The Meanest Mom: When my daughter was 4, I bought her one of the many cute "baby bikinis" for sale at a popular children's clothing chain. The pink triangle-top and ruffled bikini bottom were adorable -- at least, I thought so until a man at the pool admired my daughter's swimsuit a little too long for my liking.
I learned an important lesson that day -- namely, that what moms often view as cute, fun, innocent and endearing, a creepy few view as sexy and hot. This principle applies not just to preschoolers, of course, but to tweens and teens as well.
At the pool the other day, I noticed a darling 12-year-old girl splashing around the shallow end. Unfortunately, I was not the only one watching the girl play. A group of gawking men had singled the girl out from her group of friends because of what she was wearing: a string bikini. Even I had to admit that dressed the way she was, the girl looked more woman than sixth grader.
It is unfortunate and sad that we can't control how others view our kids. In a perfect world, our kids could wear whatever we (or they) wanted, and people would see them the way that we do -- as children. It is precisely because we can't control these things that we need to be cautious in how we dress our daughters.