So How About Skimpy Bikinis on 13-Year-olds. with Boys Around?

Updated on March 11, 2013
J.B. asks from Boston, MA
30 answers

Jumping off on the little girls in bikinis...what's the collective opinion on big girls in bikinis? I took my 13-yo step daughter swimsuit shopping this year and vetoed just about everything she pulled off the racks. Leave it to Mudd to make even boy shorts look skankier than a regular swimsuit bottom (if I can see the crease of your bum, it's not long enough!). I told her that she could wear either a regular-cut tankini bottom or a modest boy short (not hooters/daisy duke boy shorts) and for tops around the house and at pool parties, a tankini top that comes to the waist. I did allow her to get a bikini top to wear when she's just with her girl friends and it's very modest - not a triangle top. She agreed that at home, especially with her three brothers (13, 7, & 5) and my son's 13-year-old guy friends around, she wants to be able to be comfortable and somewhat modest and not worry about falling out of her suit or having people ogle her.

But her girlfriends are another story...I can't believe what these girls wear! String bikinis (literally - triangle tops AND bottoms) are just so gross to me, especially at this age. Some of the girls I don't know very well. But for the ones whose moms I do know pretty well, should I maybe give them a gentle reminder that more often than not there are 13-year-old boys here as well and they might want their daughters to pack something more modest when they come to swim here? The boys are definitely not rude or inappropriate, but I do see them struggle to not look too much when their classmates' cleavage and butts are right there in their faces. And the girls are no fools - the ones who have great figures know it and flaunt it, being extra slow to walk, and little more swing in the hips, doing that stance where butt and boobs are pushed out, etc. It would be comical if it weren't my kids ;-)

So am I just being prude? If you are a mom who thinks the string bikini on a 13 year old is cute and sassy, would you be offended if someone suggested that your daughter cover up a bit around the boys? Or is it a losing battle?

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Honestly do none of you remember being 13? If you could get a way with a bikini you did, It is a losing battle but if it really bothers you Yes you could tell them to cover up but they wont. You have a pool expect skin. I am 40 and I still wear bikini's yes the triagle top tie on the side bikini.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

What there are such things as bikini's? I have never heard of such a thing! This will be my response until my daughter is thirty. While I am buying her suits/clothes then she will dress modestly.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

I have a 14 year old (& 10 & 7) daughter and a 16 yo son. All my girls have bikini's, I let them chose to wear or not. I tell my 14 yo if I think something is too small, inappropriate. I would be kind of mad is someone told my daughter she was invited over to swim but must dress modestly, that imply's that she doesn't. My 14 is pretty much totally unaware of how her body might look to boys- she does not flaunt. Anyway to answer the question yes i would be offended.

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answers from San Francisco on

Um, I was a child in the 70s and a teen in the 80s. Bikinis were pretty much the norm, they actually haven't changed that much over the years.
I think a lot of you moms have forgotten what it's like to be a teenage girl ;)

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I'm going to agree with 3boysandme on this one. I didn't wear a bikini at 13 but I wanted to. I was a country girl and a bit sheltered, but I got a bikini as soon as I could. I just wore a bikini to the beach with my daughter yesterday (I'm 50). She is 9 and is most comfortable in a tankini as she still has a young girl, a little chubby around the middle, shape. When and if she wants to wear a bikini I'll help her find the most flattering one for her.

There were a lot of young teens at the beach yesterday, and most of the girls were wearing bikinis. And yes, there was a bit of the flirty stuff going on. What would you expect from a group young teens?? Of course, they're going to practice their moves in front of each other, that's what the teenage years are for! The girls giggle and pose and shake their hair a bit and the boys splash them and try to throw them off the diving platform!! Then they have some ice cream and they all go home. This has been going on for generations.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Well, to each his own, I guess.

My daughter has worn a bikini since birth. She's 14 this year. Last week we bought her a Nike athletic style, it's not about fashion, it's about strength, but it is pretty skimpy.

Man when she puts it on she is gorgeous, athletic, smart, strong girl who is proud of who she is. It is not about sex, sorry.

It's in the eye of the beholder I suppose like any other thing, I think we are a sex (or lack there of) obsessed society if we see this kind of thing as dirty.

I can assure you no one who sees my daughter in her Nike bikini would ever think she was 'EASY'. Have you seen what the olympic track runners where?


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Sorry - it's all a bit too 'Brave New World' for me
(where sex is a social activity, rather than a means of reproduction and sex is encouraged from early childhood).

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I with you on a 13 year old needs coverage and a string bikini isn't going to provide it. I do buy my 2 year old tankinis though because it's easier with potty training, but even then her belly is covered.

