Belly shirts for little girls

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Should A 12-Year-Old Be Allowed To Wear A Crop Top?

When it comes to raising a little girl that is approaching puberty, life can become very difficult and conversations surrounding your daughter's personal expression can easily become very challenging. A natural part of becoming a teen and venturing into adulthood is the desire for freedom, which includes total freedom of expression that isn't always aligned with what parents had envisioned.

Fashion and beauty are among the categories that many moms and teens end up disagreeing on. Teenage girls are often eager to enter the world of lipstick, short skirts, high heels and crop tops, much to the dismay of their parents.

We all have different perspectives about what types of clothing are appropriate for certain ages, so the answer is very much dependent upon your personal situation.

Are We Sending The Right Message?

When your daughter asks to wear a crop top at the age of 12, your knee-jerk reaction may be to say 'no'. However, as we're sure you're aware, this will lead to more conflict and a may even possibly lead to hurt feelings. Before shouting out an immediate 'no' answer, encourage your teen to sit down and talk to you about this a bit more. As parents, our tendency is to want to protect our little girls from the evils that exist in the world, however, their minds are not quite as jaded, and there is likely a whole lot of innocence behind their request that doesn't necessarily need to be reprimanded.

Sources suggest that by reacting negatively to situations like these, we may actually be sending our daughters mixed messaging that suggests "that it’s their responsibility to manage the sexual feelings of the boys and men in society. We also run the risk of shaming girls about their changing bodies." Such situations can have long-lasting consequences, so it's important to handle situations like these with special care.

RELATED: Kanye West Has Banned North From Wearing Makeup & Crop Tops

Talk About Why This Is Important

There's a lot to be said for 'why' your daughter wants to adorn crop top fashion at the tender age of 12. Perhaps the situation that presents itself is one of fitting in with peers, or maybe she just has a keen eye for fashion and wants to be current and trendy. You know your daughter best, and with some honest conversation you'll be able to decipher why she is interested in this particular piece of clothing. If there's a little alarm that goes off in your heart at the realization that your daughter wants to attract attention through her clothing choices, this may be a good time for an honest chat.

Fitting in with friends by wearing popular, mainstream clothing is a normal part of transitioning through the teenage years. "In giving some deeper thought to your objections—and discussing them with your daughter—you can invite a deeper discussion about sexuality, body image and consent."

There's A Compromise That Can Be Made

The idea of your daughter's midriff being exposed to the world may not be something that you'll be comfortable with at any age. That doesn't mean she won't be changing into one at her first opportunity, though! Perhaps there's a compromise that can be made. Keeping open lines of communication are critical, and there may be a compromise that you can both make.

It may not be acceptable for you to permit your 12 year old to wear a crop top to school, however, maybe she can wear one around the house, or when she visits a friend's house. There may be some situational rules that you apply to the wearing of this revealing article of clothing, rather than shutting the conversation down with a firm 'no.'

This, Too, Shall Pass

If you can't come to a compromise and you're still highly uncomfortable with allowing your 12 year old to wear a crop top, that's perfectly acceptable. There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to this topic, as each young pre-teen that wants to wear a crop top has a different level of maturity, and different reasons for wanting to pursue this fashion option.

The idea is to formulate a healthy attitude, and open conversations surrounding these tough topics to ensure there's a platform for future discussions... crop tops are just the beginning of the challenging fashion options that your daughter may want to pursue!

READ NEXT: Ways To Help Your Teen Be Open-Minded

Source: Beautylish, Your Teen Mag, Daily Mail

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My daughter wears crop tops and it makes me crazy

At 12, she was disdainful. “Cassie is so different now, Mommy,” my daughter would sniff after school. “She wears crop tops.” I’d sigh and nod, thrilled we were on the same page about the inappropriateness of belly-revealing tees that, in my opinion, had no place in school—or anywhere for that matter.

But as she moved from grade seven to grade eight, the hemlines of her shirts began an upward ascent. At first just a sliver—only noticeable if she were to, say, put up her hand in class. But as grade eight gave way to grade nine, it was impossible to deny a change was afoot—the hems became more brazen, the occasions more frequent. When I’d balk, she’d pull out her stock excuse: “Our school is so hot!” she’d say, ignoring my reminder that it was January. In those early days, she had the good sense to throw an oversized plaid shirt on top. “I keep it on all day,” she’d assure me. But after comparing notes with other distraught moms, I realized the likelihood of this was slim to none. And then, one morning midway through grade ten, my daughter strolled into the kitchen in all her midriff-baring glory— minus the extra shirt— and casually asked what we were having for breakfast.

I get the appeal. The midriff is powerful real estate, and crop tops are everywhere, (including Old Navy, in size 4T). But that doesn’t make it OK with me. I’ve tried to gently dissuade her a zillion different ways, most of which  involve me trailing her through the house in a mild panic as she collects her books for school. “Sweetie, you don’t even realize this,” I say with urgency, “but you’re wearing that top because society has convinced you that your worth is determined by the male gaze.”

“Um, no,” she replies, hastily zipping up her knapsack. “I’m WEARING it because it’s CUTE.” Cue door slam.

Other times, I take a, “Just so you know, you could never wear that to a job interview” approach. “I’m not going to a job interview,” she states plainly. “I’m going to school.”

“But, but, school is like a job,” I sputter. “Right now it’s your job!” (Slam.)

Two sisters taking a walk holding hands, one is wearing a bumblebee wings, stop teaching girls to be niceWhy we need to stop teaching girls to be niceI hate that I feel the need to hassle her so much. But what I hate even more is that being out in the world with a bare midriff makes her inherently less safethan if she were more covered up. I don’t like thinking about her at the mall or on the subway wearing a crop top. “Most girls wear them way, way shorter than me,” she informs me, which makes me wonder if they’re walking to school in their bras.

