Ask Maggie: How Do I Get My 10-Year-Old to Wear a Bra?

August 6, 2019

Dear Maggie,

My daughter is 10 and about to start a new school year, and she needs to start wearing a training bra. How do I tell her this, without making her feel awkward about her changing body?

Dear Bra-Less in Seattle,

When you figure this out, please have your 10-year-old text my 10-year-old that it’s cool to get started on this next phase.  

K, bye. 

Just kidding. Bodies might be ready but sometimes our little fleurs are not quite ready emotionally or mentally for this terribly awkward time.

No amount of trendy sports bras or camisoles can make a 10-year-old feel good in her weirdly changing-right-before-her-own-eyes! -- skin. They feel on display. So I don’t ever think that forcing them to do something is the right route, but I get what you're saying.  

Not that you asked, but I’ve always found that the more matter of fact, less stuffy, direct approach I’ve taken with my kids has made taboo topics like menstrual cycles, bras, sex, pregnancy, girl and boy bits — not as weird. I remember reading books like "Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret," to find the crucial answers I needed, like it was some big secret! And well… I felt ashamed and like it was all a big secret! Holy no thank you! 

So I encourage you, however you decide to do it — to keep it out of the awkward zone. Make it a part of daily life. It’s really much simpler these days to offer undergarment options and teach her how to layer in a way that doesn’t scream LOOK AT MY NEW BRA. 

But make sure that you take care of the underlying awkwardness that she might be feeling by letting her know this growing up stuff is awesome in at least some ways. No big deal at all.  

My own plan is to say that fifth grade is for big kids. And big kids must wear appropriate undergarments.