37 answers

Tweens and Bikinis

So I just helped supervise my 6th grade daughter's end of year swim party. About two-thirds of the girls had bikinis on, not modest ones either. Tops were strapless or little triangles. Bottoms were mostly pretty basic bikini bottoms, but a few had nothing more than little strings on the sides. My daughter and a few others had tankinis with little to no skin showing between the top and bottom. I know there will be a wide range of opinions out there, but I'll ask anyway to see if I am being unreasonable. Does anyone else think it is inappropriate for girls this young to wear bikinis, especially to a school function?

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for your respectful opinions. My daughter didn't ask for a bikini, but she also knows I am pretty strict on what I allow her to wear and do not buy into "everyone else's parents let them." And when I say strict, I mean covered from shoulder to mid thigh with regular clothes. I don't think that is extreme. She is 11 years old still, the youngest in her class, most have turned 12 already. She won't be 12 until a month after school starts. The problem is she is tall, trim, and log-legged and often gets mistaken for about 13 or 14. I am guessing next year she will actually ask to have a bikini, so I have a year to think about it :)

Featured Answers

California (and many other) girls have been wearing bikinis since the 60's/70's.
I choose not to focus on sexuality when it comes to young girls.
Let them enjoy their bodies while they can, "society" will soon enough tell them how dirty and shameful they are, I say let them be innocent for now.

11 moms found this helpful

I agree with you. Young girls are sexualized at a much too young age today. A string bikini has no place at a school function.

6 moms found this helpful

I dont think it's unusual or inappropriate.
I was one of those girls back in the day.
6th grade, meh.
It's the 16 yr olds in bikinis that you need to worry about.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

California (and many other) girls have been wearing bikinis since the 60's/70's.
I choose not to focus on sexuality when it comes to young girls.
Let them enjoy their bodies while they can, "society" will soon enough tell them how dirty and shameful they are, I say let them be innocent for now.

11 moms found this helpful

Hi R.-

I did not fight the 'bikini' battle with my girls...Probably because my mom refused to let ME wear one (she said I had to wait until a man got me a diamond for my navel...LOL).

My girls, starting at that age, have selected reasonably modest bikinis...and they each have at least one 'one piece' for serious swimming/diving/ocean waves.

I guess I am less concerned with 'what' they wear...and MOST concerned with their manners/behavior while wearing whatever...ya know?

Best Luck!
michele/cat

7 moms found this helpful

I agree with you. Young girls are sexualized at a much too young age today. A string bikini has no place at a school function.

6 moms found this helpful

The little girls in my neighborhood run around in tiny bikinis too (by little girls, I mean the oldest one is about 12). My son (5) and I were playing in our backyard last night and the neighbors had a bunch of girls over playing in their pool. The girls came over to see my baby and my son looked at them and said, "Why do you only have undies on?" The girls just giggled and said that they were swimming, to which he replied, "Where's your swimming suits?" Good questions, little man :)

I know it is considered fashionable, but I have always thought they are inappropriate for children (even when I was a kid).

6 moms found this helpful

yes! And there are other clothing options that are just as inappropriate for little girls. We don't need to start them on such skimpy clothing at these early ages.
Even in our home daycare situation, if we have a hot day and put out the wading pool, we ask the parents to provide a one piece bathing suit for the girls.

5 moms found this helpful

Oh my goodness, my 12 year old niece has the TINIEST bikini. So much so, I actually questioned what the hell my parents were thinking. I actually saw MEN staring at her and leering. It's not like she is a curvy, busty womanly looking tween. She looks every bit of a 12 year old, probably younger. Her bathing suit covered LESS then her underwear. I simply can't understand how a parent would WANT their young girl to have their body parts on display. I find it disgusting on all levels. Men are PIGS. Will they look at her even covered? Maybe, but their eyes will likely wander to another young girl who has more skin to see. At least, there wouldn't be parts to see, if they were covered. While I don't see these girls in a sexual way, I have noticed plenty of grown men who do.

I wish, I seriously wish...parents would have sense to teach their children modesty. Modesty does not have to mean covered head to toe, in draping clothing. You can still be stylish, cute, and have fun with bathing suits and clothing while being modest. People don't value modesty anymore, not even for their own children. It's incredibly sad, and explains SO many things about our society. Also, body comfort and confidence...has nothing to do with how little one is willing to wear. I find it sad we begin to equate love of our bodies, with how close to naked we are willing to be. Why do we tell tween girls (who already have all the body pressure in the world) to be comfortable, you should be OK with wearing something that barely (and often doesn't) cover your private parts.