That being said, I don't think it's your place to tell someone else what their child should wear. Personally, I would be pissed if someone questioned the way I dressed my daughter.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Haven't read the other answers yet but my daughter is 11 years old. She is 5'3" and weighs about 115. She wears maybe a size 4-6 clothes. She wears a 34C bra (yes, you read that right). She is the size and shape of a small adult woman. She wears either one piece bathing suits or tankinis - period. Everything needs to be covered with nothing sticking out. There is no reason (in my humble opinion) to show all the goodies. I think it's disgusting how people allow their teen agers to prance around in little more than a few inches of fabric. Sorry if I offend anyone, but what are our daughters advertising?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

No are Definitly NOT being a prude! You wouldn't hafta worry about me allowing MY daughter wearing that around but sadly, what's even MORE sick is even younger girls, younger than 10 even, being allowed to wear skimpy suits like that! Even as young as 3! I too think it's disgusting & appalling to see a young girl wearing such a revealing outfit! I just wanna go to the mom's & say "What's WRONG w/you!!" but alas, we can't good judgement into everyone's brain. I think even 15 is too young...I'd prefer seeing regular bikinis on high school girls over 17 & I think tankinis are fine on younger than 17. It's still a comfortable two piece but also me that's age appropriate. You're doing right! It's wonderful to see a concerned & conservative mom! Way to go! You're not only doing the right thing but also teaching your daughter modesty & the right time to wear such things. So again, NO you are NOT being prudish. I wished more mom's think like we do. Best wishes.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I value the worth of women. I feel like bikinis are a way to make them look more like a slab of meat than a woman. I get it if you're in a relationship and are wearing it for your guy or something. But there is absolutely no way on this blue planet that my 13 yr old would wear a bikini. While living in my house - no bikinis. Do I think people are bad who wear them? No. I just have a very strong opinion about it and how I feel like it's degrading to a degree. I didn't wear them as a teen or in my 20's, even when my body was pre-baby and looked really good! I believe in modesty and feeling comfortable in a swim suit...not to mention being safe while under the hot sun. freakin' way would I have my child wear a bikini or allow it.

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answers from Dallas on

As the mother of two boys, I really don't appreciate girls dressing like that. And I do not understand why anyone wants to. Having some guy go ga-ga over you is not a compliment.
With younger girls, you never know who around them might be a pervert.
I'm 56 with a great looking body, but it is for my husband's eyes only.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

I agree, I don't let my daughter (6) even wear a bikini. Her cousins do, but I don't think its nessesary at this age. I will feel the same when she is 13. A bathing suit is meant for swiming and a modest suit does the same for swimming as a teeny tiny bikini.

My husband and I were talking about this just yesterday. We got in a debate as to weather a mom should waltz around in a string bikini while kids are around. I don't think so. I have one for weekends away with hubby, but I don't wear it when we are with the kids...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Ever hear the phrase, "Your actions are speaking so loud, I can't hear what you're saying"?

Girls learn to be women by watching their mom and by watching the way their mom is treated by their dad. My girls didn't wear anything but one piece suits until they were married. But I had to answer a lot of questions when the next door neighbor was sunning with her bikini top undone, fell asleep and turned on her side. I was working in my garden, when I heard my neighbors kids playing and splashing in their pool. I didn't pay any attention. But when they were still playing when the dad came home, I heard his daughters' (14 & 16) friends say, "Hurry, her dad is home." He apparently saw more than he wanted to because he chastised all of them for not wearing all of their bikinis all the time and sent his daughter's girl friends home.

Movies and TV suggest the sexiest girls/women are the ones showing the most skin.

Moms decide how modest the daughters dress, by their actions and words. But the actions speak louder than the words. "Do as I say, not as I do" doesn't work. If you live with your boyfriend instead of your husband, you are sending your daughter a message.

Good luck to you and yours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I really think it depends on the style. While I don't mind my daughter's wearing a two piece (they have two tankini's and a bikini between them) I do go for the more modest of those models. One of my daughter's can't stand to have her belly out so she wears the tankini or a one piece (of which they have several to choose from) and the other one couldn't care but I won't let her wear the bikini because although it's a modest one and it's technically her size it doesn't fit her right because she's so darn skinny. A smaller bikini (but not a string!) for at least a 16 yo would be ok although no preferably. I'd say definitely no to a string bikini for anyone younger, especially a 13 yo.They're old enough to start realizing what they're bodies can do to the boys but they're certainly not mature enough to really think about it properly or handle any consequences. That is not of course to excuse the boys. They need just as much guidance. But our industry has sexualized everything and it's making it much harder for the kids to really understand or where to draw the line. While I'm not a prude and our bodies shouldn't necessarily be hidden away, there is a time and place for everything. In other countries, people think nothing of swimming nude, even whole families together. I'm of that mindset BUT not here in the US just because of how sexualized the children's clothing has become. We complain of the high number of pedophiles in our country but we dress our children as mini adults and wonder why. I think it's time for people to remember just how sexy (for an adult of course) a beautifully cut one piece can actually be and that we don't need to display everything all the time.

