Bathing Suit Season

Bathing Suit Season

Spring is the time of year when we receive an abundance of bathing suit magazines in the mail. Land’s End, Athleta, and Venus are a few that barrage our mailbox. It’s also the time of year when my oldest daughter and I discuss what type of bathing suits we will wear. This is hard. Really hard. Teenage girls are growing and changing, they are more aware of their bodies than ever before, and this provides the perfect opportunity to have healthy, intentional conversations about their bodies and their beauty.

This is not a post about how to tell your daughter she can’t wear a bikini. This is a post to discuss how we talk to our daughters about their bodies. In a culture of body shaming and comparing, early sexualization, and where pictures are tossed around digitally like waves in the ocean, we are called to empower them to make wise choices and guide them in what is true.

What we need to know about a girl’s development:

  1. Developmentally they are not able to distinguish between sexy and pretty. There is a direct relationship between focusing on being sexy and increased insecurity about their bodies.
  2. Self-objectification happens the more a girl wears clothes that are sexy in nature. This means they “internalize cultural pressures specific to appearance.” This causes their self worth to be based on how others view their appearance.
  3. Their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. This is the part of the brain responsible for rational, logical decision making as well as self-regulation. Emotions are often what drive decision making.
  4. Pack mentality: Our daughter’s view of what is pretty, and appropriate is often determined by what everyone else is wearing. This makes choosing wisely difficult if an entire culture or community is saying one thing and you are saying another.

How to talk to our girls:

Honestly: Our girls need us to speak the truth to them. Over and over. We speak of their beauty, of their value, of their abilities. Explain what it means to be sexy and how that differs from being externally beautiful. Point out various advertisements targeting their age and discuss the messages found within. Empower them to read the messages broadcast in culture. Compare those messages to what the Bible says about beauty and value. Help them have eyes to see.

With a Listening ear: Our girls need to be heard by us. This takes time. There may be awkward silence. There may be disagreement. Part of empowering our daughters means teaching them to have an assured voice. Listening to them will provide insight to their struggles and to the places from which they develop their opinions. What shuts our daughters down is a harsh mandate. Their emotions and their bodies are in transition and they need us as their number one fan. Rules without relationship equals rebellion. Our girls need a consistent, compassionate relationship with us. This will give us a trustworthy voice.

With Encouragement: Encouragement is different than flattery and trite words to make them feel good. To encourage someone is to give them support, confidence and hope. This is the privilege we have as parents and mentors. They are wired to find a source of hope from somewhere. Our culture offers hope and confidence from a sexy appearance. We can offer our daughters such a greater hope! We support them in their endeavors, we remind them of their confidence in Christ and we point them to eternal hope that is theirs. If they understand whose they are, choosing clothing wisely will be reflective of this reality.

Patiently: This is hard. One minute it may seem as if you are getting through to her and the next minute you want to pull your hair out. Remember, our girls are not able to fully rationalize their decisions. They look to their peers for what is true, and they are living in a time when self-objectification is the norm. We listen, we encourage, we speak honestly and then we do the same again. And again. We humble ourselves and remember our girls are of supreme value and worthy of any and all frustration.

Firmly: Our teenage daughters are not adults. We listen to them, we encourage them, and we are honest with them. However, the decision about what they wear is not theirs. It is ours. We may need to be their prefrontal cortex. Part of loving them is protecting them, even from their own desires. We have wisdom that comes from age and experience that they do not yet have. Parent them.

Truly this takes a community. Moms and mentors need to talk to other women in community. Commit to encourage your girls together. Mothers and other strong female mentors are still the primary influence in a young woman’s life. Model for them that our clothing reflects our dignity. It speaks to our how we view ourselves. Every year as bathing suit season approaches, my daughter and I watch a video by bathing suit designer, Jessica Rey. She is an articulate young women with a powerful message about clothing, bathing suits, and how we present the beauty that God has given. Her video can be found here:

We won’t always have the authority to guide them in what they wear. We direct them to what is true and lovely so they are empowered to choose confidently. May the clothing they choose reflect the supreme value we know they behold. May we have grace and patience to walk with them. May they know their infinite value comes from something much more profound than their appearance.  May they also know this value is beautifully reflected in how they present themselves!

