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My wife and our 15 year-old daughter are having a big issue regarding a bikini that my daughter bought without our knowledge. The issue is not with our daughter having a bikini in general; my wife has already been shopping with her and purchased two bikinis that they both agreed upon. It is one specific bikini that is the issue. The facts from wife's side is that she thinks the bikini is not appropriate because:

  1. the top bits do not offer enough cover in her opinion
  2. the scrunchie bottom at the back shows too much backside in her opinion
  3. She does not like all the string ties keeping it on
  4. Daughter sneak bought the bikini

On the daughter's side she just cannot see why she cannot have and wear the bikini.

At the moment I am stuck between the two of them, I currently have the bikini for safe keeping, as my wife wants to take a scissors to it and cut it up. How do I resolve this issue as it is causing a great deal of unpleasant feelings in the home?

  • Hi, sorry for the trouble you're having. What have you tried so far in resolving the issue? Have you talked to both parties individually yet? Is this a first time issue of this general type, or is it a common issue between your wife and daughter? What's their relationship like? – Joe Oct 23 '18 at 17:41
  • Also, I removed the picture as it's not relevant to the question ultimately (it's not our job to say if it's appropriate or not - you have to decide that - we can help with how.) I tried to edit the question to a more readable question, please feel free to modify further if I changed the meaning of anything. – Joe Oct 23 '18 at 17:44
  • Thank you for your assistance I am new here so I apologize if the picture was not relevant. Yes I have tried to sit both down but all they end up doing is fighting more about it the garment itself is like a red rag to a bull as far as my wife is concerned – Lovingdad Oct 23 '18 at 17:52
  • Had she tried it with her mother who said no, that she could not buy it? – anongoodnurse Oct 23 '18 at 19:11
  • No it from what I have discovered in discussions was not an issue of being denied the bikini on the shopping trip, but seems rather a lack of thought on daughters part when she purchased it – Lovingdad Oct 23 '18 at 19:31
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How do I resolve this issue as it is causing a great deal of unpleasant feelings in the home?

There isn't much you can do to avoid ruffling a lot of feathers about this except to keep yourself calm and logical in your discussions with your wife and your daughter, and some of this depends on how you've all interacted before in your relationships. However, this seems a good time to either learn critical thinking skills or to put them into action.

There is a fine line between an 'appropriate' bikini and an 'inappropriate' one. First, you need to find out exactly what it is that makes this one so objectionable. Is it that your daughter bought it without her mother's knowledge? If so, that is what you should focus on, not the bikini itself. Had she tried it with her mother who said no, that she could not buy it? If so, that is what you should focus on, not the bikini itself. Is it that your daughter spent money making a decision apart from her mother? If so, that is what you should focus on, not the bikini itself. (I think you get the picture. The real issue isn't likely to be the bikini.)

You state in a comment,

...she does not have an issue with our daughter having a bikini and during the shopping trip there had been no issue of this garment being denied they had looked at a number and had agreed on the two that were purchased.

If none of the above reasons apply, then it might be the bikini. If it is, you need to discuss in private with your wife what makes that particular bikini objectionable. If it is truly a modesty issue, decide where it is logical to draw the line and why, then sit down together with your daughter and present your case. Then listen to your daughter's reply. She may want to have a more fashionable bikini. She may want to have a sexier one. She may want the autonomy to buy one herself. You can't discuss this reasonably until you understand what's going on in your daughter's mind. Then discuss the real issue.

If it's just that ties can come loose and cause an embarrassing situation, who is it going to embarrass? If the answer is only your daughter, instructing her to keep the ties well tied should be enough. If your wife doesn't trust guys to keep from making accidents happen, this needs to be discussed as well.

For example, if she wants to be 'sexier' and you think that's inappropriate, you might want to explore why a young woman her age should not be trying to "look sexy".

