5 Dos and Don’ts of Swimsuit Shopping with Your Daughter


body image issues

I don’t know one woman who enjoys bathing suit shopping. Not one. We tolerate it as a necessary evil, like dental work. Sorry, dentists. It’s like our eyes are trained to go right to the spots on our bodies that we like the least. And may the good Lord help us if we get a fitting room with bad lighting.

I’ve always had body image issues. You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn’t at some point. I turn 40 this month and I’m more comfortable in my skin than when I was 30, 20, or—sadly—10. I wish I could take the face of younger me into my hands and say, “Just have fun. Don’t worry so much about the kind of swimsuit you’re wearing or that your thighs touch. It’s OK.” If you have a daughter and get to journey through suit shopping with her, you probably want to say all of that, too. When those words don’t cut it, remember you still have the unique opportunity to make or break the suit-shopping experience. Here are some don’ts and some helpful dos.

Don’t

Point out her “trouble spots,” even if you’re trying to be helpful and tell her what flatters her. What even is a “trouble spot” at this age? When you say, “That really hides your tummy,” all she will hear is, “You need to hide your tummy.”

Do

Have her try on some outside the box options that will make her insecurities a non-issue. Lots of girls are opting for cute shorts.

Don’t

Refuse to let her try on trendy suits. As long as it’s in line with your standards for modesty, the trendy suit that your mom intuition 100 percent tells you is going to look ridiculous is still worth trying on. She will probably realize it looks silly and get a good laugh. Bonus: You’ll look like you’re willing to compromise.

Do

Check out styles and talk about style before you’re sitting in the fitting room. Discuss functionality. When you’re wearing it, what are you going to be doing? Swimming? Volleyball? Water slides? That stringy, woven get-up isn’t gonna cut it, kiddo.

Don’t

Talk negatively about yourself. Our body image issues deserve attention and care, but not at the expense of our daughters.

Do

Model good self-talk and healthy criticism. If you’re shopping for suits on the same day, focus on what you love about a suit and how it looks. Make your reasons for not getting a particular suit are that it’s not doing justice to your best attributes or it wouldn’t allow you to be active and have fun.

Don’t

React to her getting emotional or minimize her feelings.

Do

Be a cheerleader for her, but don’t be fake. Just remind her that she’s going to find a suit she loves.

Don’t

Take it too seriously. Yes, she is a spinning ball of emotions, but she will still take a cue from you.

Do

Make it fun by asking another mother-daughter to make it a double-date. Do lunch afterward.

Bonus “Do”

Pray for her—that she will know she is beautiful and worthy. Your daughter’s value (and yours, Mom!) isn’t found in the brand or size of your clothing or in how flat your belly can look in your swimsuit. Confidence and a smile look great on her.

What have you found to be the best way to help your daughter overcome body image issues?

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