4 moms found this helpful

I dont think it's unusual or inappropriate.
I was one of those girls back in the day.
6th grade, meh.
It's the 16 yr olds in bikinis that you need to worry about.

4 moms found this helpful

ohmygoodness I went to our local pool yesterday and there were middle schoolers running around all over the pool with their teensie bikinis and it seriously scares me. Simply because at that age a lot of children do not realize the impact it creates. They look just fine, but they are not always mature enough to handle comments or so on. I don't think you are being unreasonable, you are just concerned.

4 moms found this helpful

I don't think it is right. This is not teaching them any kind of modesty. When they are older they will likely want to wear clothes that are too old for them and too sexy. They will be used to showing this much skin and be comfortable with it.

I think it is important to teach modesty. My daughter was actually sent home one day from her job at a call center for not being dressed professionally. Her to was so low cut that it was below her low cut bra right in the middle of the front. Her top was a bit see through too. I don't remember what else she had on but I thought it looked more like what someone would wear out to a club when they wanted to pick up someone for a one night stand.

She had no idea what was wrong with her clothes. I do have to say that she worked most of her life as a stripper so even the fact that she had on clothing was a plus...lol.

She learned a lot in rehab about dressing and how to act in the real world. I am so proud of her now. She is an awesome daughter.

I know more about parenting now and her daughter that lives with me will never have a bikini until she is old enough to be on her won and buy it for herself. It won't be work while she is under 18 and living in the house. Once she is going to college or living on her own she can wear what she is comfortable with.

3 moms found this helpful

I remember the lunch when we as a group found out that our students were in our school pool taking the mandatory swim component of gym class in skimpy bikinis. And we have these epic battles about the dress code during all of the other classes! (High school level) I was surprised.

I wore a bikini. I always had triangle tops because that type suited my body shape best and the ties made the top stay in place best for me. I found the bandeau style fell off when I dove. Is the bathing suit for swimming or tanning or both? Let that help guide the purchase.

My friends wore bikinis, too. Going to the restroom is so much easier.

If your daughter decides that she would like to try a bikini, (maybe she like being in her tankini, for all you know), shop with her to find one that isn't a Victoria Secret hardly-there style.

It'll be fine.

3 moms found this helpful

I think a two piece is okay, but I think bikinis are not. I just look for swim suits that have a fairly good coverage. My dd is very small for her age and has not hit puberty yet. The hard part about 2 pieces is that the bottoms are always too big. I usually have to take in the waist so they don't fall down. I don't worry too much yet, but when she starts to blossom, I will probably have the same rules

3 moms found this helpful

So actually these girls are now 7th graders 13 and 14?

We wore bikinis back in the day at this age..

I think you are just not used to this. I have seen many middle schoolers in bikinis.
If you do not want your daughter to wear one, do not purchase one for her.

Our daughter never cared for them, but the majority of her friends have worn them since middle school unless they were life guarding or on the swim team. Some of those swim team one piece things really do not leave anything to the imagination at all either.

3 moms found this helpful

I don't see anything wrong with it. I have never worn a 1 piece (except for when I was on the swim team). I can't stand the feeling of a 1 piece or even a tankini. My 7 year old also wears a bikini

3 moms found this helpful

I think when you say no to bikinis it's putting all the BS on the child. Bikinis are more comfortable in my opinion, they dry faster and it feels good at the beach or pool to have less on.

Grown men leer at my daughter no matter what she has on and I find it sad and pretty gross. She is only 13, could be wearing sweats and a t-shirt but still gets looks from "old" guys.

I think location and event is everything. We do not wear short shorts to the mall, we do not wear jeans and uggs to a nice event. The beach and pool is for wearing less, feeling the sun and water on your body and if other people can't handled your hottness without staring then that is a lesson girls have to learn eventually as well.

You can't keep them covered forever and dealing with men (the good bad & ugly) is a fact of life for all girls. I say let them wear the bikini if that's what's confortable for them but keep those lines of communication open.

3 moms found this helpful

My daughter is 10 and I let her wear a tankini. I don't think she'll ever be wearing a full bikini.

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter has to have a one piece for church camp and for middle school PE, so that is the only kind I will buy her for now. I'm not going to fork out money for two different swim suits only because she wants a two piece.

2 moms found this helpful

I think it is ONLY up to the parents of each girl to decide what their daughter can wear. This question has come up before and gets so many judgmental answers. I don't want to tell anyone else what their children should wear and I certainly don't want anyone judging the decisions I make for and with my daughter. I have a 10 year old. We decide together what clothes and swimsuits she owns and wears. Neither of us go to the beach or the pool naked, that's all anyone needs to know or care about.