This makes me think of a laundry detergent ad I saw recently. (I can't remember the brand.) A father had really dirty oily hands, saw a super tiny skirt belonging to his adolescent daughter and used it to wipe his hands hoping to ruin the skirt. The daughter finds it, takes it to her mom whom of course washed it and magically returns it to it's former pristine self. It ends with the daughter wearing it and a small top, showing off to a horrified father and an approving mother. Ugh.... Even my husband, who likes it when I wear skimpy clothing around him (but only him), commented that it was in bad taste. He works at the local University and he's forever coming home and complaining about what half of the students are now wearing. >.<

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I had a string bikini at that age. But I mainly only wore it in the hottub, laying out and occasionally at the beach (we visited 1x). But it was just me, family and girlfriends. I was not small nor big. I guess it depends on the situation. Some moms think their girls look cute in those, I guess, and don't see how they can be eye candy for all the boys with all those hormones raging! Since you have the pool, what about getting a few suits on clearance or cheap that cover them up more and if/when they are over, ask if they want to wear them instead so they don't 'fall out' in front of the boys. If the girls are really out and strutting their stuff they will say no, but it's worth a try!

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answers from Dallas on

I think its good to teach your daughter some modesty. However, don't meddle in the other kids' parents' choices for their kids, that's not your responsibility.

I do agree with you- not MY daughter!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Whether or not you're being prude, if these girls are guests in your home and you have a 13 year old boy, I think it's totally fair of you to say something to the girls' mothers. I'd maybe make a comment about how fast the girls are growing up and "Sally" is just beautiful. But I have noticed that all these girls in bikini's is a bit hard on "John". Maybe when Sally comes over she could wear a different suit." If the mom doesn't understand, she's an idiot. In general though, I wonder if it was that different when we were kids but we didn't sexualize everything back then. I wore a bikini bc it was cute. Lots of girls did. And in no way was I "fast". I'm not sure but I wonder if now we're the moms so are worried about all this while our mothers were too but we were of course oblivious. I remember short shorts being in style so that's what I wore. I didn't really think about it. I have two girls and of course want them to be modest but I'm not sure I'll ban bikini's. Of course, that's at the pool or beach. I was at a pizza place this weekend at around 7pm and it was cold and two teenage very well endowed girls came in in their bikini tops and it was ridiculous...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think that they'll market anything (thongs for little girls, even) and it is up to the parents to fight the fight of good taste. While we don't win every battle with my SD, it also helps to express to her WHY we feel x or y is appropriate. There was one year when we went to a lake and she had a fairly wide bandeau top and didn't want to wear the strap. We said not on the boat. She slipped the strap off when she was tubing and when she bounced out she almost lost her top. She listed to us after that. She was 15 at the time.

If you want to set limits per your household, it wouldn't hurt to ask them to wear something more appropriate around your sons. Your pool, your rules.

There are fine lines when it comes to clothing, but if you allow your child to wear a skimpy suit, then you need to accept that someone is likely thinking inappropriate or unflattering things about your child. I allow my daughter to wear a tankini simply because 2 pieces is easier for diaper changes, but they are and will be tankinis with length until she is much older and a bikini is appropriate.

I remember being 13. And I remember my mother putting her foot down about what I wore.

I think better than buying suits on clearance, buy plain, huge tshirts and have anyone in a tiny suit wear one in your pool. Michael's sells them regularly for $5 or less in colors.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I love bikinis. At 13 I had one that I hardly ever wore because when I dive into the pool I would lose the bottoms and that annoyed the [email protected] outta me. However my daughter has always had a bikini since she was a baby. They are just easier to get on and off when wet. Kids are great about jumping into the pool and then having to go potty and with a bikini it makes it easier. Now my daughter is 11 and she has boy shorts and a tankini that shows about 2-3 inches of her belly. I and she is comfortable with this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I allowed my daughter to pick out her own swim suits. She knew she looked damn good in a bikini and she rocked that puppy. Guys who crossed the line with crass verbiage and unwanted attention got shot down quickly. And anyone who dared to put his hands on her without permission put himself at risk of grievous bodily harm.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I am very upset with all the girls (toddlers up to 18 years old) wearing bikinis and other skanky clothing. I don't see how parents can ever be ok with this. You are showing off your child like a peice of sexual meat to any who are close enough to see them and whom can very easily take pictures of them.

I feel the same way about stilettos and other prostitute high heels... why are these parents setting their children up to be sexually attacked, oogled, used and cause psychological issues in their girl children?

