"Girls wear shirts" - Mothering Forums
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The Childhood Years > "Girls wear shirts"
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 07:47 PM 05-18-2008
Dh is grumpy with me right now because I let dd (4 in 2 days) go outside with just shorts on. He was visibly uncomfortable letting her go out without a shirt on, and just before she went outside (to the front yard), he said "I would really like her to wear a shirt." My response was "why?" He replied "because girls wear shirts." I said "she's 4!" (dd responded, "I'm not 4, I'm still 3!" ).

I'm OK with letting my kids run around naked until they develop their own personal modesty, but dh is not. He's insisted that she wear underwear and shorts outside (she often runs around the house in a shirt and no bottoms). I've backed him up on that, as the shorts do cover her private parts and we've been talking about those. FWIW, I do insist on one-piece bathing suits as I find that little girl bikinis oversexualize preschoolers. Honestly, I'd rather have her go in only bottoms and no shirt than wear a bikini.)

So, am I under-reacting to her lack of a shirt? Is he over-reacting? Do you make your preschool girls wear shirts?

moodymaximus's Avatar moodymaximus 08:43 PM 05-18-2008
Mine does, but only because I'm trying to minimize the use of sunscreen, and because she likes shirts. I'm with you--I'd rather she wore just the bottoms, rather than a bikini.
emelsea's Avatar emelsea 08:54 PM 05-18-2008
I guess it would depend on where we lived. I grew up in the country, with no close neighbors, so I was allowed to run around naked or half-dressed (because I undressed myself, not because my mom didn't try, LOL).

But we now live on a suburban street with an abundance of neighbors, some of whom I know, some I do not. And there a plenty of people who drive by that don't live around here.

So, for that reason, I wouldn't let a daughter outside half-dressed in our yard. But we have a big deck out back that is entirely enclosed (the only access it through the kitchen, and it's about 8' off the ground) and I'd be fine with a daughter out there naked or half-dressed.
BellinghamCrunchie's Avatar BellinghamCrunchie 10:16 PM 05-18-2008
DD (3.5) runs about with shorts only on, and I consider myself lucky that she at least keeps those on.

Seems kind of silly to worry about that stuff before puberty when boys and girls chests look exactly the same, and boys can run around shirtless.
Jessy1019's Avatar Jessy1019 10:39 PM 05-18-2008
My daughter is 5.5 and doesn't always wear shirts (or pants) outside. She got it in her head that bugs might crawl up her vagina, so she generally remembers to put on undies. I don't really care what she wears, though -- it's just going to get muddy or dusty or wet or filthy in some other creative way, so the fewer clothes she has on, the better!

My partner is just happy she has undies on - a few of his more uptight friends used to be really bothered when she was totally naked.
milkeriffic mama's Avatar milkeriffic mama 10:40 PM 05-18-2008
FWIW, I have a ton of pics of myself running around shirtless when I was 4. I personally think it's the same sexualization of women's bodies that makes people concerned about a little girl going around shirtless. You should definitely do whatever you feel comfortable with, but I do think it's not a big deal for a 4 year old girl to run around shirtless. She won't be able to do it forever.
beanma's Avatar beanma 11:02 PM 05-18-2008
no big deal here. in fact at dd1's crunchyish private school the kids (girls and boys) often strip half-nekkid for outdoor time on hot days. they're so excited about it, too!
faerierose's Avatar faerierose 12:22 AM 05-19-2008
I personally don't mind it in the back yard, but we live in the city. There is a building full of social workers directly across the street from me so the front yard is a no go.
I still remember how angry and sad I was when my parents sat me down at 4 and told me I was to old to not where a shirt outside. I hated them (the shirts not my parents), I had really long thick hair and we were in southern CA...it was HOT! All the neighbor boys never wore shirts, it wasn't fair:
moondiapers's Avatar moondiapers 12:35 AM 05-19-2008
I think it's perfectly fine to go topless until they actually start developing private parts up top. My dd went in just a pair of short in summer until she was about 8 and became modest.....this was about the same time her breasts/nipples started getting tender.
hubris's Avatar hubris 12:48 AM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
no big deal here. in fact at dd1's crunchyish private school the kids (girls and boys) often strip half-nekkid for outdoor time on hot days. they're so excited about it, too!
ditto that, and I'm SO happy to be a part of a parent community where people don't oversexualize the behavior of small children.
mightymoo's Avatar mightymoo 12:59 AM 05-19-2008
I never let my kids run around without a shirt on for sun reasons. Then again I make DD wear a full sunsuit rather than a skimpy bathing suit.
zeldamomma's Avatar zeldamomma 01:01 AM 05-19-2008
FWIW, I wouldn't dress my kids in a way that made my dh uncomfortable-- he's not quick to criticize that kind of thing, so when he does, I take him seriously. But then again, we aren't a "run around naked" kind of family.

I have a child who disliked clothes at that age, and I gradually figured out that it's a sensory thing. Maybe your dd would be more comfortable in loose fitting knit dresses?

