Tween: "Why do I need to wear a bra?"
Updated: Oct 31, 2019
Tween: "Why do I need to wear a bra?" Wow, they always ask the hardest questions! Some questions are easy to answer, this isn't one of them! Many tweens don't understand why they need to take this necessary first step into bra-land. Pre-teens or tweens (as they often referred to) are maturing earlier and earlier and often need their first bra as young as 10. While the average age to start wearing a bra is 11, all girls hit this milestone at different times, just like other life milestones. Girls younger than 10 can be seen rockin a"cami bra", however once a bit more develops, it's time for something more structured without compromising comfort!
So mamas, what you do say if they ask why? Why do I need to wear a bra? (mostly likely accompanied with an eye-roll). The answer is most likely NOT:
1. "Because I said so". Has that approach really ever worked before?
2. For support? Umm nope, there isn't really much to "support" yet.
3. Society norms. This doesn't really mean much to a tween quite yet, but there is something here, isn't there?
I don't have the magical answer. You should answer this question based on what feels right for you, your family and your beliefs without getting into the trap of body shaming.
Let's explore other answers.
1. Comfort and Protection
A choice to wear a bra or not is often based entirely on her own comfort. Bras provide nipple coverage and protection. At this stage, its about the nipples, which are very sensitive during development. A bra can help protect the nipple from chafing during normal daily activity or sports.
Introducing the concept of modesty could get you in trouble. Should the reason be because other people are uncomfortable seeing your girl buds? Or because boys will look? Because others are not entitled to see that much? Is modesty a bad word? I will leave that up to you, and you may find yourself keeping modesty out of the conversation completely. Tweens are often completely unaware of their nipples showing through her shirt and I really appreciate their innocence, but as a mom it's completely natural to be concerned about how aware others are of her.
3. Social Motivation
I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised to hear that a tween might ask to wear a bra because their friends are. Maybe she has to change her clothes at school, or she is going to sleepovers and a bra may make her feel more comfortable. If either of you notice her friends wearing one, and she if asks to go bra shopping, go ahead and jump right in!
4. Rite of Passage
Why not focus on this as the exciting rite of passage it is? Share with her your first experience and why you wear a bra. Talking to our daughters about the change in their bodies as they grow can be a beautiful moment between a mom and daughter. It's best to be open, understanding and sensitive during these conversations. This will allow your daughter to feel confident and comfortable with her changing body. Your tween may even be excited to wear bras. Positioning it as a rite of passage into womanhood may make them proud to be a woman and have a woman’s body!
Whichever route you take, I know you will be great! Remember, I am here to support you as you support her. Her first bra fitting experience should be exciting, so no more daunting bra shopping or uncomfortable dressing rooms. My studio is safe, welcoming, warm and comforting. And, just in case she asks...no, she doesn't ever have to be naked during our session. (I get that question a lot). Love you all!!
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