20 May
Hey, Mom of Daughter’s Best Friend: What’s With the Bikini?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My 10 year daughter is best friends with a girl whose mother’s parenting style is very different from mine.  She allows her daughter to watch PG-13 movies and to wear clothing that I consider inappropriate. Last summer my daughter asked for a bikini like the one her friend wears instead of a one-piece that I bought for her.  I explained that different families have different rules, but I wonder if I should speak to the mom.  We are on friendly terms, and I wonder if sharing my concerns with her would make her rethink some of her choices.

Signed,

NoBikini Mom

_______________________________________________

Dear NoBikini Mom,

Before I get to the larger issue, I want cross the easy part of this off my list.

One piece bathing suits (scientific name maillot) can be uncomfortable. What they offer in modesty they make up in sheer wetness all over the stomach area once you’re out of the pool. That does not mean that your daughter needs to wear a thong bikini, but you should know that there are a lot of age-appropriate options out there. 

Now onto the bigger issue. You know that your parenting style is different from the other mom’s. Your daughters are best friends despite (or maybe because?) of these differences. You took the important step of telling your daughter honestly that each family’s rules are different and now you are wondering if you should share your views with the other mom.  And here’s my answer.  Yes. And also, no.

Yes, because you are friendly and people who are on friendly terms and whose children are best friends should discuss issues that concern their children. Sharing ideas is important and can be eye-opening for each of you.

No, because you seem to want to win her over to your way of thinking. If your goal in having this discussion with her is to have her fall to her knees and start repenting for parenting her kid in way that is inconsistent with your philosophy, I suggest you refrain. (Or if you choose to proceed, give Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise a heads up. They need 24 hours to get the camera crews ready.)  Because the judgey talk of “my way is better than your way” has never improved a relationship.

Chances are the other mom already knows how you feel about the various issues, and perhaps she is taking the Agree to Disagree route on this one.

And when it comes to parenting our kids, there is nothing wrong with that.

Best of luck,

Marinka, TMH

9 Responses to “Hey, Mom of Daughter’s Best Friend: What’s With the Bikini?”

05.20.13#1

Comment by Betty Herbert.

I agree completely. She’s making slightly different choices to you: let her. It’s not easy to keep explaining to kids why your rules are different to other people’s rules, but you can’t solve the problem by asking other parents to change. In fact, it’s maybe a good opportunity to explain why you think the way you do.
(I’m a swimsuit wearer too: stuff the soggy middle, I like FULL coverage. Preferably down to the knees).

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05.20.13#2

Comment by N and Em's mom.

Dear Mouthy Housewives:

The mother of my daughter’s best friend is really uptight. She dresses her daughter like a Duggar’s kid and won’t let her watch any PG13 movies like The Harry Potter series or Pirates of the Caribbean (rated PG13). BTW the kids are 13. Should I talk to her?

On a serious note, it’s good for kids to see that there are different ways of doing things, not right or wrong, just different. When my kids were younger some of their friends were not allowed to watch PG13 or R rated movies. There are enough great movies that it was never an issue. I will respect your guidelines, and when your child is a guest in my home, I will be a good hostess and not make them feel uncomfortable by showing a movie that is more than PG. But I draw the line at a judgy McJudgy conversation about what I am doing wrong.

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05.20.13#3

Comment by Steph.

I agree with Marinka. If the goal is to change the other mom, then that will almost certainly be an awkward conversation. I buy tankinis for my younger daughter because it is easier to go to the restroom.

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Karin W Reply:

My girls get tankinis too for the same reason! Sometimes they get bikinis as well but we always wear swimshirts so that we don’t get sunburned shoulders (can you tell how pasty white we are?) so they are often more covered than the girls in one piece swimsuits.

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05.20.13#4

Comment by StephanieG.

You answered your own question when you told your daughter that different families have different rules. You may not agree with that mom’s rules, but that’s the way she runs her family, and you don’t get a say in it.

Reverse the situation for a moment. Would you be hurt or angry if the other mom came to you and asked you to lower your standards because she thought they were too high? Yes, you probably would be. And you would have the right to be. Just as she would have the right bo be angry with you if you asked her to raise her standards.

With that said, you have every right to set your family’s rules the way you want to set them. If it’s not ok with you for your daughter to be in a bikini, you’ve got to stand your ground.

This will be one of many disagreements you have with the parent of your daughter’s friends over what is appropriate for your collective children in the years to come.

My best advice is to instill in your daughter what your family values are. As she gets older, the choice to follow your rules will become more hers and less yours, and unless you guys are singing from the same sheet of music, she may choose the other parents’ rules.

She needs to understand where you (and your partner, if there is one) are coming from in terms of modesty, behavior, and school expectations. The how and the why of your standards for her should become a part of who she is. Because as she begins to sprout wings and leave your nest, unless your values have become her values, then she is less likely to follow the path you have chosen for her.

I’m the mom of a 9-year old daughter, and I have the same struggles you have, so I hope you don’t think I’m preaching or judging here. I’m only telling you what my philosophy with my own child is.

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Desperate Dietwife Reply:

I sooooo agree with you!!!!

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05.20.13#5

Comment by N and Em's mom.

Another thought- if the friend is the youngest in the family, this can have a huge impact. My girls are 4 years apart. Keeping everything age appropriate for the younger child can be a challenge as they get older.

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Karin W Reply:

very true! My youngest (age 6) watches and does so much more than my oldest (now 11) did at his age. This can be an advantage for him too – he is in kindergarten and knows almost all of his multiplication facts since I’ve gone over them with both big sisters and he knows how to do the laundry although he’s too small to get the laundry out of the machine into the dryer. I pick different battles to fight with him than I did with my girls too – I’ve grown too!

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06.19.13#6

Comment by erica.

Similiar issue with the shorty-shorts. I stopped asking my ten year olds friend over because I was embarrassed about going out with the nice girl and the baby hooker.

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