The following is my opinion, the standards we have chosen for our daughter. If your choice differs from mine, let me start by saying I in no way judge you and the choices you make. Every parent is free to decide what is best for their own children. If our opinions are very different, though, I would challenge you to read this with an open heart.
Matt and I have made the decision that we will not allow Snapper to wear 2-piece bathing suits. We will also not allow any 1-piece suits that have the sides cut out, have low-cut fronts, or any sort of mesh material on them. When she tries on a suit, it needs to fit comfortably--not baggy at all, and securely fitting in the armpits and behind. At first she complained that there were no cute bathing suits that met our standards. She also didn't understand why we had the standards in the first place.
Here is what we told her.
1. A bathing suit is meant to allow her to be comfortable in the water.
2. There are parts of her body that are private, and should be kept covered.
3. There are other parts of her body that while not necessarily private, draw unnecessary attention when they are uncovered.
4. She is a little girl. We want other people to see her as a little girl, not as a miniature adult.
5. When she is a pre-teen and in her teenage years, we will discuss with her how men and boys think, and of how we want them to be more focused on her as a person than on her body.
Snapper seemed to get it, and even helped me by telling me how the suits felt on her as she was trying them on. In the end, we were able to find a very sweet bathing suit. It is a rainbow print that she loves, covers her nicely, is age-appropriate, and fits her to perfection.
Each day at the pool, I am concerned at the message parents are unconsciously sending to their little girls when they allow them to wear suits like this. And yes, this is a children's suit. It is available in sizes 4-16 from a store I will leave undisclosed.
In and of itself, this suit seems cute. But when it is on the body of a 9-year-old, what kind of message does it send? Really, sweet mamas and dads, do you want your little girl radiating sexy? There are so many sick people in the world who would get a thrill out of seeing a little girl in a suit like this. Yes, I'm being very frank. But the truth is that there are all sorts of twisted minds out there, often closer to home than you know.
See how cute this suit is, without sending a sexy vibe. This one would have come home with us, but the leg openings were too loose on my skinny girl.
We have chosen to draw the line now, when our girl is still unconditionally trusting of us. Lord-willing, it will make the transition to the teen years easier, because our standard has been the same from the beginning. It is one thing to see a little one running around in a bikini, but picture your 15-year-old in this, and tell me the boys in her life are not going to struggle in their thoughts about her.
Wouldn't something like this be more helpful in presenting your daughter as a young lady of high standards?
Again, my purpose here is not to be judgmental--every parent needs to do what is best for their children. Just want to challenge you to think twice as you do your swimwear shopping for this summer.