2 moms found this helpful

I think little girls do not need triangle or bandeau tops. Tankinis, even if they don't go all the way to the bottoms, are fine. My SD found out the hard way that going tubing in a binkini (she was 15) is not the best idea.

Keep focused on your kid and remind her that just because "everybody" is doing x, it doesn't mean she should or could.

2 moms found this helpful

I don't have an older daughter yet (but have no plans on allowing a bikini)..... What i don't understand how those suits even stay on someone with nothing to old them in place. I don't think they are practical for water parks or swimming parties. I couldn't believe how many I saw for water day at our school. M

2 moms found this helpful

No way would my 9 year old wear a bikini out in public, the child won't even wear shorts that dont come to her knees or darn close. I HOPE & PRAY she stays this way. She will even point out when she sees shorts that she thinks are too short. When she was younger my husband was very particular what she could wear and so we always bought age appropriate little girl type clothing especially since she was all legs, I think since we always have dressed her modestly its a way of life for her and what SHE prefers. I have even showed her cute shorts and skirts and she will tell me they are too short. :)

2 moms found this helpful

I think it's fine, as long as they are using sunscreen. I wish I had been confident enough to wear a bikini back in the day when I could have pulled it off.

2 moms found this helpful

I probably wouldn't care if it was a bikini, as long as it wasn't just a few strings and some stratigically placed triangles. My daughter is almost 5 and this is her first summer wearing a 2-piece swim suit, but it's a tankini, and there is more coverage of her torso than just a bikini top - the bottoms are no different than a 1 piece. It's a lot easier for going to the bathroom to just pull wet bottoms up and down than an entire wet suit. I've known girls of middle-school age and under that have worn bikinis, but the tops are more like sport-bra type tops and the bottoms are like "boy shorts" and I don't think those are a big deal either.

You can only control what your own daughter wears, and there are many options inbetween 1-piece swim suit and barely-there bikini. If there are parents out there that don't see it as an issue, or not willing to take a stand with their daughters over what they will allow and what they won't, I don't know if there is much you can say - espeically if the swim party is not taking place on school grounds.

2 moms found this helpful

I don't like it either...seems so young! Even when my girls are older, I will really urge them to err on the side of modesty.

2 moms found this helpful

Having a 15 year old I totally get what your saying. We try to develop modesty in our daughters( a lost virtue in our culture). My little girls have tankinis and one pieces. My 15 year old has one bikini but we agreed it was for using with the girlfriends in our swimming pool or at their houses. She has a couple of 1 piece for going to the beach or when she's hanging around guy friends . This is out of respect for the boys and her self. In fact one really fine young man who likes my daughter and my daughter likes him, asked her what she would be wearing to the beach. She planned on a one piece. He breathed a sigh of relief said "good ,because otherwise I wasn't going to go. I don't want to have to see to you that way". This scored major points with me. Through my daughter I am learning this young mans battle to keep this mind pure and not have desires stirred that he's not ready for. Our culture is becoming very desensitized to how immodest women and girls are dressing. So I try to find a balance ,every girl wants to wear a bikini. Just make good decisions about where you wear it. Probably not the 6th grade swim party.

2 moms found this helpful

We had different suites... the backyard suites are aloud to be bikinis (not string though) - my 8 yr old has 2, but she also has a one pc for the public pool & to wear to friends houses. My baby (7 mo. old) wears a oneis at public pools w/ a swimmer. Now my 17 yr old does wear a bikini & has for about 2 years - but she was in high school before she could wear a bikini in public.

With that being said - momma does follow the rule too... momma has backyard bikinis & a public takini (only reason is they are easier to find one at fits me right) that covers the belly.

I don't understand why so many people want to show everything they have (or don't have) off? But I have been told I am "old school" and "out of date"... maybe I am, but I just don't like seeing kids dressed as adults - that is why so many men/boys think of our girls as adults & expect them to do things they shouldn't be doing so young.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, I think its in appropriate.
But have you flown on a commercial airline lately? If you have to step into the x-ray scanner at the airport you are standing there "naked" in front of whoever is watching the screen. Many years ago, when security screening was first started, I predicted that someday we would have to get naked to get on a plane. That day has arrived.

If you search the internet for a european beach, especially at the mediterranean sea, you are apt to find a clothing optional beach as you are a bathing suit required beach.

Modesty used to be the norm, but then again, marriage was considered the only way non-related men and women lived under the same roof and homosexuality was a psychotic disorder.

