An Open Letter to Parents

Dear Other Parents,

I respect the fact that we all have to do what is best for our kids. There is no secret formula for success. In my short time as a father, I’ve already discovered that much of the parenting advice I’ve received hasn’t worked for us. That doesn’t mean it’s bad advice in general, it just means it’s bad advice for us. Parenting, as I’ve always believed, is a very specialized and specified sort of activity. So there’s my disclaimer, or qualifier, or whatever you want to call it.

Now here’s the “but.” BUT it’s never best for your 9 year old daughter to wear a bikini. That’s literally never the right option. There is no secret formula for success, but there is a not-so-secret formula for failure — and that’s it, or part of it anyway. I was at the pool a few days ago and I saw a father walk in with his young daughter. The girl couldn’t have been any older than 8 or 9. Naturally, she was wearing a skimpy string bikini. How emasculated has a man become when he’s too afraid to stand up to his own 5th grade child and tell her she isn’t allowed to wear a couple pieces of yarn as a bathing suit? Well, either he’s too spineless to say no, or too confused to know that he should say no. I’m not sure which is worse.

Let’s be fair about this. Let’s list the pros and cons of letting your young child dress like a JV Victoria’s Secret wannabe. Cons: 1.You’ve just participated in the sexualization of your own child. 2. You’ve officially ruled out the possibility of ever teaching her to be modest. 3. You’re exposing her and embarrassing yourself in the process. 4. Pedophiles exist, even if you like to pretend they don’t. 5. SHE’S A FREAKING CHILD.

Pros: 1. Uh, well, um…. Well, first there’s… Hmmm… Ok, well your kid gets to do what she wants. That’s nice, I guess. 2. …Yeah, that’s it. That’s all I got. And, actually, the one pro leads directly to another con: 6.You don’t know how to say “no” to your daughter, which means you can’t expect her to ever learn how to say it herself when the time comes. And we know where that leads. Well, most of us know where that leads. But if you’re dumb enough to put your elementary schooler in a string bikini, maybe you need someone to spell it out for you.

I can’t stand the parents who justify bringing their scantily clad children out in public by saying, “Hey, but she likes to dress this way!” Oh, your kid likes it, you say? Well, surely that changes everything! Hell, when I was a kid I liked to play with matches. I also liked to eat Pixie Stix for every meal. I liked to throw water balloons inside the house. I liked to do a lot of stupid things. But you know what? My parents forced me to do what I SHOULD do, not what I WANTED to do. Pfffft. What party pooper, amiright?

One more thing. I’m not into the whole “it takes a village” deal. With that said, it helps if the village is at least on the same page about a few things. If you let your daughter dress like a showgirl, then the next guy’s daughter is going to want to do the same, and so on. Sure, I’d have no problem saying no, but, for goodness sake, can you work with me a little here? Some parents are actually trying to teach their kids about things like modesty, discipline, morality and chastity, yet they’ve got to deal with every other parent who tells their kids “hey, screw that noise, flaunt it if you got it, sista!” I mean, I’m just asking if you could, like, maybe not try to undo and dismantle every positive message and lesson we try to pass onto our kids. Please? Pretty please?

No? Didn’t think so.

Well, I tried.

Thanks anyway,


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6 Responses to An Open Letter to Parents

  1. mmburnett says:

    Unfortunately, I think the truth is even more insidious. It’s not just parents *allowing* their children to dress like call-girls. It often goes as far as parents–mothers in particular–encouraging their daughters to dress immodestly. It’s tragic, but I think some vicarious living comes into it: insecure women get a kick out of seeing their little girls in sexy outfits, which leaves some fathers with the unfortunate task of standing up to all the women in their household, and many of these just won’t do it.

  2. Megan says:

    You’re trying to teach a nine-year-old kid about chastity? Oh, god- that’s not ironic at all; is it? :-p

  3. Glen says:

    He’s been a parent five minutes and he’s already dishing out parental advice with a straight face!

    You missed your calling in life Matt stand up comedy is your calling. You would be the worlds first 100% unintentional stand up comedian. Get up on stage and spout the drivel you write here and people would be in hysterics in seconds.

    • Kristen says:

      Glen, I recently found this blog and started reading a lot of older posts. It seems like you frequently comment on them and it’s always negative. It’s clear you’re an atheist and hate most of what Matt stands for and says, so why do you spend time reading his blog? And who cares if he’s a new father, why do you have to even be a parent to know you shouldn’t dress your little girls that way?

    • Lisa Reynoso says:

      I’ve been a parent for 7 years, and I completely agree with him. Sure, I think he’d make a great stand-up comedian, but that’s not the point. He is right. And I think point #4 is huge. But apparently you didn’t take note of his cons, just decided he was too new to parenting to be sharing parenting advice.

      The problem is, if he doesn’t know what standards he’s going to enforce for his kids, how do we know he’s ready to be one?

  4. Leon says:

    Been looking for some cool types of clothes
    for my daughter, it seems like fashion for those under 5’s is severely lacking style!

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