts to go underneathe, get lacy cami's to peek out. Explain that leaving a bit to the imagination is WAY more feminine than letting it all hang out!! Best wishes!


answers from New York on

If she's prefer, she can wear a tank top or cami under a tight fitting top. Honestly, it's not appropriate for people to see her breasts through her shirt, and it is okay to tell her so, and to insist that if she's going to wear a tight shirt, she must wear a bra. Whether she understands that it's not okay for boys and men to see her breasts even at 9 years old, she still needs to abide by the rule. I know parents nowadays are very into kids "understanding" everything and having to justify every rule and decision, but really you do not need to do that. If she cant' understand why it's not appropriate, that's okay but she still needs to have proper coverage.



answers from New York on

There is a great book put out by the American Girl Co called the Care & Keeping of You. I read it with my now 9 year old & by reading it together was a great way to start the conversations about the changes that are/will be happening in her body. It discusses general hygene as well as wearing bras, etc & does so very tastefully. I agree with prior postings saying you need to put your foot down, but you can do so gently. Show her that you wear a bra every day when you go out, even though you're hot & sweaty & may not want to, it's just part of being a girl. It's good to have the dark colored tops & patterned ones for her, but in those instances when she wears a white one or thin shirt, get her a flesh toned bra for underneath. If she doesn't want to wear the bra, make her change. I strongly recommend the book! Good luck!



answers from Syracuse on

How about telling her when she's at home she doesn't have to wear a bra, but insist that she doesn't leave the house without one. I remember being embarrassed in 5th grade when a classmate told me I needed a bra. The first one I ever wore was a B cup, so you can imagine my mother had been ignoring the issue!


answers from New York on

You are the mother and you know what is the right thing to do . Therefore INSIST. She is only nine and already refusing to wear what you tell her? On my no no. Either she wears a bra or doesnt leave her room.


answers from New York on

Hi P.,

Can you get your doctor to tell your daughter how important it is that she supports her budding boobies? The muscles need help to stay strong. Maybe if someone "with authority" tells her to wear some support, she'll listen.

Good luck!
from the Pocono Mts. of PA



answers from Rochester on

what about a bathing suit top or tank? Have you asked her why she wont wear them? Does she have a girl cousin or someone close to her age but older that she looks up to who could talk to her?



answers from New York on

Now is the time to calmly and clearly set the parameters whether she likes them or not. Teaching her modesty is a form of self respect and protection for her as she grows. It would be fantastic for her dad to talk to her about how men react women (a girl thinks she looks cute and doesn't understand that she is advertising free services by wearing the mini and halter with purple bra as accessory showing). It's not an issue of shame, but of beauty and modesty. Girls dress for other girls and conformity is such a strong pull. So it's important to have fun times with her, for her to have time with her dad - learning how a man treats a woman with respect and attention. At the same time, you are laying the ground work for the years to come - family is more impt than friends, fashions pass, self respect and modesty. You can do it!



answers from New York on

Oh, man. You may have to play dirty. Either force it, or take some (shocking!) photos so she can see what you mean. Either that, or hide all of her tops and replace them with built-in-bra camisoles and just let her run around in spaghetti straps this summer.

Good luck!!! I remember HATING bras at that age (I think I was 10 when I got my first.) They were tickly, and annoying. Ugh.

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