Join My Mailing List

Want to receive my blog posts, or periodic news/updates in your inbox? Join my mailing list. Don't worry, your email address is never sold or shared.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Address Book Address Card adjust align-center align-justify align-left align-right ambulance American Sign Language Interpreting Anchor Angle Double Down Angle Double Left Angle Double Right Angle Double Up angle-down angle-left angle-right angle-up Archive Alternate Arrow Circle Down Alternate Arrow Circle Left Alternate Arrow Circle Right Alternate Arrow Circle Up Arrow Circle Down Arrow Circle Left Arrow Circle Right Arrow Circle Up arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up Alternate Arrows Alternate Arrows Horizontal Alternate Arrows Vertical Assistive Listening Systems asterisk At Audio Description backward Balance Scale ban Band-Aid barcode Bars Baseball Ball Basketball Ball Bath Battery Empty Battery Full Battery 1/2 Full Battery 1/4 Full Battery 3/4 Full Bed beer bell Bell Slash Bicycle Binoculars Birthday Cake Blind bold Lightning Bolt Bomb book bookmark Bowling Ball Box Boxes Braille Briefcase Bug Building bullhorn Bullseye Bus Calculator Calendar Alternate Calendar Calendar Check Calendar Minus Calendar Plus Calendar Times camera Retro Camera Car Caret Down Caret Left Caret Right Caret Square Down Caret Square Left Caret Square Right Caret Square Up Caret Up Shopping Cart Arrow Down Add to Shopping Cart certificate Area Chart Bar Chart Line Chart Pie Chart Check Check Circle Check Square Chess Chess Bishop Chess Board Chess King Chess Knight Chess Pawn Chess Queen Chess Rook Chevron Circle Down Chevron Circle Left Chevron Circle Right Chevron Circle Up chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up Child Circle Circle Notched Clipboard Clipboard Check Clipboard List Clock Clone Closed Captioning Cloud Cloud Download Alternate Cloud Upload Alternate Code Code Branch Coffee cog cogs Columns comment Alternate Comment comments Compass Compress Copy Copyright Credit Card crop Crosshairs Cube Cubes Cut Database Deaf Desktop DNA Dollar Sign Dolly Dolly Flatbed Dot Circle Download Edit eject Horizontal Ellipsis Vertical Ellipsis Envelope Envelope Open Envelope Square eraser Euro Sign Alternate Exchange exclamation Exclamation Circle Exclamation Triangle Expand Alternate Expand Arrows Alternate External Link Alternate External Link Square Eye Eye Dropper Eye Slash fast-backward fast-forward Fax Female fighter-jet File Alternate File Archive File Audio File Code File Excel File Image File PDF File Powerpoint File Video File Word File Film Filter fire fire-extinguisher First Aid flag flag-checkered Flask Folder Folder Open font Football Ball forward Frown Futbol Gamepad Gavel Gem Genderless gift Martini Glass Globe Golf Ball Graduation Cap H Square Lizard (Hand) Paper (Hand) Peace (Hand) Hand Pointing Down Hand Pointing Left Hand Pointing Right Hand Pointing Up Pointer (Hand) Rock (Hand) Scissors (Hand) Spock (Hand) Handshake Hashtag HDD heading headphones Heart Heartbeat History Hockey Puck home hospital Hospital Symbol Hourglass Hourglass End Hourglass Half Hourglass Start I Beam Cursor Identification Badge Identification Card Image Images inbox Indent Industry Info Info Circle italic key Keyboard Language Laptop leaf Lemon Level Down Alternate Level Up Alternate Life Ring Lightbulb Link Turkish Lira Sign List List Alternate list-ol list-ul location-arrow lock Lock Open Alternate Long Arrow Down Alternate Long Arrow Left Alternate Long Arrow Right Alternate Long Arrow Up Low Vision magic magnet Male Map map-marker Map Marker Alternate Map Pin Map Signs Mars Mars Double Mars Stroke Mars Stroke Horizontal Mars Stroke Vertical medkit Meh Mercury Microchip microphone Microphone Slash minus Minus Circle Minus Square Mobile Phone Alternate Mobile Money Bill Alternate Moon Motorcycle Mouse Pointer Music Neuter Newspaper Object Group Object Ungroup Outdent Paint Brush Pallet Paper Plane Paperclip paragraph Paste pause Pause Circle Paw Pen Square Alternate Pencil Percent Phone Phone Square Phone Volume Pills plane play Play Circle Plug plus Plus Circle Plus Square Podcast Pound Sign Power Off print Puzzle Piece qrcode Question Question Circle Quidditch quote-left quote-right random Recycle Redo Alternate Redo Registered Trademark Reply reply-all Retweet road rocket rss RSS Square Ruble Sign Indian Rupee Sign Save Search Search Minus Search Plus Server Share Alternate Share Alternate Share Square Share Square Shekel Sign Alternate Shield Ship Shipping Fast Shopping Bag Shopping Basket shopping-cart Shower Alternate Sign In Sign Language Alternate Sign Out signal Sitemap Horizontal Sliders Smile Snowflake Sort Sort Alpha Down Sort Alpha Up Sort