ZM
1growingsprout's Avatar 1growingsprout 01:18 AM 05-19-2008
It depends on the street and the neighbors... however i have no problem with kids going "nekkid" its more comfortable and IMO kids are innocent, whats more innocent then that??
Heavenly's Avatar Heavenly 01:23 AM 05-19-2008
It makes your DH uncomfortable for her to be without a shirt. So why can't she wear a shirt? It doesn't really matter to you either way, but it matters to him. He is just as much her parent as you are and if it makes him uncomfortable to think of some possible pervert looking at his little girl without a shirt on then you should respect that.
Heavenly's Avatar Heavenly 01:24 AM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1growingsprout View Post
It depends on the street and the neighbors... however i have no problem with kids going "nekkid" its more comfortable and IMO kids are innocent, whats more innocent then that??
Your answer is very naive. Yes, kids are innocent. Possible predators are not.
1growingsprout's Avatar 1growingsprout 03:24 AM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Your answer is very naive. Yes, kids are innocent. Possible predators are not.
thats why i said it depends on the street.
EarthMamaToBe's Avatar EarthMamaToBe 03:49 AM 05-19-2008
I'm 37 and I know my mom let me! All the cousins were boys and she figured what difference does it make, we were little KIDS. I see out neighbors 4 year old girl shirtless all the time!
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 04:04 AM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I have a child who disliked clothes at that age, and I gradually figured out that it's a sensory thing. Maybe your dd would be more comfortable in loose fitting knit dresses?
I know it's sensory with her. She's very sensitive to how clothing feels (all cotton, not to tight, not too loose.) Add to that the fact that she HATES being hot. And being shirtless is cooler, and we've got a dilemma on our hands.

I'm working on getting some loose fitting comfortable dresses for her. But they've got to be the right length because she's a very active kid and I don't want to restrict her climbing by what she's wearing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
It makes your DH uncomfortable for her to be without a shirt. So why can't she wear a shirt? It doesn't really matter to you either way, but it matters to him. He is just as much her parent as you are and if it makes him uncomfortable to think of some possible pervert looking at his little girl without a shirt on then you should respect that.
But it matters to HER!! Doesn't her opinion count for something?

So it's more complex than just "Dad wants her to wear a shirt, mom doesn't." It's "If we make her wear a shirt, it's going to be a major power struggle. Do I want to take this on for something that I think is silly?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
Your answer is very naive. Yes, kids are innocent. Possible predators are not.
I'm not concerned about random strangers walking through our neighborhood seeing my children half-naked. If someone is a predator, they don't need to see dd with a shirt off to sexualize her, they are going to do it if she's bundled up in a snow suit or wearing a bathing suit! I refuse to live my life as if my children are in imminent danger from a random predator. They're NOT. Stranger abduction/abuse of small children is very uncommon.

Most predators prey on kids they KNOW. I know our neighbors and the only houses dd goes into are people who've had background checks (not from me, but given their professions), AND my instincts tell me they're OK. (Read "Protecting the Gift" for more information on trusting your gut.) Otherwise she's outside. And if she's outside without a shirt and more comfortable like that, why not?

It may end up being a moot point because I currently can't find a sunscreen that she doesn't react to - and if that's the case she will NEED to wear a shirt to protect her body. I'm going to talk to dh tonight and try to nail him down on why it makes him so uncomfortable. This was somewhat random (dd runs around the house naked all the time and he's never said a thing).
TattooedMommy's Avatar TattooedMommy 04:18 AM 05-19-2008
I could care less but my husband sides with yours, he thinks that girls should be covered.
RaeAnne's Avatar RaeAnne 04:31 AM 05-19-2008
If she wants something loose-fitting, you might trying Hanna Andersson, but I don't think they have a sleeveless option. Their play dresses have matching shorts you can buy, and they're really loose and comfortable (and last a long time, I've heard, very well-made), made for girls who don't want to worry about modesty when they're playing.

RaeAnne
yarngoddess's Avatar yarngoddess 05:23 AM 05-19-2008
I had never thought about this, honestly. We just finished a BBQ with the grandparents, and two of the kids were totally nakid. They were all so happy and having fun. Only when one of the babies Pooped on the patio did I think that maybe we needed to put clothes on. The kids weren't uncomfortable or in danger because of where we live.

I think that you have to pick your battles- and IMHO this ISN'T one of thoes battles. Not at this time- when you don't have clothes that she is comfortable in, or willing to wear with out a fight. When you have clothes that she likes, then maybe you could entertain this idea, but honestlly it doesn't sound like it's worth the fight.

Tell DH that in a few years she will be totally covered, and avoiding "us" (parents) like the plague- enjoy the freedom while it lasts! I'm sure she will remember the happy summer days where she felt "free" - rather than remember the summer that she learned to cover herself up.
Onemagicmummy's Avatar Onemagicmummy 05:34 AM 05-19-2008
i am uber conservitaive(sp) when it comes to my DD's
when we go to the beach DD1 wears a all in one, knee lengthe, half sleeve "wets suit" style swim suit
DS's wear trunks/shorts
DD2 wears usual clothes
saying that at home i would rather she wore pants and no top like you than a bikini/two piece outfit.

i think your DH is a bit OTT but i can understand where he comes from. if we were in the back garden no top would be fine, in th front garden i want ALL my kids to wear tops and bottoms.

