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To disagree with swimming teacher over girls having top half on show

(138 Posts)
Charlottehere Fri 16-Aug-13 19:00:56

I don't think I am. Dd, age 4 has just had her weekly swimming lesson. I couldn't find her swimming costume so put her 8 year old sister's on her. The costume was obviously big and hung down on her so one nipple was exposed. Shock.

While dd was in her lesson, a member of the admin staff called me into the office. I was told that female swimming teacher was worried that the male teacher would be embarrassed and it wasn't fair that dd swimming costume was too big and could I make sure she had one that fit next time.

I told him I thought that was ridiculous and have no issue with a 4 year old being uncovered at a swimming pool.

What do you think?

NoComet Fri 16-Aug-13 23:44:41

It's one thing to state all girls wear full costumes for lessons and hence not have to set an arbitrary age for wearing a top.

But complaining about a clearly accidental one off wearing of big sisters costume is down right stupid.

We have, new complicated safe guarding rules for going to the loo in gym classes, DD2 and her DF think they are insane. I very much doubt they obey them.

ICBINEG Sat 17-Aug-13 00:17:43

yup top half covering only 'necessary' after onset of puberty. Presumably 4 is a little young for that even in this day and age....

On the other hand my DH had some sort of 'incident' in Sburys recently because an approx 4 year old was wearing a low cut sparkly, supposed-to-look 'sexy' top that was hanging so low you could see her nipples. This appears to have very nearly caused DH to puke. He said it set up a painful feedback loop involving her being far to young to wear that type of 'revealing/provocative' clothing the fact you could see things you shouldn't be able to if she had had anything to show and the fact that she didn't have anything to show meant the clothing was all wrong....and loop.

Nipples showing from above/below a bikini top is possibly substantially worse than not wearing a top at all. I know that isn't what was going on here...I think it is possible that inadvertent nipple appearance is more of a problem than planned nipple appearance...

good grief really not sure I am making sense.

Emilythornesbff Sat 17-Aug-13 05:58:50

Yes starballbunny that's true. It seems a bit inappropriate to have to mention it at all tbh.

Emilythornesbff Sat 17-Aug-13 06:03:34

kissmehardy no, not the wrong letter. I think it's entirely possible she was projecting her own issues. She may, of course, also have been attempting to protect a colleague from embarrassment / fear of false accusation.

Buddhagirl Sat 17-Aug-13 06:03:59

Ugh since when do we sexualise children so much. She is 4! Who gives a shit!? Lots of people apparently.

Rosa Sat 17-Aug-13 07:09:29

Both mine have spent the past month in bikinipants only ... We are in Italy and this is the norm ...they are 7&4 and nobody blinks an eye.... In dds swimming lessons there have been a few girls in shorts/ pants as well . In shops up to age 7/8 its normal for them only to sell bottoms. We are going to a water parks today and they will probably wear bottoms only .Its up to them.
Think its OTT and babies have to be covered as well...worlds gone mad.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 17-Aug-13 07:30:35

The issue is safeguarding and anyone who works with children is naturally concerned about accusations. It doesn't matter whether it is true or not the "no smoke without fire" brigade will always voice their opinions and a career can be destroyed. I worked with a wonderful man who comforted a child during a thunder storm, the child had taken off his t-shirt because he was hot, accusations were made and although he was totally exonerated the investigation was on-going when he killed himself. Perhaps the OP should just buy a spare swimsuit.

Ilovemyself Sat 17-Aug-13 08:19:10

Well said ilovegeorgeclooney

I feel uncomfortable even with friends children about helping them on slides/ swings/etc and whilst I would love to give them a hug if they are upset I am very concerned about it so don't.

Not because I would ever think about anything inappropriate but because these days people fear the worst and I would hate to be accused of something.

Could it be that what was said was just a poor way of saying he was worried about being accused of things ( or his colleague was worried foR join)

waltzingmathilda Sat 17-Aug-13 08:21:46

For a forum that takes the H&S belts and braces approach to ridiculous limits at times; the reputation and professional reputation of the instructor is paramount in this instance.

Agree with georgecloony

meditrina Sat 17-Aug-13 08:28:17

Notice that Op says two things

a) instructor concerned about causing embarrassment, and
b) it wasn't fair that dd swimming costume was too big

Of course it's not fair - it would impede movement and cause chafing.

You can't assume there would be any comment had the 4year old been in properly fitting trunks, as it's not straightforward toplessness at issue here. And instructors might well find it embarrassing and intrusive of the lesson to be dealing with inappropriately clad pupils.

I hope her own swimsuit has turned up now.

MistressDeeCee Sat 17-Aug-13 08:31:41

I doubt the male teacher said a damn thing. Its just the other teacher being over-zealous here. All Im hoping OP is that your DD wasnt made to feel uncomfortable in any way at all by anybody involved in this scenario.

Gracie990 Sat 17-Aug-13 08:41:38

Haven't read whole thread but...
Have to say if it was exposing her nipple her bottom must have been exposed.

I think this is one of those "oh yes, sorry your right, it was a one off" sort of smile and nod things.

