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Parent ‘Hood: Girl, 13, spends her money on flashy bras

Your 13-year-old is spending her money on flashy, colorful bras. Does this mean anything?

Parent advice (from our panel of staff contributors):

“Not at all. It’s a rite of passage for 13-year-old girls. The fact that she wants them to be flashy and colorful doesn’t mean she is going to flaunt the bras. Blame it on Victoria’s Secret for inspiring her. Let your daughter enjoy her developmental milestone.”

– Brenda Richardson

“I’d be more worried about the spending part than the bra part. Every teenage girl wears colorful, even outrageous underwear. But if that’s where all her money goes, it’s time for a talk.”

– Ellen Warren

Expert advice:

“It’s not like when we grew up, and it was all white or beige or – if you were really lucky – days-of-the-week underwear,” says clinical psychologist Roni Cohen-Sandler, author of “Stressed-Out Girls: Helping Them Thrive in the Age of Pressure” (Penguin). “This is the norm now.”

Your teen’s embracing a period of life that can be pretty angsty.

“I think it’s wonderful that she has found a way to be comfortable with her new body,” Cohen-Sandler says. “When girls experience puberty and their breasts start growing, some are more comfortable with it than others. I love that she has embraced wearing bras and found a way to take care of her body and dress in an appropriate and fun way by experimenting with something that’s invisible to most other people.”

If the fear is that the bra is actually visible to other people – and not just in the locker room – that’s a topic you should certainly explore with her. “If the concern is that this might be a sign of something sexual going on, you’re hopefully going on more evidence,” Cohen-Sandler says.

“A bra itself would not bring me concern unless it’s in the context of many other things,” she says. “I think she’s buying them because they’re fun and she can make a fashion statement in a quiet way that’s cute and fun and lets her feel good about herself.”

– Chicago Tribune