The bottom line (in case it's not clear) is that this sounds like an emotional issue right now, but it needs to be explored and the deeper issues dealt with reasonably. That's where critical thinking comes in.

Taking scissors to the bikini is not, in my opinion, a reasonable response, but a very dismissive and punitive one. If she paid for it with her own money, it should not be destroyed. If your wife objects to it that strongly, she should either (after a mutually respectful discussion) forbid your daughter's wearing it yet, or perhaps buy a replacement for it with her. That's much more respectful and less likely to get your daughter's hackles up.

  • My version is that the Bikini was a "SNEAK" purchase, daughter's version is after she purchased it she did not know how to tell mum about it and was still thinking about how when mum found out about it. Mum's big objection is to it is style and lack of coverage and is quite firm that had it been either asked for on the shopping trip or shown to her at time of purchase her answer would still be the same NO it is inappropriate and now having put it against the two bikinis they agreed upon I am tending to agree the bikini will expose way more than needs to be on show in a 15 Year-old girl – Lovingdad Oct 24 '18 at 11:03
  • PS What remains to be done having had a discussion with my wife now regarding this is to both sit down with our daughter and firstly find out why she desired to have this bikini, and then secondly to say that at this moment we are not willing to permit it and perhaps if we can get to an agreement with a similar style but with more coverage if it is the the type of bikini ie side tying bottoms and then reach a solution as to what happens with the offending garment long term My thoughts are to trade the one for the other and then somehow dispose of this one – Lovingdad Oct 24 '18 at 11:18
  • @Lovingdad assuming you come to some conclusion, to "dispose" of this one you could just have your daughter return it. If she bought it with her money then it is fair that she get her money back for the return of it. – BunnyKnitter Oct 24 '18 at 16:24
  • BunnyKnitter I would like that to be possible unfortunately it is not possible to return the bikini to the place of purchase as they have a time limit of 7 days for the return of swimwear. After this they will only look at it if the garment has a manufacturing fault. The intention is therefore on our part to fund a replacement up to 2/3 of the original price in part as a learning curve for her not to do this again – Lovingdad Oct 24 '18 at 18:12
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I personally think the bikini should not be granted to her solely for the reason that she sneakily purchased it after being told she could not.

Usually I would say to let her have the bikini. My parents were pretty lenient with letting my sister and I choose our own styles and fashions, and I really think it did more good than harm. Many people mentioned that you as a father should think about how it makes you feel to consider a 15 - 20 year old boy seeing your daughter in the bikini, and I don’t really like this advice. The reality here is stuff like this will always happen throughout life. Some day your daughter will move out or go off to college, go to a party with boys, whatever. We aren’t going to lock our children in boxes until they are 35 because we don’t like the thought of young boys being attracted to our children. That’s not really something that we can control. The more relevant thing to discuss is that for some reason your daughter wants to wear that bikini. Sometimes kids need to learn and explore life on their own. Keep a tight bond with your daughter built on respect, trust and honesty and maybe she will end up telling you that she actually didn’t like the attention she got when she wears that bikini. Some times you need to cut the kids a little slack and let them explore on their own, but let them know you are right behind them if they need help.

The much bigger issue here is that your daughter thinks a good way to deal with not getting her way is to do it anyways and hope she doesn’t get caught. This could turn into much bigger issues than wanting to wear certain bikinis. Sounds to me like she should have confronted you & mom together and said that her and mom were disagreeing about the bikini, and asked to discuss it as a family.

