I agree, grethel. My oldest is a 12-year-old boy and he is certainly quite "manly" in areas unseen by the public. I rarely see him starkers but he doesn't mind walking through the hallway after a shower. I once said "Wow, you're growing up" or something dumb like that and it wasn't a big deal nor did we have a discussion about it. It doesn't make me a pervert to notice my child is going through puberty. I wonder how many of you would handle locker-room type situations? My dh and ds go swimming at the local health club and they change in the locker room with the other guys. What's the big deal? It doesn't mean he isn't modest.
My mom and I didn't have a very talkative relationship when I was a teen but I would have been fine with her telling me about pubic hair sticking out if she could give me some choices about how to deal with it.
Wanted to add that when my kids were on swim teams most of the boys and guys wore swim shorts that look like bicycle shorts, that extend almost to the knee.
I realize that some of the commenters who've mentioned being uncomfortable with the topic don't actually have teen daughters, but if you did -- you do realize you're going to have to talk about all kinds of embarrassing or private things with them, right? Menstruation, for example. If a girl is bleeding onto her swimsuit, and a mother notices, is it crossing a boundary for her to say something? Or, since that might embarrass her daughter (of course it would!), or be intruding on her daughter's private area, should she just let it go and not say anything until all the other middle school kids at the pool notice and talk about it? (And if you think they won't notice, or won't talk about it, or won't say incredibly cruel things that could follow your child for years, you have forgotten what middle school was like.)
This. Exactly. This is far, far, from the most embarrassing, or most important conversation a mom will have with their teen daughter. Just because it's difficult, or you aren't sure about the boundary, or your child looks like they will be mortified, is not a reason not to have conversations. I do not have this down at all, but what I'm learning is that, at this age, it's better to talk, bring things up, open the door to discussions of the big and little things. My child lets me know pretty quickly what's off limits, and I respect that, or try to at least. But sometimes I preface what I'm saying in a humerous way, such as "I'm going to ask a completely embarrassing question now"....and either we laugh and go on from there, or I get shut down, but at least it's out there. Sometimes I get shut down, but dd brings the issue back up later, and it's easier because it's now on her terms, but I needed to start the conversation, YK?
But sometimes I preface what I'm saying in a humorous way, such as "I'm going to ask a completely embarrassing question now"....and either we laugh and go on from there, or I get shut down, but at least it's out there. Sometimes I get shut down, but dd brings the issue back up later, and it's easier because it's now on her terms, but I needed to start the conversation, YK?
Yes and yes. I experience this with both my daughter and my son, actually.
I have both a traditional women's racing suit and a the shorts to a plain black women's "boy short" bikini and if I haven't shaved recently enough for my own modesty I will wear the longer bottom under my racing suit. If you do that, each time she is going out she can make the choice rather than needing to make shaving a part of her regular hygiene routine. In the summer my dd likes to have two suits anyway so if one didn't get hung up the evening before she still has something dry to put on in the morning. I also considered shaving like menstrual supplies and just had them in the house and told her she was welcome to use them and if she ever wanted a type of supply different from what I keep in the bathroom she need only ask.
I would not mention it.
I am pretty sure most teens know whether or not their pubic hair extends beyond their bathing suit - and know where the razors are.
Quite frankly - what people choose to shave is not my business.
Yeah, this. She might be embarrassed or even mortified, but not nearly as much as she would be if other kids pointed it out and made fun. Honestly, this stuff is embarrassing for mothers, too. It's not exactly fun for us sometimes to talk about puberty-related stuff with our teens, but that doesn't mean we should shy away from the topics that will probably make both of us uncomfortable. I mentioned this thread to my dd the other night, telling her that a few people had insinuated that it was inappropriate or intrusive for a mother to mention bikini-line grooming. She laughed and said, in a puzzled way, "But you're my mom! That's your job. If you don't tell me, who will?"
It seems like there's also an undercurrent in some of these comments that a mother who mentions pubes to her teen daughter at all is crossing a boundary. It almost seems like some comments are insinuating that it's pervy or licentious for a mother to notice that the hair is showing in the first place (I think someone mentioned that the mom was "spending time thinking about" her dd's pubes -- believe me, it's not like we're ruminating on the subject). This thread was not talking about the whole of a teen's private area or what she does with that area. We are talking about VISIBLE hairs showing at the sides of her suit in a public place. It's not like we're scrutinizing or staring at our kids' bits, and frankly I find those insinuations disturbing. I realize that some of the commenters who've mentioned being uncomfortable with the topic don't actually have teen daughters, but if you did -- you do realize you're going to have to talk about all kinds of embarrassing or private things with them, right? Menstruation, for example. If a girl is bleeding onto her swimsuit, and a mother notices, is it crossing a boundary for her to say something? Or, since that might embarrass her daughter (of course it would!), or be intruding on her daughter's private area, should she just let it go and not say anything until all the other middle school kids at the pool notice and talk about it? (And if you think they won't notice, or won't talk about it, or won't say incredibly cruel things that could follow your child for years, you have forgotten what middle school was like.)
