My Daughter is Too Big For Her Bikini


My Daughter is Too Big For Her Bikini
Mothers have a great deal of influence on how their daughters feel about their bodies and body image

Dear Dr. G.,

First,let me tell you that I am a real perfectionist. My 17 year old daughter,on the other hand, is anything but. She is relaxed fun-loving,and free-spirited.


Here is my dilemma with this child. Obviously, since it is the summer she is showing off her body in all of her new bikinis. I have to tell you that these are beautiful bathing suits but she is too big for these suits. I sort of feel sorry for my daughter. I would be embarrassed to wear these skimpy suits at the beach at her weight. I believe that my daughter is about 5-10 pounds overweight for her height.She seems to think that she looks great.

I want to talk to my daughter about maybe wearing more modest bathing suits. What is stopping me, though, is that I don't want to say anything that will lead her to develop an eating disorder. I know that at least one of my daughter's friends has been treated for anorexia nervosa and I definitely don't want this for my daughter. On the other hand, I don't want my daughter to embarrass herself. I don't want the other kids to call her fat or to make fun of her. So far,though,this doesn't seem to be happening.Please, Dr. G. I heard you on the radio talking about teens and body image. Should I address this issue with my daughter or leave well enough alone?

An Embarrassed Mother

Dear Mother,

There are many things in life to be embarrassed about but to me it does not seem like you should be embarrassed by your daughter. In fact, perhaps you should instead feel grateful that she seems to have a healthy body image and a high level of body comfort rather than a negative body image that could lead her down the dreadful road to an eating disorder.

You state that you are a perfectionist. I am not clear what this means about how you feel about your own body but my guess is that you are likely self-critical. Please be careful not to make negative comments about your own body or your daughter's body. These types of comments can be extremely powerful.Your daughter,I am quite sure, is listening very carefully to what you are saying even though this may not appear to be the case. After all, you are her most important role model.

Consider yourself lucky that your teenager does not appear to be among the 8 out of 10 young women who report being unhappy with their bodies by the age of 17.

I suggest that instead of worrying about your daughter, an extra 5 or 10 pounds, and her bathing suits that you focus instead on issues unrelated to her body and appearance. Try talking to your daughter about the activities that she is involved in and her passions. Criticizing her body will lead to nothing good. I am quite sure of that.

My answer to your question of whether or not to address the weight and bathing suit issue is an emphatic NO.

Good Luck,

Dr. G.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Barbara Greenberg



Telephone: 203.246.6741



Television Appearances

Dr. Barbara Greenberg makes regular appearances on talk and advice shows as an expert contributor to discuss critical topics affecting adults, teens and children. (Click here for full listing of notable topics.) Click here for a video sample of her recent appearances.

Speaking Engagements

Dr. Barbara Greenberg provides expert speeches and presentations to large and small audiences from organizations, businesses, and all school levels, including college and above.

Location: Weston, CT
Credentials: PhD
Other Articles/News by Barbara Greenberg:

Beauty: A Blessing And A Curse


You may have looked at the title of this article and gotten a bit confused. Beauty as a curse? It seems impossible! For goodness' sake, is there a woman in the world who would not give her right arm to consider herself beautiful? Don't we all want to get that extra bit of attention those effortlessly radiant women seem to receive so easily? ... Read more

Texting Issues: What We Can Learn From Anthony Weiner


It's funny how two things that you never expect to happen simultaneously do just that; they happen in almost incredible synchronicity. This week I had the pleasure of doing what I do every summer: talking to teens across the world and exploring the trending issues that relate to them. Well, wouldn't you just know it that this summer I was on a ... Read more

Why Are So Many Teen Girls Depressed?


Dear Dr. G., I just read that teen girls are much more likely than teen boys to show signs of depression. This worries me because I have a set of 13 year old fraternal twins and the girl looks like she may be a little sad. Her brother, on the other hand,is happy-go-lucky and nothing can ruin his day. The two of them came into the world differently. My son ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Must-see Videos
Most Popular