As clothing fashions continue to promote more revealing clothing, it's important as parents to nurture healthy self image in our daughters, teaching modesty. We can help them learn how a woman can be beautiful and modest at the same time. Although this was originally written in 2011, the struggle continues (maybe even worse).Let's take look into this continuing challenge as parents.
Lingerie for little girls…Really?
Teresa (August 18.2011) Updated for February, 2020.
I recently heard a French company introduced a line of lingerie for little girls aged 4-12. Honestly I do have issue with this. I am the mom of 3 girls and 2 of them are 8 and 7. Now, I have bought them cute underwear and bra sets. But they are a far cry from what is on this company sells. When shopping for my girls I choose cotton in pretty colors. They have age appropriate images on them like cute animals and such. Very basic in design and modest.
However, this company in question designs under garments made of shiny fabrics like silks and heavily influenced by adult lingerie. I have always had a problem with adult fashions being made in children’s sizes. Now, I am not a prude by any standard, but I don’t see the need to sexualize clothes for little girls. I think you are just inviting problems when you do.
My little girls love frilly things, skirts, dresses and the such, heck they love to run around in their underwear at home. But as they are growing up I don’t want them to think that is appropriate to wear short short skirts or low low shirts. I am applaud at some of the clothes I see teen girls wearing. Honestly they look like street walkers. I do not want my girls looking like that.
My girls love a couple of favorite shows on TV. Luckily in both shows, I have to say I love the way the girls dress on there. They do a lot of layers and the clothes are not revealing. I think that is why I love shopping at Target so much. I think the Target kids department has a great line for girls. They are trendy and stylish but very appropriate and girly.
Tips on Teaching Modesty to Our Girls
First discuss guidelines with your spouse. Set some values and guidelines you can both agree to. Then as your daughter grows talk about what it means to dress modestly. Sure, at first, you want to make it simple. And be sure not do it in a way that would develop in body shame. This helps prevent struggles before they arise. When she is about 10-11 have a talk together with her; explain to her at what age she can wear makeup, wear shoes with heels, and other rules for clothing. Teaching patience along with this can be helpful in many ways during this period of development.
Help Her Understand Why
Don't just lay down a list of rules. There's more to teaching modesty than layout a list of rules. Explain why they are good choices to practice. Discuss safety and how some clothing attracts the wrong people and can create potential dangers. You don't want her so scared she's afraid to go outside, but she also needs to know there are dangers out there and how she can protect herself.
Help her learn that modesty is deeper than what you wear. What you wear is a reflection of your heart and values for the world to see. Help your daughter to develop a strong sense of self-worth and modesty from which she can shine through her strengths and values instead of letting clothing emulate a false image.
Boost Self Esteem
As I mentioned a moment ago, one's self worth is important when it comes to picking out clothing to wear. We like our clothes to reflect who we are and what we love. The more self confident you become the less you feel the need to let your clothing to the talking for you. Instead, your self confidence and values do the talking. Remember to build your daughter's self esteem up. Encourage her to pursue her gifts and interests. Teach her to face failures as learning moments not short comings. Those are core areas of teaching modesty, not just in dress but in how you behave in front of others.
Remind her often that she is loved for who she is no matter what she looks like or how many friends she has. The more she learns to value who God made her, her character, her uniqueness, the more she will understand that she doesn't need risque clothing that only builds up a false identity.
Replace Negative Influences
As her mom, you are her first influence. So model yourself after what you aspire to your daughter to be. Secondly, encourage relationships with others who are like minded. That can be kids her age, of course, but it includes other adults, besides you, to have as role models. Find social activities that allow her to meet others who share the same ideas and values. If you come across negative influences from the media, toys, or people, talk about it with her and help her find better alternatives. Do just say, “hey you aren't watching that show!” Instead calmly discuss it help her to understand in a way she'll begin to make her own healthy choices.
Your goal is nurture her good values. Help strengthen her self-image. Then she will be able to make healthy life choices when you aren't around.
Shop with Her
Let you daughter have an active role in choosing her wardrobe. She can learn to make nice choices and have a deeper sense of ownership with her outfits. It gives you the chance to show her modest fashion ideas that she can use and feel good about what she wears. Help her choose clothing that reflect her values and personality without compromising to get attention. Provide creative ideas to mix tank tops with t shirts underneath or wear some awesome leggings under a short skirt. That way she gets some of the “in-style” stuff without showing too much. As long as she understands she won't be wearing those solo.
Find a Common Ground That Works for Your Family
Every child and family is unique. We all have different limitations and ideas when it comes to modesty. Some prefer daughters wear only dresses and skirts below the knee or calf. Others are okay with anything as long as it's not super short. My experience was raising a girl who prefers jeans and T-shirts instead of dresses and skirts. Therefore, teaching modesty is unique for each family. The goal we all have is: raise up women who are self confident, have a healthy self esteem, and able to make educated clothing choices that reflect values of modest and self-worth. Because when they are able to decide for themselves, they own it, rather than having rely on you for all the decisions.