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    From the OP’s comments above and at another answer I suspect you are possibly working with a false assumption here. While in the question he writes “sneak bought”, the later comment claims that it’s “not an issue of being denied the bikini on the shopping trip” and “during the shopping trip there had been no issue of this garment being denied”. – Stephie Oct 24 '18 at 7:24
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    PS. Apart from the “sanction the disobedience” part (which somewhat contradicts the main part of the answer), I agree. – Stephie Oct 24 '18 at 7:34
  • Prince M The bikini was never an issue when they were shopping together, they agreed on the two that were purchased. My wife's version is it was a "SNEAK" purchase, daughter's is that she did not know how to tell mum she had bought it and was still thinking about how to do this when mum found out about the garment she is not a sneaky girl by nature. But having discussed it with my wife the answer to the bikini itself would have been NO purely because of the garments lack of coverage and having put it against the others I have to say I agree with my wife on this aspect of it – Lovingdad Oct 24 '18 at 11:38
  • Oh, I see now. Thank you both for clarifying. – Prince M Oct 24 '18 at 20:20
  • And @Lovingdad, even though most of my answer was leaning towards letting the child have freedom, I still support parents making executive decisions. If you both agree the bikini is inappropriate, that is an ok thing to enforce. – Prince M Oct 24 '18 at 20:24
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It sounds like this needs to be seperated into two parts.

The Wife

Something is bugging your wife. The obvious answer is, "I think this bikini makes my daughter look like a insert highly-sexualized female type here, and I do not want her to look like this." But there's got to be more to this--does she not like the idea of your daughter exploring sexuality? Does she resent her daughter for wearing such clothing? Everything about the reasons presented tells me she's got some hang up that she's projecting onto your daughter. Until you resolve that hang up and get your wife to articulate it, you're not going to make any headway with her.

Don't put words into her mouth. Instead, try to discuss this with your wife avoiding accusatory language (using the words "you" or "your"), instead phrase it as "I noticed the bikini is causing a lot of conflict. Can we talk about what is upsetting about it?" This makes it a conversation, not an accusation, and will hopefully open the door to better communication.

The Daughter

This one is tricky to tackle at the same time as the wife, but can be done as long as Wife isn't in the room. To me, you don't seem to care much about the bikini, but what you should be concerned about is that your daughter went behind your backs to purchase it. Have a discussion (again, avoiding accusatory language) with her about why she wants the bikini, but more specifically why she went behind your backs to buy it. I suspect you'll learn the mother denied purchasing it during a shopping trip together, and your daughter decided she wanted it anyways.

Did the daughter purchase it with her own money? If so, pursue a return with the store and return the funds to your daughter. If she used her money, she ought to repay you the cost of the bikini. In addition, some consequences should occur from her going behind your backs, but making it clear it's not because of the bikini, that this would happen if she hid the purchase of a candy bar or something similar.

  • I have tried on several occasions to discuss the issue with my wife, she does not have an issue with our daughter having a bikini and during the shopping trip there had been no issue of this garment being denied they had looked at a number and had agreed on the two that were purchased. – Lovingdad Oct 23 '18 at 19:11
  • Our daughter has been spoken to about the sneaked purchase of it and as far as a return goes it is not possible as the time period for this had elapsed prior to the discovery of the bikini and yes she had purchased it out her own money There does not appear to have been any wrong doing intention just a lack of thought on here part from the discussion I have had with her But the issue is that mum says NO WAY you are wearing that at 15. So now i am stuck in between the two with the Bikini that daughter wants to wear and wife wants to take a scissors to. – Lovingdad Oct 23 '18 at 19:22
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    "...what you should be concerned about is that your daughter went behind your backs to purchase it." I don't think it's wrong to want a 15 year old daughter to exhibit a degree of modesty or restraint (where that line is isn't the point of this comment.) I think you're coming down a bit too hard on the mom. – anongoodnurse Oct 23 '18 at 19:38
  • @anongoodnurse Perhaps. It just rubs me the wrong way when someone comes down that strongly without a good reason beyond "I don't like it." Particularly when dealing with setting an example for a child, it's important to me to explain why you feel a certain way so that the child has context to decisions and doesn't believe things are arbitrary decisions. – Marisa Oct 25 '18 at 11:42
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    @Marisa - I agree with you about authoritarianism. I don't care for it either. :) – anongoodnurse Oct 25 '18 at 13:26

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