Should toddlers cover up in public?
My wife and I discussed the issue the other day after a snorkeling trip in Key West. A little girl on the boat with us, no more than 4 years old, was with her father on the same excursion, and she wasn’t wearing a top.
I’ve never raised a toddler daughter; my stepkids are in their teens, and the younger of the two was 11 when I met them. But I did ask my wife whether she ever allowed them to be in public without a top, and until what age. Her response: no way. Not in public.
Clearly, the issue has a cultural component. I heard the toddler’s dad speaking a language I didn’t recognize, so it’s likely they were from someplace less inhibited than the United States can be. But still, this trip was in the United States. Should this dad have recognized that? You know, put the other half of the bathing suit on the kid?
Topless toddlers raise a slew of questions, of course. Like why did I think she should have a top on when I wasn’t wearing one? Why is it okay for little boys, and big boys, but not big girls? And when is a little girl big enough that a top becomes a necessity?
Paranoia about pedophiles comes into play as well, but that doesn’t address the gender imbalance here. I mean, do pedophiles really distinguish between a topless boy and a topless girl?
Would you have said something to the dad? None of us did, and we all survived the “trauma” of being on the same boat as a topless toddler. I’m really just raising the question for conversation’s sake. At what point do we need to tell our little girls to cover up in public?