Kiz
Starflower's Avatar Starflower 06:42 AM 05-19-2008
I let my DD go with no shirt, but I do insist on bottoms. This is our rule for being out in the front yard, for being in front of the picture window and for opening the door (we really have to enforce this last one - DD loves to be unrestricted by clothing).

In the back yard, I don't care if she's totally naked. We have a fenced yard.

I've also let her play in her just her underwear and a t-shirt at the park, but it was pretty much all moms with other little kids, one other little girl wearing just underwear. It was very hot that day.

I want to help DD understand modesty without teaching her to be embarrassed or feeling bad about her body.
MCatLvrMom2A&X's Avatar MCatLvrMom2A&X 06:56 AM 05-19-2008
If your dd is ok with it then that is all that matters IMO.
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar Phoenix~Mama 11:42 AM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
It makes your DH uncomfortable for her to be without a shirt. So why can't she wear a shirt? It doesn't really matter to you either way, but it matters to him. He is just as much her parent as you are and if it makes him uncomfortable to think of some possible pervert looking at his little girl without a shirt on then you should respect that.
I agree with that. Both are parents... both should come to a compromise that feels comfortable to them.


I personally like DSD in clothing, and future baby will be too. Wether they are innocent kids are not... I know far too much about predatory types and it just makes me uncomfortable. Plus I don't want DSD thinking she can just strip at school when she feels like it... I look at it as a consistency in rules.
Ks Mama's Avatar Ks Mama 12:30 PM 05-19-2008
In our house, DD (3.5) "must" wear undies, but anything else or nothing else is her call. No undies on is for the bath/shower & obviously while in the midst of getting dressed, but not for running around.

And as far as a shirt - at this age, it doesn't make a shred of difference to me, shirt or no shirt for playing. Out in public is a different story - and we've talked to DD about considering ALL people's feelings & comfort levels - some people may not be comfortable with no clothes on.

The thing is... if it bothered my husband, I'd not make it a big deal, I'd just put on a shirt. Because to me, harmony in front of our kids - a unified front - PARTICULARLY in an instance like this, is far more important than making a big deal out of a really really little deal. You guys can talk about it together later then & express why you're feeling the ways your feeling - what's making your husband uncomfortable, etc. But honestly, I don't think it matters either way, so just put on the shirt.
claras_mom's Avatar claras_mom 12:45 PM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
FWIW, I wouldn't dress my kids in a way that made my dh uncomfortable-- he's not quick to criticize that kind of thing, so when he does, I take him seriously. But then again, we aren't a "run around naked" kind of family.

I have a child who disliked clothes at that age, and I gradually figured out that it's a sensory thing. Maybe your dd would be more comfortable in loose fitting knit dresses?

ZM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post
It makes your DH uncomfortable for her to be without a shirt. So why can't she wear a shirt? It doesn't really matter to you either way, but it matters to him. He is just as much her parent as you are and if it makes him uncomfortable to think of some possible pervert looking at his little girl without a shirt on then you should respect that.
I don't think it should be just about the difference of opinion between the OP and her dh. As the OP pointed out, her daughter's opinion matters too. Hopefully, they can work something out among the three of them.


ETA - No, I don't make my preschool girl wear shirts. At least not at home. And in the back, she can wear as little as she likes. In the front yard, we've started introducing a clothes rule--meaning she needs to have the bottoms covered. But that's mostly an issue when playing with the hose and she's usually pretty happy to put on a bathing suit.
zeldamomma's Avatar zeldamomma 12:52 PM 05-19-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
I know it's sensory with her. She's very sensitive to how clothing feels (all cotton, not to tight, not too loose.) Add to that the fact that she HATES being hot. And being shirtless is cooler, and we've got a dilemma on our hands.

I'm working on getting some loose fitting comfortable dresses for her. But they've got to be the right length because she's a very active kid and I don't want to restrict her climbing by what she's wearing.
Check out landsend. My dd finds their knit dresses comfortable, and there's usually something in the "outlet" part of the website. They wear like iron, and seem to be pretty cool.

HTH!

ZM
zoebugsmom's Avatar zoebugsmom 01:01 PM 05-19-2008
DD has similar sensory issues. We've had good luck with HA dresses as well as some boutique dresses like Koko Kids and Kimberly's Travels. The KT dresses are soft batiked cotton and are as close to being naked as we've found. I couldn't find info on the manufacturer online, though.

We do let her go topless in the yard and naked in the house. She is getting to the age where DP prefers she be clothed but it hasn't turned into a struggle yet.
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee 01:08 PM 05-19-2008
If my dh requested that she wear a shirt, I would put one on her.

I think it is important to be respectful if he is uncomfortable.
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