“Isn’t this

a great outfit?” she asks.

All you see is bare skin—lots of it. In a moment of truth like this, there are some things you should say . . . and some things that are better off left unsaid.

Here are some tips:

• Talk about school rules. Many schools don’t allow girls to wear clothes that leave their navels bare. Check out the school dress code.

• Compromise if you can. If you can’t abide the shirt your daughter has picked out, see if there’s another one you can live with.

• Pull rank. You’re the parent, and sometimes it’s your job to say no.

• Talk about the messages that clothes send. Your daughter thinks the outfit says, “This is a stylish person.” Others may read quite a different message in suggestive clothing. Talk openly about the sexual message that clothes like these send.

There are some things it’s best not to say while you’re talking about clothes. They include:

• Comments about weight. Teenage girls are very sensitive about their body image.

• Name-calling. You may have strong feelings about girls who dress a certain way. Keep those feelings to yourself. Say something general, like, “I think those clothes are inappropriate.”


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