Our pool doesn't allow children to strip in the open plan showers. I have been told off for my three year old stripping. I always do the " oh right, thanks" then ignore them

JustBecauseICan Sat 17-Aug-13 09:16:04

I am also guessing that the posters going on about "shops selling bottoms only" are actually aware that that is the norm for some ranges, and if they move around the stand they will, shock horror, find only tops as well. It's to do with sizing not to do with it being acceptable in some places to run around half nekkid.

5madthings Sat 17-Aug-13 09:30:27

actually dome shops and retailers do sell just bottom half if swimsuits for young children. my daughter has one.

h&m had them in their toddler section, boots did them recently and many online retailers such as boden and jojomamambebe etc.

of course its perfectly acceptable for little children to be half naked ie bottoms covered but not tops.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 17-Aug-13 10:03:35

The fact is not so much the nipple is being revealed but that the instructor was put in the position it might appear that the nipple had been 'uncovered'. People either want strong child protection legislation or not. If, as everyone should, you do then don't get arsey if it requires some effort on the parent as well. How difficult is it to put your child into their own swimsuit! It seems to all be about rights not responsibilities. The instructor should not have been put in this situation by the OP, she made him vulnerable to accusations yet objected to being reminded that her child should be dressed appropriately for an activity.

GangstersLoveToDance Sat 17-Aug-13 10:23:55

I would say the issue was probably more the fact that they expect children to be in properly fitting swimwear.

I have seen both extremes at dcs lessons - girls in costumes that are far too small, showing the nipples at one end and cutting it at the other. Then some kids who blatantly have on costumes far, far too big which are flapping around all over the place - straps coming down etc.

Neither is fair on the child. They are impractical. Take it on the chin and next time make sure your dc have costumes that fit.

BoffinMum Sat 17-Aug-13 10:26:11

YANBU. It's the nudity nazis out in force. What planet are they on?? Embarrassed, FFS? It's not 1910.

extracrunchy Sat 17-Aug-13 10:34:13

That is just WEIRD. As if a male swim teacher would be any more aware of a little girl in a sexual way than he would a little boy! Why would he be embarrassed?!? The female teacher sounds a bit warped tbh.

extracrunchy Sat 17-Aug-13 10:36:32

Honestly... Uncovered little girl chests are no less decent than uncovered little boy chests! It's the same weirdness with bikinis for little girls - they're not boobs ffs! They're just nipples like boys have and they are in no way sexual.

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Sat 17-Aug-13 10:47:22

I completely understand the pool covering their backs with this one. The male teacher didnt say anything it was a female who brought it to your attention.

I think you have to accept that it is not suitable for a 4 yr old wearing a 8 year old costume whilst having a lesson, I'm sure it would have been baggy all over and not just the upper half.

What will be next? A flash mob taking over the pool with half dressed 4 year olds? grin

Fakebook Sat 17-Aug-13 10:49:29

So what age do we start teaching our children to keep their private bits private?

I was talking about this to a friend yesterday and both our daughters are 5 and know that you don't show/flash your bottom to strangers and they knew this from age 4 when they started school.

I don't think the issue is the male swimming instructor here, the issue is that it's not fair on your daughter and I bet more than her nipples were showing whilst swimming if the costume hung down.

extracrunchy Sat 17-Aug-13 10:50:45

Bottom half definitely not ok - were her bottoms also baggy?

JustBecauseICan Sat 17-Aug-13 10:57:44

Any swimming instructor would be aware because he/she will have been made to do a rigorous child protection course/training where he/she will have been warned against finding himself accused of maybe even "looking" by the paedo-noics.

No-one is saying that it's not a sad thing that a little girl can't run around in the nuddy, or swim in half a top, they are just saying, as IloveGeorgeClooney is, that you can't have it both ways. Either child protection issues are enforced or it's a free for all. It's the same guidelines covering no photography in swimming pools etc. (only last week my Aunt was moaning that she had gone with her friend to have cuppa in the pool cafe and watch her grandson's swimming lesson, but found she couldn't see because the cafe, open to the general public, but sharing a glass wall with the pool, has fitted blinds against the glass wall so people can't come in and sit in the cafe watching the pool- ridiculous, yes, safeguarding abso-fucking-lutely)

Ilovemyself Sat 17-Aug-13 10:58:08

I bet all the people saying the. Instructor was in the wrong would be the first to complain if they thought the male instructor was looking at the little girl in a funny way.

Ilovegeorgeclooney you are 100% right. If people want strict child protraction laws they also need to take responsibility for their children and the way they are dressed.

bigbluebus Sat 17-Aug-13 11:03:07

If it's anything like our local pool where DS learned to swim, most of the swimming instructors are 6th formers from the local Secondary school. It is possible that if this was a teenage male swimming instructor, then the female instructor was just 'looking out' for him.

My DS (who is now 16) was at the beach with us the other day (we live inland so don't haven't been to the beach much in recent years). There were a group of children in the sea naked. DS asked me if that was allowed or even considered decent. I explained that as the children all looked under 5, then I couldn't see a problem with it at all, and in the good old days we would all have done it at that age.

So I think it is the perception of what is considered acceptable that has changed now - and not necessarily always for the better.

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