How To Teach Your Kids About Modesty {And Why It’s Important}

modestyheader2I was at a BBQ recently with my 4-year-old daughter when she called me over to a little group of teenie-bopper girls she was sitting with. “Mom,” she called in that infamous tell-tale voice, “We’ve got a problem.” Upon my approach, however, I saw no spilled lemonade, everyone was smiling, and there wasn’t a trace of blood anywhere. “What’s the matter?” I asked, confused but not surprised. 4-year-old divas going on 35 always have a problem – they’re like birds. They migrate to find drama and they usually go in flocks.

Somebody,” she began, exaggeratedly peering around the group, “Has shorts on that are TOO short.” She delivered her last line with all the confidence of an old grandmother lecturing those young whipper snappers, and no, to my horror and dismay, there was no way the comment went by unnoticed. It was well heard by everyone in the group. I wanted to melt into the floor. But she was right. Somebody DID have on shorts that were too short, and it was my 4-year-old that had the guile to address the problem.

So where to go from here? I quietly lectured her about the rudeness of openly commenting on other people’s clothing in public while quickly ushering her away from the situation. What else to do? Later we talked about how pointing out something wrong in someone else’s clothing, body, or otherwise could hurt their feelings. But the facts remained, no matter how you sliced it, Miss Teenie-Bopper’s shorts were too short. Innocently enough, they didn’t make the cut, and my daughter, who has recently become familiar with the modesty campaign, was not about to let it slide.

This posed an interesting dilemma for my husband and I to navigate through. I feel like there’s one of those every other day now that we have a child that has strong, developed opinions on EVERYTHING and is not afraid to share them.

Were we right in exposing the indecency of the world to our pre-schooler in order to teach her how to avoid it? We think so. Regardless of whether we address it or not, the exposure will be there. We just want to be the ones to teach her right and wrong about it before society has its say.

I’ve always wondered how I would talk to my girls about modesty. I knew I didn’t want to approach it like some conservative views do, baradeing the female body as an evil weapon and all men as innocent victims incapable of controlling themselves once in the presence of a little bit of leg. In fact, I don’t intend to bring the ‘sexual appropriateness’ aspect into the equation for some time. Years. Like, a decade.

modesty2However, when my daughter started learning about things like privacy, dressing behind closed doors, and not talking about peeing in public, we also introduced modesty. Not in light of sexuality, but in light of identity.

You see, when little girls are little on the outside, they feel free – uninhibited and, if brought up in a healthy environment, extremely secure. They can dance to a song in their head in the grocery store unashamed and unafraid. They do not fear the disapproval of their peers when offering ideas or creating a dream world. They need nothing more than an invitation to run, top-speed, into their daddy’s arms. They know who they are because of what they are: they are valuable because they are loved.

But when little girls become young women on the outside, something changes. They feel insecurities begin to sweep in like a flood. Every day a new fear begins to curl its slimy fingers around their heart.

Am I good enough? Am I too quiet? Am I loud? Am I pretty? Am I special? 

On and on the doubts come; some may be dismissed at first, but later when they are least expected, they sneak in to linger in the back of her mind, whispering for her to disbelieve the truth. These insecurities, if not openly addressed and shown for the lies that they are, create an overbearing need for constant reassurance of her identity.

This leads to openly seeking for affirmation, as they say, in all the wrong places. We’ve all seen what that looks like {ok, let’s be honest… we’ve all been there in one way or another}. One of the most common ways this manifests in every day life is clothing.

Let’s stop there for a moment – no, I’m not inferring that all girls that dress poorly are crying out for attention because of their insecurities. I’m also not saying that all girls struggle with these insecurities. Maybe there are a few blessed chosen ones out there that don’t. But for the sake of argument, let’s agree that these are common issues – and we don’t want our daughters handling them them the wrong way… perhaps, like we did.

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It’s such a hot word right now, but what does it mean and why is it important? I look at it like the fluctuation in the economy that values or devalues gold. Gold is still gold, regardless of its assigned price. When things change and the price goes down, it doesn’t change the identity of the gold, it’s still gold, but it does change the perceived value. I want my daughters to build their identity on the firm foundation of God’s love and the truth of who He says they are, not the world. Society is as flippant as the economy – one day you’re special, the next day you’re not. One day you’re the right size, the next day you’re too fat. One day you’re valuable because you’re an independent woman with a brain, the next the road to self-worth is blatantly displayed on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition. It’s a rat-race with no good ending and it’s consuming our daughters, starting in those precious, fragile years of adolescence.

That’s why I talk to my four-year-old about modesty. Not because I think it’s really that important for her (in her size 4T tankini) to be covered, but because her body is special, it’s valuable, and deserves to be protected and cherished. Why? Because SHE is special and valuable and deserves to be protected and cherished.


This whole conversation got started in my house when the turn of the seasons hit us with warm weather this year. My daughter was playing with some of her little friends around her age when one of them made a comment about someone else’s clothing, and how it was inappropriate. This sparked a flood of questions from my inquisitive Little Miss who, most likely, had never pondered whether wearing clothes or not was socially unacceptable. We wear clothes because in Maine, 10 months out of the year it’s too cold to go outside without arms and legs completely covered with multiple layers. ‘Nough said. But when the concept of ‘appropriateness’ was posed, it struck a cord deep in her sensitive, impressionable little soul. And she wanted to know why.

In Ephesians, Paul gives us a list of all the reasons we have to be secure in our identity in Christ. We are blessed, chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, lavished upon, predestined and sealed with the Holy Spirit, ‘who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession”. (Eph. 1-3-14 NIV) These are the reasons I want my girl to take care with how she dresses. Not because I told her to, or even because she doesn’t want to ’cause men to stumble’, but because she understands who she is: She is a daughter of the King, the Most High God, and she wants to dress the part.

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Now, I am certainly not implying that shorty-shorts mean you’re having an identity crisis. No ma’am. And I still cringe when I think of how that played out… But I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to continue molding this little heart that’s been entrusted to my care. For I know that all too soon she’ll be the teeny-bopper, whispering and giggling about anything on the outside, terrified and uncertain about EVERYTHING on the inside, and I want her to be firmly rooted in the truth so as to dislodge every lie, every doubt, every insecurity, and to grow her into the woman of God she was created to be.

❤ Jasmine

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7 thoughts on “How To Teach Your Kids About Modesty {And Why It’s Important}

  1. Grammar police…I wanted to share this article with my daughter and several friends – but Swimsuit Addition (it’s Edition). I know, picky, but for me it just kills it.

    If you ever make the correction, let me know. I will be more than happy to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, thank you!! I can’t believe none of my proof readers caught that and I so appreciate that you brought it to my attention!! It’s fixed – thanks a million!! ❤️❤️

      Like

      • Shout out to my proof readers…. 😉 they’re amazing and of course it’s not they’re responsibility to tell me I used a math term in a magazine title…. 🙈❤️

        Like

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