Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is Dressing Modestly Still Important?

No Thank You
Spring is almost here and my favorite stores already have bathing suits on the sales racks. Seeing them reminded me of conversations I had with my daughter last summer regarding swimwear. She asked for a two-piece bathing suit last summer. I said “sure” thinking that she wanted a tank top and the little shorts for a bottom. Well, was I totally wrong! When we got to the store she had a fit because in her mind I had already promised her but I just could not buy my 4 year-old a bikini! Then I had to hear the sob story of all her friends at school wear them. Sure enough – we go to the pool party and a few of her friends had on bikinis.

It really scares me to see that dressing modestly is a topic of discussion mainly in only religious settings. I am not very religious now but I still see value in dressing at least a little modest but it feels like I am the only non-religious mother trying to instill it into my children. It’s turning me into that mean mom that doesn't let her daughter wear what she wants. My daughter is 5 and has already said that to me a few times! The next 13 years are going to be rough.

That's a little better!
I don’t think I need to go into detail as to why dressing our daughters modestly is important. Just think if you wore clothing similar to what you put on your young daughter and walk around town – how would you feel? Safe? Comfortable? How about when a man aggressively hits on you (and it will happen!). Think about your daughter having to deal with those same feelings and situations. Now, how do you feel about dressing modestly? I don't mean to be so harsh, I just want to show the reality of the situation.

On an lighter note, it really isn't too hard to persuade your daughters into dressing  modestly. Mostly you just have to be a good role model for her. It's also helpful to:
  • Start early: You can't put a bikini on your daughter every summer since she was born then suddenly at 14 years old tell her to cover up. If "modest" dressing is all she knows, she likely won't push for more revealing clothing. I grew up in a very religious home and spent my entire childhood covered up - not even the collar bone showing. I actually didn't even give much thought to showing more skin until I was around 16/17 years old.
  • Have a open, frank discussion: If your daughter is resistant to dressing modestly, have an age-appropriate discussion about your concerns for her comfort & safety. My daughter is only 5 years old so I only mentioned her not be comfortable trying to run or play in tight/reveling clothing. If you feel you daughter is old enough and can handle the topic, tell her about the serious dangers dressing provocatively brings. It might make you both uneasy but you know it needs to be addressed.
  • Find similar styles: If there is a certain mini skirt you daughter is begging to have, compromise. Go online and find one in a similar style/print that's a little (or a lot) longer. The websites PopSugar Shopping is great for specific searches like that.
  • Expect rebellion: When she's older, she will likely rebel from everything you have taught her. If my mother is reading this post I bet she's is laughing her head off right now because I was (am) the epitome of rebellion. For a long time I totally went against everything my parents ever taught me. If/when your daughter does this - just take a deep breath and wait, she will be back eventually.

Do you have tips or advice for moms trying to keep their daughters dressing modestly? Please share in the comment section below


  1. Great blog post!! It's funny, my parents were quite liberal with how I dressed (I grew up in the 80's in a very redneck community) and they allowed me to shave 1/2 my head bald, checkerboard, you name it, plus wear my dad's ratty old jeans etc. (They knew I was just experimenting with who I was). However, I never dressed in a way that would have put myself at risk for being targeted by the opposite sex and I don't think they would have allowed that. And sometimes, like you say, compromise is good. If kids feel like they have some control over what they do, they aren't as likely to make as big a deal over every little thing. And being open and honest with your kids in discussing the reasons why it's important to dress in an appropriate manner is always a good thing!

    Jody from

    1. Jody, thanks for sharing your experience. I have to applaud your parents for letting you express yourself. Depending on my daughters age, I'd like to think I could be as open minded but I guess I will just have to wait and see.

  2. I don't have little girls (two boys, 4 and 2) but I cringe every time I see a little girl dressed older-then-her-years. Or worse, in something that would be inappropriate for even an adult...small bikinis, teeny tiny short-shorts, too tight and too low/high shirts. Makes me wonder what the mother is thinking..."I want my little girl to dress like a Kardashian"? I'd rather dress my girl as Princess Kate! (Sans nude beach photos, of course!)

    And I found this line so true... "If/when your daughter does this - just take a deep breath and wait, she will be back eventually." There's so much that my parents instilled in me at an early age that I rebelled from when I was in that "stage" but I've come back around to really appreciate the lessons.

  3. I really am going to have a hard time buying clothes for my daughter this summer. The older she gets, the smaller the clothes get at the stores! I just know she is going to tell me I'm mean but I just cannot let her wear certain things.

    I think rebellion against parents is just a natural process of life. I come from a long line of rebellious daughters lol!

    Thanks for commenting! :-)

  4. Awesome post! There are so many good points that you make. I have two step-daughters and it was difficult trying to find a modest dress for the prom 5 years ago!

    I often look at the young girls today and worry about them. I know it is hard to find modest clothes but my goodness letting them run around half naked is just not acceptable. I am proud of you for saying no to your daughter. That is the first step that so many parents seem to be scared of these days.

    You are right, she will rebel, she will tell you that you are mean but as my mom told me and as I tell my kids now, "I am your mom. It is part of my job to be mean!" Just think of the day when she will hug you and tell you thank you for instilling solid principals in her while she was growing up.

    Keep up the good job...parenting is tough but our little ones are so worth the effort!

    Sheri at Sensibly Green Mama

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. I hate being "mean mom" but I know it is for the best. Motherhood is such a guessing game, it's nice to hear other moms feel the same way as I do. Thanks again!

  5. My cousin posted this on Facebook and it made me think of your post:

    An incident transpired when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were quite revealing. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:
    “When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila..., and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

    1. Wow, that is such a great story! I will have to remember that.