If your daughter looks 'damn good' or is able to 'rock that bathing suit' - she can just as easily do so in a one piece swimsuit. No need to give everyone wet dreams of screwing your child - regardless of the age of the child since we have all kinds walking this world. You would never know if someone isn't thinking wet dreams of your 3 year old wearing that bikini to the beach.

I should say - this is coming from a very sexual positive feminist - as in, I'm all for women being sexually active when they feel ready, pro-choice, aware that for some women they feel they aren't worth anything but the body they can sell... doesn't make it right - but children should expect to have certain rules that are instilled and enforced by their parents.

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answers from Seattle on

Bleh...I just hate bikinis in general. I have a very young daughter (6 months) and I told my husband that she will never be wearing a bikini. There is no reason too! There are plenty of modest swimsuits that are super cute out there, no need to be showing off what you don't have or think you have.
As for your house. I totally get what you are saying about your son and the other 13 year old boys. I would say something to the mothers. "hey, Julie likes to come to the house and prance around in her cute bikini. As lovely as that is I was wondering if we could throw some shorts on her or maybe a takini. We got raging hormones at my house!" And leave it at that.
I have told my husband that if my sons bring over a girl that is scantily clad I would run to the bedroom and bring her out one of my husband's shirts. Your house, your rules. You don't like what they are wearing then they don't need to be swimming at your place. Maybe you could get a sign. "No bikinis in this pool"


answers from Houston on

No, I was not allowed to wear bikinis and I still choose not too... even though, I know I would look great in one. I prefer not to showcase my goods off, and a preteen sure has enough self esteem and popularity issues than to worry about trying to look sexy in a little bikini.

Trust me, those moms know their daughters are dressed like that. They probably think they little girls look 'cute' and are proud of it. *gross*



answers from Provo on

It is really yucky to see how the modeling and tv industry takes these young girls and makes them grow up way to fast. My daughter would never wear a swimming suit because they are too skimpy. I think a lot of little girls think they need to be big girls and they do not realize what kind of trouble they are starting. A lot of times I think that little girls need to be taught that people like you for who you are and if they like you for other reasons then they are not really your friend.



answers from Cleveland on

I"m still not sure about the bikini. I would want to feel like i could wear a bikini but i feel i've been so morphed to think i am this ugly blob that if i were young and cute and could do it all over, i would want to flaunt it--a little. but i do think it is respectful for you to remind the other parents about the boys.


answers from Hartford on

My girls are allowed to choose bathing suits with my guidance and approval. Everything must be covered and nothing may look "sexy." My eldest is 10 years old and is still very modest and would be horrified to wear anything skimpy. She has a top piece that has triangle front that ties up at the neck and has a "skirt like" piece falling at the bottom. The bottoms are boy shorts with good coverage. My two younger daughters (8 and 6) still like one pieces and my 8 year old wants one of those old style bathing suits that has sleeves and shorts. She thinks they're cute.



answers from Boston on

I dont think you are being prude. I have a 14 year old neice and my sister (her mom) struggles with issue as well. I think 13 is too young for skimpy bikinis. When they are 18 and can pay for the suit, they can wear what they want! However, I don't think that you can suggest to other moms what their kids should be wearing without offending them. I think its a losing battle. When it comes to your own children, you make the rules. However, when its other people kids they get to make the rules whether you agree with them or not.



answers from Springfield on

I think in your home it's your rules. It's not like you're trying to dictate what these other kids can wear down at the town's public swim spots. Next week it might be friends of your son wearing shirts with swear words or misogynistic suggestions (my personal fave proclaims "jump 'em, hump 'em, dump 'em" around a drawing of a female bent over in a thong bikini...ugh) that would be inappropriate. You should feel perfectly comfortable saying "hey, in this house we don't wear stuff like that - please turn it inside out while you're here". These are your guests, and they need to respect your home.
I'd address appropriate apparel in your home directly with your guests. Just add it in to the list of rules you go over with them - no dunking in the pool, no swimming without an adult present, no bikinis, etc. If someone doesn't have a decent suit, I love the idea of having some big t-shirts for them to throw on. They'll definitely remember for the next visit!
As for the parents, some of them may not even know what their kids are wearing. I clearly remember (at 14) sneaking my older sister's triangle bikinis out of the house wrapped up in my towel and changing into them once at the beach. I SO wanted the boys to look at me, I recall practicing the hip swinging sexy walk at home in my mirror *cringe* I had no real concept of what I was projecting, actual sex wasn't even on my radar yet. Fortunately someone called my mom and let her know what I was up to, and that was the end of that! Today, sadly your useful info might not be appreciated, but you can at least address it with your visitors. If some of them don't come back - your daughter is probably better off!



answers from Washington DC on

I think if shes got why not flaunt it girls should not be made to feel insecure about their bodies because of boys. Boys should learn to controll their thoughts and learn to admire the female form in a respectfull way

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