modesty is a mother’s, and daughter’s, best friend

Last week while in the dressing room of a clothing store, I couldn’t help but overhear a mom, grandma
and miniature fashionista in the room next to me. They were doing their annual back-to-school
shopping.

The mom and grandma were going back and forth with, “how cute!” as the young girl would cheer, “I
love it!” And then just like it was taken out of my stockpile of back-to-school shopping memories, the
mom and grandma repeatedly told the girl, “Now remember, you can’t wear this until school starts.”

I was trying not to laugh out loud.

As I was reminiscing, and frankly, missing that my mom and grandma weren’t there to tell me “how
cute!” I looked and buy the pile of clothing sitting in front of me, something caught my attention.

After trying another outfit on and telling mom and grandma that it was “her favorite!” they both
replied, “No, it is too tight and not appropriate.” You can imagine the response of a pre-teen not getting
the outfit that she imagined would win the friendship of the popular girls and the hearts of the boys.

But, the mom and grandma stuck to it.

I look forward to the days of school shopping with my daughter, and while I don’t look forward to
unleashed diva tantrums (which I fully deserve for what I did to my parents), this mom and grandma
encouraged me that even though saying “no” will put you at war with society and with your own child at
times, you are beginning to shape their self-worth and building a guard against social pressures.

“Girls are under enormous pressures…Today’s little girls are being enticed to grow up too fast and are
encountering challenges for which they are totally unprepared,” wrote Dr. James Dobson.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, girls begin to worry about their
body image as early as five and six-years-old. 40 percent of nine-and-ten-year-old girls have attempted
to lose weight and by fifteen, more than 60 percent will use destructive methods to losing weight
such as anorexia and bulimia. Yes, there are little kindergarteners becoming anorexic and wanting to
look “sexy.”

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that thinks this is OK and is pumping promiscuity to our young
children.

Last year, Science Daily published that out of fifteen popular US stores selling children’s clothing,
30 percent of that clothing was defined as “sexualizing.” For example, the store Abercrombie Kids
marketed little girls’ thongs printed with suggestive slogans, a push-up bra bikini for 8-year-olds and
little girls’ yoga pants named “cute butt yoga sweat pants.”

Children aren’t buying these items – parents are. Therefore it is our responsibility to teach them about
modesty and true beauty and not give in to the frustration or empathy that can take over. Fathers, it is
up to you whether your daughter leaves the house how she is dressed.

The American Psychological Association warns that sexualizing children leads to eating disorders, low
self-esteem and depression. By setting a standard and enforcing it, even if it causes an unleashed diva
tantrum in the H&M dressing room – that will be easier than trying to boost your teenager’s self-esteem
later.

I plan on fighting this battle in order to build up my daughter’s self-worth and confidence. I will fight
because I don’t want my five, ten or even fifteen-year-old to be considered “sexy” or attract the lustful
attention and a lot of the time, the unintended attention of boys and men – attention that can be a
matter of her safety.

For someone like me who enjoys fashion – this is doubly hard. I not only need to think about the
message I am sending by what I am picking out for my daughter to wear, but even more so, I need to
think about what I am wearing.

While I will try to be a hip-and-modest momma and lay down the dress code law, I know at times I
will fail. This is where a relationship with God giving us mother’s strength and wisdom, and giving our
children instruction and an image of grace and true beauty will take root.

Someone I admired for fashion, Audrey Hepburn, said:

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she
combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart,
the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she
lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”

Words in Action by mom Bethany Schricker of Sutherlin

The biggest thing that I try to teach my daughter is how to enjoy beauty and beautiful things without
being preoccupied with her own beauty. Once she can appreciate beauty and knows what she likes,
it’s easier to fit into modest guidelines. For example, she loves the color pink, loves skirts, and loves
Hello Kitty. Earlier this summer, we were swimsuit shopping for her, and we found an adorable little
Hello Kitty bikini. It was pink, had a little skirt ruffle, and Ariana (3) had to have it. But, this mommy isn’t
cool with babies in bikinis, so we talked about the elements that she loved (pink, skirt, Hello Kitty), and
shopped around for a one-piece that had those elements. We had a teachable moment about modesty
without killing her dreams of a cute swimsuit. I try to use that principal in all her clothing choices. We
can usually figure out what elements she loves and capture the essence of that without compromising
on modesty.

As seen in The News-Review, Aug. 19
Sources:
Dobson, Dr. James. Bringing Up Girls.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509091420.htm
http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/393585_Preteen-girls-sold-on-revealing-
clothing.html#ixzz23TsXfnou
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3 thoughts on “modesty is a mother’s, and daughter’s, best friend

  1. Love this post! I agree with every bit of it. We have been raising our girls from the beginning to be modest and respectful of their bodies. What they wear and what they put into their bodies. Their bodies are a gift from God and it is important that they protect it and take care of it. Peyton, now four, knows what is acceptable dress and what isn’t. Starting young is the key so they know no different when they are older. Teaching her to be confident in her decisions about her body now will hopefully insure her ability to make the right decisions when she gets older no matter what others believe. she will also be a good example to those around her, especially her little sister.

  2. Thank you soooo much for this. Saw it in a copy of the News Review and was just thrilled that you were able to bring up this subject. I have a daughter myself and we are always wishing that fashion for girls her age was more modest. Again, thank you!

  3. Well said, and such a very important topic. We want our girls to be healthy ~ inside and out. Thanks for reminding moms (and all family members) to be part of pointing our girls to positive choices As a former junior high school teacher, I know from experience that this topic can’t be over-emphasized. Our girls need help and loving guidance, especially in our present culture. Thank you!

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