And quickly, regarding commenters who say "I'd be mortified if my mom mentioned my pubes," or "I'd just die," ... I have to ask, what kind of relationship did you have with your mom at that age? My dd and I talk about everything. No, I don't pry -- I'd say I actually err on the side of letting her have more autonomy over her own body and private life than lots of girls do at her age -- but she does come to me with all kinds of questions and conversations. And I make sure that when I do bring something up with her, she already knows my stance that her body is her own and she can make her own choices. It is understood from the get-go. That's why I might have sounded flippant in my first post -- as far as what we've discussed over the years, it was simply no big deal. It was a two-minute convo.
I'm not the one you quoted but I have similar feelings.
I think that wearing things for which you "have" to shave (by social conventions) is crossing the socially-defined modesty border. I mean, our culture says you should not be able to see other people's public hair. And yet we have defined a standard woman's bathing suit as something for which you "have" to shave in order to meet that modesty requirement. So it seems inherently immodest by our culture's standards. I have found it incredibly frustrating and feel like the standardized woman's bathing suit is oppressive in its way.
My mother pointed out the problem I had with my pubes when I was a teen, and yes, I was mortified. But the issue wasn't that I thought she was a perv (good lord, I never even thought about it that way) but rather I felt very criticized. Here I was doing absolutely nothing wrong, wearing a bathing suit that society deemed normal, and somehow having to intuit that I'm supposed to shave my pubes, which turned out to be difficult and painful (bumps anyone?), and shamed because I didn't. Thanks a lot, mom and society.
My hair doesn't extend down my thighs. It just barely peeks out. I have very poor eyesight now and it's hard to remember what normal people see, but I don't ever remember looking at anyone's crotch close enough to see the small amount of hair that I was exposing. So, yeah, I resent it. I have a pair of boy shorts now and just put those on over a standard suit.
I know not everybody sees it the way I do, and clearly my own mother did not, but just keep it in mind because your daughter may. Be gentle. Offer boy shorts as an option, not just shavers and trimmers. And for the love of god please don't be critical about it. I know noone here would mean to but just be careful - I seriously doubt my mom meant to be critical either.
Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.
I love this thread, it's hilarious! My oldest daughter is 14 and she has been professionally waxing her bikini line since she was 12. She had been dragged along to my appointments for years and I told her to let me know if she ever wanted to get a bikini wax. She also gets her underarms, eyebrows, toes basically whatever she thinks is hairy waxed. We wax instead of shave because of razor burn. My girls are all aware that people handle their body hair in different ways as I have a lot of natural hair everywhere lady friends and we know quite a few boys from the swim team get a whole body shave. The easiest way to go is just "let me know if / when you want to try shaving, waxing so I can buy you the supplies/ make you the appointment". But I would tell my daughter if she had some hair showing, but I also know that she and her friends made up code words to let each other know at the pool if hair was showing.
Just my two cents :)
~Patti~ Momma to three girls and three boys , First mother to one girl
Certified, card carrying member of the IEP Binder Club
I think I would be mortified if my mom posted my name, age and shaving status on a public website, quite honestly.
But to address the topic: My mom was very giggly and made jokes about shaving issues. She is blond, pale and nearly hairless while I am dark skinned and very hairy like my dad. I'm not sure my mom knew how to address it completely. But I knew where the razors were and when I wanted info, I asked. My daughter asked for her own razor entirely on her own. Sometimes I don't shave and sometimes I shave a lot. She knows there are options because she's paying attention to me and the women around her. I give her tips when I she asks or when I notice she might need help with something. I am betting that if you have 3 girls, they are talking to each other about this stuff too.
Disabled queer mama to one preteen, one teenager, 5 cats, 7 chickens, & 1 dog
...granola punk urban homesteaders...
"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love."
-Gandalf, The Hobbit
I know this is a bit old and has probably already been handled but an idea I didnt see mentioned..
Why not have her older sister just mention it to her? Sisters talk about all sorts of things and even though there is an age gape it'd probably be easier coming from your eldest.
Mama to Belly(5), homesteading in the desert with our chickens and sheep. Fish nerd, really into my reef tank. Baby due Sep 3rd!
As mothers isn't our duty to (lovingly & gently) inform our children when there's a possibility of ridicule? Others have mentioned how cruel kids can be and middle school especially. This hasn't stopped since our school days; if anything it's gotten worse! Personally I believe if we can help to limit the embarrassment and humiliation our children will possibly suffer, we should do everything in our power.
Seriously, leave all the "perv" comments and "OMG I would be mortified if my mother.." stuff out of it. If you have a healthy relationship and your child feels comfortable with open dialogue, then YES, ABSOLUTELY you should be able to talk about pubic hair. No one is saying shaving is right or wrong. What I got out of this thread (after I ignored the soap box divas) was that it's a personal choice and should be approached as such. Bringing up visible pubic hair is in no way being judgemental. As long as its brought up in a healthy way and it's coming from a loving place, why wouldn't you want to say "hey babe, ya know the other day when we were at the pool I noticed a little hair around your bikini line. Wanna talk about some options so other people don't notice it next time?" Then you can go through the list of a different style of suit, shaving, waxing, whatever.