Growing up too fast, or modern fashion?

Where do you stand on the one- or two-piece swimsuit for your daughter? Do you buy sun suits or do you let her rock a bikini from a young age? Check out what these moms had to say on summer swimwear fashion.

Swimsuits come in a dizzying array of colors and designs for girls — boys get swimming trunks and perhaps a rash guard shirt, but girls can have everything from a teeny bikini to a full-body wetsuit.

Many parents opt for a simple one-piece suit, but the two-piece question looms — is it appropriate for a young girl to wear a skimpy bikini? Would you let your toddler wear a triangle top? Or does it really matter? We asked moms what they thought, and the responses were as varied as you’d expect.

Keep them children as long as you can

There are moms who prefer that their kiddos only don a one-piece suit. “One piece, period,” said Lexi from the U.K. “Probably until age 15, but we will see.” Charlene, mom of two, concurred. “No bikinis allowed,” she told us. “Too sexual in my opinion. Not to mention, why would I want all that skin exposed to the sun? I prefer to cover as much skin as possible so she doesn't burn.”

Then there is a child's emotional development to consider. “What does the typical 7-year-old girl look like emotionally?” asks Mary Jo Rapini, psychotherapist. “They want to be perfect at this age and may seem more self-critical than they were at 5 or 6 years. They also began to feel a stronger connection with shame and guilt. What message are we sending our young girls? Dress them like children, expose them to TV shows for children, listen to music specifically for children, and appreciate this innocent time in their lives.”

Depends on the two-piece

Lots of parents had no problem with two-piece suits, but only certain ones. “It really depends on the bikini,” said Lisa, mom of one. “The triangular cup ones that mimic adult swimwear are the ones I find disturbing. There are, however, tankini top bikinis that do not bother me at all.”

Rachelle from Ohio agreed. “I love having my daughters in two pieces only if they are tankinis and only show a tiny bit of belly,” she shared. “The two-piece suits are great for diaper changes and if they need to go potty. I draw the line at tiny bikini tops. To me it seems as if they are trying to sexualize kids by giving the illusion that they have breasts that need to be covered.”

Bikinis are OK

Other moms were fine with baby bikinis.

“I don't have an issue with the bikini at all, as long as it's not mimicking an adult bikini,” said Jessica, mom of one. “As soon as I go to buy her a new suit, I'd like to get her a cute baby bikini because her belly is so round and adorable right now.”

Linsday, mother of one, felt the same. “I don't see anything wrong with bikinis on little girls,” she explained. “It's so common here because we are close to the coast. Honestly, if someone is going to think a little girl in a bikini is sexy, they are probably going to think that regardless of what she is wearing.”

Tell us

What will you choose for your little girl? Does she choose her own suit or do you have hard-and-fast rules on bathing suits?

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Comments on "One- or two-piece swimsuit for your daughter?"

Emma June 22, 2012 | 2:56 PM

This is actually something pretty serious to think about. You definitely want kids to be kids as long as possible and not expose them too much too soon, but there is the practicality argument of a two piece for potty time. I don't think triangle tops are necessary at any age! But a more conservative two piece as a young girl is ok, but once they get a little older a tankini or one piece is a great option.

Leslie June 22, 2012 | 2:32 PM

Great article and I know there is much debate about this. I think it's really cute when babies and toddlers where two-pieces, but personally think the 10-14 aged kids should opt for one pieces. Truth be told, though, whatever the child is comfortable in should be fine as long as the two piece doesn't mimic an adult swimsuit.

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