At least they are still wearing bathing suits and the girls weren't topless (yet).

Good luck to you and yours.

2 moms found this helpful

I remember being in high school and my swimsuit for swimming was a 1 piece. I didn't have a bikini for home use until I was 15. A few weeks ago I went shopping for a bathing suit for DD. I couldn't find a 1 piece for her! She's only 18 months old!! There were bikinis everywhere. FOR BABIES!!! So I bought her the most modest looking tankini there and Jean shorts to go over the bottoms that didn't cover As i would have liked. I won't be allowing my daughters to were a bikini until they are at least in high school. Andi wouldn't let them wear it to school for any reason. I would assume there would be a dresscode in place.

1 mom found this helpful

I just bought my 4yo a bikini, never thought I would, I don't like them for kids, but she is fully covered, except stomach, I got it at old navy, its real cute, girly, and fashion forward with out looking provacative. But I have seen some at Walmart last week, where it was 2 triangle covering the nipples... I mean really... So I know what you mean, the one I got today has a huge band across the chest one spaghetti strap and one big ruffled strap... It's super cute tho.

1 mom found this helpful

I so agree with you. I have a 17 year old daughter who has been wearing these skimpy bikinis for a very long time. I hate it, but if I bought her a nice swimsuit, she would not wear it and throw a major fit about it. These stores market these clothes to the kids, very successfully. My daughter will not buy her bikini anywhere but Victoria's Secret which costs a mint. There are so many cute, modest swimsuits and separates out there. I oughta know--I recently bought myself two of them. However, most of these kids only go by a certain brand that their friends like.

1 mom found this helpful

Interesting thread. I agree with those that said it is more about motivation/mindset. I'm with you and not looking forward to one day making this decision myself!

1 mom found this helpful

My mum never saw the point of toddlers & little girls in bikinis... Until we grew up. Why? Because our friends wore them as a matter of course. As they always had. But her girls? We were too body shy. Which is especially Funny, because i did the model thing (aka naked as a jaybird in front of strangers all the time). But swiming, parties, etc.? I wore a 1 piece. So now... Her opinion is completely reversed. I also happen to agree with her. Being comfortable with your body is a learned and practiced thing.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter has more bathing suits than my boys mostly because her size doesnt change as often as theirs, she can get 3 years out of her suits and the boys typically get 2.

I think she has maybe 2 one pieces, and the rest are bikini's, she will be 9 on Thursday. I see nothing wrong with bikini's, BUT, we don't do the itty bitty ones like you are describing. No strings on the bottom (though she has a couple that are tied halter tops) and none are inappropriate. She also has a few tankini's.

My opinion is that if it's not too revealing its okay. I have a 17 year old daughter and she has only worn bikinis. Since she is 17 now, her bikinis are pretty revealing. When she was younge, her bikinis wern't as revealing. Now that she is older, i let her pick out her own bathing suits. It is really hard to watch young boys and men look at my daughter andd flirt with her, but she is 17. I hope this helps!

Cheers!
~N.

Funny thing is I think teeny bikini's are fine on younger girls who haven't really developed yet... Then it's just a bathing suit. I've seen the cutest "skimpy" suit on little girls and I think nothing of it but not sure what they're showing off... I thnk it's more inappropriate for a well endowed 17 year old to parade around a family-type pool setting in a string bikini. I look back and pictures and I wore super short shorts and triangle top bikini's as a young girl and we thought nothing of it at the time. It was the style and there was nothing sexual about it. Bikini's are way easier than a full piece when you have to go to the bathroom and they were cute. I almost think we're overcompensating in some ways when we say it's indecent for a tween or young kid to wear short short or a string bikini. I object to the skimpy tank tops a teenage girl will wear out to dinner with lots of cleavage etc. That to me is more of the issue.

I agree it is inappropriate, however, fighting it often makes it worse.

When my daughter was old enough to express a preference, I let her pick put her own clothes, including swimsuits. She liked bikinis, and I had no problem with it.

I can see why melanoma is on the rise.
There's this photo of a truck driver who never wore sunscreen who has 1/2 of his face that is showing a major difference in wrinkles and drooping due to sun / UV damage.
I mean MAJOR - like 1/2 of his face looks 45 and the other half looks like 75.
Every bikini sold should have that guys picture on a warning label attached to it.
I guess it would do no good.
The young never think it will happen to them and their parents are too worried about fashion and/or pleasing the kids to say no.
In some instances allowing a child to sun burn is a case for child neglect.

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