Amount Down Sort Amount Up Sort Down (Descending) Sort Numeric Down Sort Numeric Up Sort Up (Ascending) Space Shuttle Spinner Square Square Full Star star-half step-backward step-forward Stethoscope Sticky Note stop Stop Circle Stopwatch Street View Strikethrough subscript Subway Suitcase Sun superscript Sync Alternate Sync Syringe table Table Tennis tablet Alternate Tablet Alternate Tachometer tag tags Tasks Taxi Terminal text-height text-width th th-large th-list Thermometer Thermometer Empty Thermometer Full Thermometer 1/2 Full Thermometer 1/4 Full Thermometer 3/4 Full thumbs-down thumbs-up Thumbtack Alternate Ticket Times Times Circle tint Toggle Off Toggle On Trademark Train Transgender Alternate Transgender Trash Alternate Trash Tree trophy truck TTY Television Umbrella Underline Undo Alternate Undo Universal Access University unlink unlock Alternate Unlock Upload User User Circle user-md Add User User Secret Remove User Users Utensil Spoon Utensils Venus Venus Double Venus Mars Video Volleyball Ball volume-down volume-off volume-up Warehouse Weight Wheelchair WiFi Window Close Window Maximize Window Minimize Window Restore Won Sign Wrench Yen Sign 500px Accessible Icon Accusoft App.net Adversal affiliatetheme Algolia Amazon Amazon Pay Amilia Android AngelList Angry Creative Angular App Store iOS App Store Apper Systems AB Apple Apple Pay Asymmetrik, Ltd. Audible Autoprefixer avianex Aviato Amazon Web Services (AWS) Bandcamp Behance Behance Square BIMobject Bitbucket Bitcoin Bity Font Awesome Black Tie BlackBerry Blogger Blogger B Bluetooth Bluetooth BTC Büromöbel-Experte GmbH & Co. KG. BuySellAds Amazon Pay Credit Card American Express Credit Card Apple Pay Credit Card Diner's Club Credit Card Discover Credit Card JCB Credit Card MasterCard Credit Card Paypal Credit Card Stripe Credit Card Visa Credit Card Centercode Chrome cloudscale.ch Cloudsmith cloudversify Codepen Codie Pie Connect Develop Contao cPanel Creative Commons CSS 3 Logo Alternate CSS3 Logo Cuttlefish Dungeons & Dragons DashCube Delicious Logo deploy.dog Deskpro deviantART Digg Logo Digital Ocean Discord Discourse DocHub Docker Draft2digital Dribbble Dribbble Square Dropbox Drupal Logo Dyalog Earlybirds Edge Browser Elementor Ember Galactic Empire Envira Gallery Erlang Ethereum Etsy ExpeditedSSL Facebook Facebook F Facebook Messenger Facebook Square Firefox First Order firstdraft Flickr Flipboard Fly Font Awesome Alternate Font Awesome Font Awesome Flag Fonticons Fonticons Fi Fort Awesome Alternate Fort Awesome Forumbee Foursquare Free Code Camp FreeBSD Get Pocket GG Currency GG Currency Circle Git Git Square GitHub Alternate GitHub GitHub Square GitKraken GitLab Gitter Glide Glide G Gofore Goodreads Goodreads G Google Logo Google Drive Google Play Google Plus Google Plus G Google Plus Square Google Wallet Gratipay (Gittip) Grav Gripfire, Inc. Grunt Gulp Hacker News Hacker News Square Hips HireAHelper Hooli Hotjar Houzz HTML 5 Logo HubSpot IMDB Instagram Internet-explorer ioxhost iTunes Itunes Note Jenkis Joget Joomla Logo JavaScript (JS) JavaScript (JS) Square jsFiddle KeyCDN Kickstarter Kickstarter K KORVUE Laravel last.fm last.fm Square Leanpub Less Line LinkedIn LinkedIn In Linode Linux lyft Magento MaxCDN MedApps Medium Medium M MRT Meetup Microsoft Mix Mixcloud Mizuni MODX Monero Napster Nintendo Switch Node.js Node.js JS npm NS8 Nutritionix Odnoklassniki Odnoklassniki Square OpenCart OpenID Opera Optin Monster Open Source Initiative page4 Corporation Pagelines Palfed Patreon Paypal Periscope Phabricator Phoenix Framework PHP Pied Piper Logo Alternate Pied Piper Logo Pied Piper PP Logo (Old) Pinterest Pinterest P Pinterest Square PlayStation Product Hunt Pushed Python QQ QuinScape Quora Ravelry React Rebel Alliance red river reddit Logo reddit Alien reddit Square Rendact Renren replyd Resolving Rocket.Chat Rockrms Safari Sass SCHLIX Scribd Searchengin Sellcast Sellsy Servicestack Shirts in Bulk SimplyBuilt SISTRIX skyatlas Skype Slack Logo Slack Hashtag Slideshare Snapchat Snapchat Ghost Snapchat Square SoundCloud Speakap Spotify Stack Exchange Stack Overflow StayLinked Steam Steam Square Steam Symbol Sticker Mule Strava Stripe Stripe S Studio Vinari StumbleUpon Logo StumbleUpon Circle Superpowers Supple Telegram Telegram Plane Tencent Weibo ThemeIsle Trello TripAdvisor Tumblr Tumblr Square Twitch Twitter Twitter Square Typo3 Uber UIkit Uniregistry Untappd USB us-Sunnah Foundation Vaadin Viacoin Viadeo Viadeo Square Viber Vimeo Vimeo Square Vimeo Vine VK VNV Vue.js Weibo Weixin (WeChat) What's App What's App Square WHMCS Wikipedia W Windows WordPress Logo Wordpress Simple WPBeginner WPExplorer WPForms Xbox Xing Xing Square Y Combinator Yahoo Logo Yandex Yandex International Yelp Yoast YouTube YouTube Square