Don’t mess with Melissa Gorga! The Real Housewives of New Jersey starlet is defending her parenting skills after her daughter was criticized for wearing a revealing red dress at her eighth grade dance.

“Here’s the thing: she drinks a lot of milk. Her body is incredible, God bless her. I try to keep her young,” the 40-year-old told In Touch exclusively at the novelle Grand Opening Celebration at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on Saturday, June 22. “I’m that mom that is very strict. I don’t let my daughter out, but she wanted to wear a red dress. All the girls were wearing the short styles, and I let her wear what everybody was wearing. She was very on par, and I know that people are like, ‘She doesn’t look like the average eighth grader.’ And you know what, it’s just who she is. It’s who she is.”

On June 13, the mom of three uploaded a snap of herself with her 13-year-old daughter, Antonia, before a school event, but fans thought the dress was a little too scandalous. “And just like, she’s off to the eighth grade dance,” the New Jersey native wrote on Instagram. “I can’t believe she’ll be in high school next year … I’m so proud of the strong, good hearted, athletic young lady she has turned into. #MyOnlyGirl.”

Of course, some people couldn’t help but share their thoughts on the outfit. One person wrote, “She’s beautiful, but what happened to girls being girls? She is dressed like a woman and not a child of 13? Not criticizing but world moving too fast for the children,” while another echoed, “Kids are kids for such a small sliver of time and adults want to make them adults, and it’s sad. Yes, she’s beautiful but that dress is for a 21-year-old at a club, not an eighth grade dance.”

But the brunette beauty has no regrets about uploading the picture to social media. “I thought she looked classy and beautiful, and she’s such a well-behaved, amazing child that she can honestly wear anything, and she can pull it off,” she added.

The TV personality is also very proud of her little girl — especially for dealing with these types of situations in front of the whole world. “I think Antonia is so great at being in the spotlight. Like I just said, she’s been in the spotlight since she was 5, and now she’s going to high school, and she doesn’t know anything other than being on reality TV,” she said. “And I think she’s done an amazing job right up to the point that she’s never even made an Instagram where people can follow her. She’s all private. She’s not that girl.”

Even though some kids wouldn’t be happy with having their family featured on television, it seems like Antonia doesn’t mind. “She’s a good kid, and I think she really gets it,” Melissa said. “She really understands that there’s this world, and mommy goes to work, and there’s real life where we sit down, we have dinner, and there’s rules, and I’m the boss of the house, and I’m your mother, and I’m not just on TV. So, it’s not easy, but I think I’ve done a really good job at keeping them so normal through all these years.”

You definitely have, girl. Ignore the haters!

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