Maybe the problem is me. Am I afraid of her mature body? Her emerging womanhood? Is it the fierce new independence I chafe at? I wish it were that simple. I just want her to be safe. To not be targeted. To not be ogled by the creepy substitute who only got half a background check.

I shouldn’t complain. At least once a week, she’s covered head-to-toe in hockey gear. She doesn’t wear make up, or low-cut tops, or thongs. Her weapon of choice is the crop top— and the croppier the better. One time she brought home a bunch of T-shirts from the thrift store and my heart soared—until she pulled out a pair of scissors. Snip, snip—she cropped every last one. “I just don’t like the feel of them touching my waist band,” she explained. I sighed and assured her that none of her shirts were in danger of coming anywhere near her waistband.

It’s exhausting, and at 17 and almost taller than me, I have clearly lost the battle. But that doesn’t mean I’ll ever change my stance: crop tops belong at summer camp and cottages, and maybe parties (when she’s 30), but they do not belong in the classroom. The last time I weakly said, “OK, that one is too short,” she just rolled her eyes, grabbed an apple and left.

I know I have to get a grip. Soon she’ll be moving through the world, maybe going to university in another city. She’s almost a woman. I wish that made me feel better, but it doesn’t. Because as much as all my preaching makes me sound like a feminist-gone-bad, and even though my daughter swears she dresses to please no one but herself, the fact is I do think society tells girls that their worth is derived from how they look and dress. But I suppose that’s something my daughter will have to decide for herself, in her own time.

For now, I’ll console myself with the knowledge that high-waisted mom jeans are back in style so crop tops simply can’t reveal as much – though I’m sure she’ll find a solution for that too.

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“What’s the big deal with bellies, shoulders, knees, and nudity?

I don’t know yet but I intend to find out. Up until now, I’ve always felt confused and I’ve avoided it for too long.

Let’s start with a story, shall we? In my senior year of high school, I was sent home for wearing a cutoff muscle shirt while other girls, more feminine girls, stayed in class with spaghetti string tank tops. So were my shoulders offensive or not offensive enough?

It’s no secret we live in a highly sexualized culture. It’s no secret most people struggle to see the naked human body as anything other than an invitation. Perhaps the art community is the only one still able to view human flesh as art, divinely created; each muscle, roll, wrinkle, and blemish the stroke of a masterful artist. But outside the confines of a sketchbook, even I stumble. It isn’t hard. We are animals by nature and have been designed by our Creator as sexual beings. I don’t think that alone is inherently bad but the perversion of it is.

Using the human body as an artistic muse, for example, I feel like there is a clear line between pornography and art. You can’t exactly define it and yet a Playboy centerfold and the statue of David do not evoke the same emotions. So if it isn’t the content, is it the presentation? How can we judge something so subjective?

Maybe you’re on your first cup of coffee and wondering how I come to find myself contemplating the intricacies of the human body and modesty?

My girls (10 and 7) asked for belly shirts and my knee jerk reaction was, ‘No, that’s inappropriate.’

‘Why? We are allowed to wear a two-piece swimsuit. Why can I show my stomach at the beach but not at the park?’

(awkward silence) ‘I don’t know, I need time to think about it.’ And so here I am, thinking out loud.

It was just last year I finally overcame the fear of my stomach showing. I bought a two-piece and introduced my stretch-marked mom bod to the fresh summer air. Hello, body positivity. But there’s a catch. Similarly to the one that divides pornography from art, there is a line dividing the appropriate from the inappropriate. Inside my own head, I have a dozen conflicting views and I don’t have a clue how to articulate them all.

I do know wearing a bikini has given me confidence I haven’t had in decades… but it feels safe. I don’t have the type of body the media idolizes. It feels as though my body wouldn’t cause an impure thought and with that comes a certain peace. Walking onto a beach with my stomach exposed feels like a nod to the other mamas who may struggle with accepting their own marks. It feels like a guttural cry of solidarity for all the women who have spent decades hating the skin motherhood left them with.

But when I consider my young girls, I don’t feel that same surge of womanly pride. Instead, I worry about how they will be perceived? It doesn’t have to be right but it’s reality. Allowing them to run around half-naked for the sake of ‘body positivity’ won’t change the perversion of a depraved mind and that bothers me. I once thought their ages alone would permit them to careless nudity but my ignorance was replaced by an unwholesome truth. Their fragile hearts and developing frames are not a place of refuge, predators have polluted the innocence of childhood and our ignoring it won’t change that.

With so many conflicting truths, where do we draw the line?”

This story was submitted to Love What Mattersby Raquel McCloud, 31, of North Carolina. Follow her family journey on Instagram here, Facebook here, and her website here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Raquel here: 

‘He never asked why we needed the help, he simply said, ‘Things will get better.’: After a miscarriage and husband’s layoff, woman says, ‘Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.’

‘It’s important they can come to you and ask what a ‘BJ’ is and if it can give you an STD. Yes, I said BJ.’: Mom explains the importance of answering kids’ sex questions

‘Age doesn’t matter, you consented.’ It wasn’t a stranger or a creepy cousin. It wasn’t forceful, or a textbook case of victim and prey.’: Child abuse survivor cautions others during quarantine, ‘Home isn’t always safe’

Do you know someone who could benefit from this story? SHARE this story on Facebook with your friends and family.


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They talked nothing, just like that. But during this conversation, he learned a lot about her. She, too, recognized him well. They shared their joys and sorrows. They calmly revealed to each other what could not be said even to a loved one.

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