Raising teenaged daughters is already a tough assignment, with the occasional emotional outbursts, unending emotional support for pursuits as they grow to adulthood, and financial support for all their clothes and accessories. Along with those matters of the heart there is also the task of teaching difficult topics, like why it’s important to save our virginity until we are married, or the importance of arriving home by midnight from a date or party. Modesty is another one of those topics.
Young girls are influenced by what they see in the latest teen magazines and even adult fashion which makes them feel important. As parents, we must teach these youth how important modesty in dress, speech and action really is. This seems to be a national issue as there are several women outspoken on this topic.
One young woman, Jessica Rey has achieved a great following after appearing on television and the movie screen. She even finished an MBA and now designs her own line of modest swim suits and promotes modesty around the country to young women.
She is worthy of every mother’s attention, especially if they have daughters. As she says, “Dressing modestly does not have to be frumpy and old. There is so much more to clothing than ‘itsy bitsy.’” She is a wonderful example of using education and ideals to help others. There are plenty of beautiful modest clothes which will feel more comfortable than any “itsy bitsy” fashion.
If we want our daughters to dress modestly and with dignity then we have to talk with them about clothes and what is modest. We need to go on trips to the mall to point out what is appropriate to wear and what isn’t. Once we instill this ideal in their minds, they will be free from worldly attempts to imitate scantily made clothing which just invites trouble. The starting age for such talks can be as young as eight as girls are maturing faster in modern society.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints For the Strength of Youth pamphlet says: “Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to ‘glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit’” (See1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19).
With summer around the corner, bathing suites, strapless shirts, and short shorts are sure to be on the shopping list of many girls. There are two very valuable principles which will help our girls understand how important modest dress can be:
1. You teach people how to treat you. Meaning if you wear something so skimpy it’s uncomfortable, you will be treated as a person who wears skimpy clothes: not with much respect.
2. Whatever bait you use determines the type of fish you’ll catch. This couldn’t ring truer. Just because we show our bodies doesn’t mean we will attract the right kind of person. We will not only get the wrong kind of attention but what nice guy will want to pursue a girl who dresses immodestly to show off her body?
More from The Strength of Youth pamphlet:
“Our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us.”
We can teach our daughter to be leaders. We can teach them to set their own standard and follow their own style of modesty. They don’t have to follow the crowd and imitate the immodesty out there. They can take charge of their life and find clothes that are modest, stylish and appropriate to wear.
I love what Louisa May Alcott says in Little Women:
“You have a good many little gifts and virtues, but there is no need of parading them, for conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long, and the great charm of all power is modesty.”
Pray for your daughters’ hearts to be softened for understanding in modesty. Pray for the right words to say for your daughter to hear. This aspect of a young woman is so important and greatly needed to be addressed by all parents. We can do so much good to influence how our daughters will grow to adulthood if we take the time to talk about modesty. Modesty is the best policy.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.