Ok, so I am only partially joking…maybe I am the only one who feels that way a lot of the time. Honestly, modesty is a subject that can be tough to tackle with our daughters. We’re afraid that we will come across as old fashioned, out of sync with the times or be voted “meanest parent in the world.”
And yet there are few things that affect a girls self esteem more than how she looks, or how she thinks she looks. Especially during those middle school years when they seem to spend more time on hair, makeup and clothes than they do on their homework assignments.
For some of my girls they might spend 10-15 minutes on getting ready and be good to go. My other daughter’s? We have to set a timer just so we can get out the door on time. Later in our challenge series we’ll talk about why appearance is such a big deal to our teen girls and why it is so important how we, as parents, choose to react.
But until then…let’s stay on subject.
When my girls were toddlers and in the early years of elementary school, I was always glad that I could still be the one to pick out their clothes…..And if mom said something was cute or pretty they believed me. I could go to the store and bring something home and their was no argument if they were going to wear it or not.
And honestly…..sometimes I still long for those days.
Usually the longing shows up about the same time the “voice” starts…”But Mom, it’s so cute, why can’t I wear it?” and honestly, my response wants to be “Because dear, while it has a pretty front it has absolutely nothing on the back and it leaves little for the imagination.” And don’t even get me started with swim suits. Like my daddy used to say “You wearing that? It’s nothing but two band-aids held together with a piece of string.”
And while we might chuckle, it does seem like today’s fashions leave much to be desired.
Usually though my daughters don’t get very far down the road of “Why can’t I wear this” because I stop and remind them of the conversations we have had in regards to why we feel certain clothing is not appropriate.
Early on, when each girls was 8-9 years old, I started to have discussions about modesty…what it was and what it wasn’t. Because honestly, being modest in dress goes way beyond the clothes our daughters choose to put on their bodies. Modesty has more to do with a girl, her self-esteem and how she sees herself…but most of all how she respects herself.
But it’s not just about respecting themselves…it’s also about respecting those around them…especially respecting the young men around them.
I know many young men who work hard at remaining godly….and yet when the girls around them dress in clothes that are not appropriate it can cause them to struggle to remain godly.
As a parent I pray often for my daughters future spouse, that he would be a strong and godly young man…..and yet if I fail to teach my daughter the value of modesty now and allow her to dress in a way that dis-respects herself and the young men around her…then no wonder the wrong kind of guy keeps coming around.
We first have to teach modesty inside….before we can teach modesty outside. It has to become an inward decision of the heart rather than an outward decision of the eyes.
So as Mom, I am here to help teach and remind my girls of the reasons why we choose to dress nicely but modestly. Why we choose one piece bathing suits over the cute bikini. Why we go for the longer shorts rather than the daisy dukes. Why our spring dresses are a bit longer and the straps are wider than a spaghetti string. It’s not that we can’t wear those things, it’s that we choose not too based on the value we place on ourselves and those around us.
As a parent, I am sure you have your own standards…and each family has to make decisions based on what the feel is appropriate. But where I want to challenge you is in this….. Be your daughter’s advocate not her latest enemy when it comes to modesty.
Be bold enough to talk with her about why dressing a certain way attracts the boys….and not alway the right kind. Be bold and honest enough to say “I don’t feel this is appropriate and this is why.” Be bold enough to say “I care about your heart enough to be honest with you about how you look.”
I truly think our girls want and need to hear honest feedback when it comes to how they look and what they wear. Instead of it becoming a boundary they press to be free from I pray that it is a boundary that offers them safety as they grow into godly young ladies.
So I challenge you…have you been honest with your daughter about what modesty is really all about? Why you desire for her to dress beautifully but appropriately? And in doing so, how she honors and respects herself, but also those around her as well?
It can be a tough conversation…I get that. But know that you are not alone and that I am praying for you as you broach this delicate subject.
Just recently I found a great resource through a Women’s Leadership group I am a part of. Teresa Coelho, a mom of four girls, has an amazing ministry to tween and teen girls and speaks and writes about many different issues teen girls face today. Her website is called Power of Modesty and can be found Here. If you want to know more about Teresa and her background you can check that out here. All in all a great resource for Parents and teens as they navigate this amazing time of teen-hood.
May we not grow weary in doing all we can to capture the hearts of our daughters! Keep pressing in and know I am right there in the trenches with you!
I Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment here on the blog, on the Fearless Heart Facebook Page or send your thoughts to my e-mail at email@example.com