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modesty and teens....

post #1 of 98
Thread Starter 
hi, I have to make this short as all the kiddos are up....but I need to ask.....

I do NOT follow any modesty guidelines for dressing for religous reasons. I have since I have gotten older begun to dress and feel more appropriate in modest (or more modest) dress. I have a niece living with me and she is 12. I have over the last year or so become increasingly uncomfortable with the way she dresses (or maybe its the clothes others buy her....i think.) and I am looking for some input here.

Do any of you out there have guidelines for modest dressing for your teen girls? My niece is fighting me tooth and nail.....but for my own reasons.....I feel more comfortable if she were dressing more modestly. I have made several requests of her which she follows....but not happily. Next year we will be homeschooling.....and I think it might be easeir. I have guidelines for my boys as well......but well...they're boys. No underwear hanging out....no running around the house in your undies....I mean , hey....there are young ladies here....and I feel that modesty is important.

I guess what I am getting at is the need to hear some of you mamas input on how you deal with modesty in a young lady reliously and non religiously.

Please do not bash me here.....I realize some of my discomfort is my own stuff....but I am doing the best I can.....and would just like a little support and someone to tell me how they do things....
thanks, christine
post #2 of 98
I'm sure we'll receive a lot of heat for being on the side of even having rules about clothing, but I'll strike out in support here. I personally feel that modest clothing helps young people maintain a respect for the power and value of their own bodies. : I want to encourage them to know that who they are is the most important thing, and encouraging children to wear revealing clothing, IMO, is not the best way to do that. Helping them make good decisions in choosing clothing that is attractive and compliments their body shape and coloring is part of that.

I have three daughters and one son. My rule about clothing is simple: We dress in a manner that shows that we respect our own bodies. My children know that we choose certain colors to wear based on what looks good with our skin/hair/eyes and they know that we cover our bodies. I don't have a laundry list of "don't" that I spew, but their wardrobes do not include midriff baring shirts or pants so low that they would have to shave their pubic hair down to wear them, they don't include pants that are painted on their bodies, they don't include underware exposure in any fashion for girls or the boy....well, it is TX and some layering of tanktops occasionally allows a brastrap to show. It's hot here. Mostly we buy the kind of tanktops that have thicker straps, but occasionally not.
post #3 of 98
Luckily, my 13yo has tasteful taste, so it's easy. She prefers longer shorts, tanks that allow her to wear a bra w/ straps always showing or tanks with a built-in bra. (She's not big, but has a nice figure.) She does wear bikinis swimming. But she's not into the belly shirts, lots of make-up, stuff that makes her look trashy.

As for modesty at home, she's perfectly comfortable walking around in shorter shorts and a bra as long as it's only her brother and myself at home. Similarly, my son (15) is fine with walking around in boxer briefs and a tshirt when it's just the three of us. They change in private (well, she'll change in front of me).
post #4 of 98
Thread Starter 
thank you midwifetx.....i appreciate hearing the side of someone who supports general modesty. seems so many young ladies let so much hang out......
post #5 of 98
I am very much disturbed by young girls dressing like little hoochy mamas at such a young age.

I may differ from you about the definition of "modesty" though. I'm not sure what you mean, but if you are talking about long conservative dresses only, then I am different than that.

I like some trendy clothes, some of which might not be completely "modest" but I like them for women, not "girls."

I wish that young girls weren't encouraged to be sexually "alluring" at such a young age. Let kids be kids. They already grow up so fast.
post #6 of 98

That's really what I'm talking about. We avoid clothing that would make our children look like Bratz dolls...or even Barbie Dolls for that matter, but we're not a drop-waist-dress family.
post #7 of 98
We don't have any rules about clothing. You won't get any "flames" from me about it, but it's not something I can personally relate to.

Of course not having rules about it doesn't mean I haven't spent time talking about clothing, social attitudes toward different looks, assumptions, self respect and respect for others, creative expression, and etc. My Dd wears halter tops, mini skirts, and short shorts. She wears sweaters, button up shirts, long skirts, and pretty dresses. She wears cargo shorts, fingerless gloves, and t-shirts. What's most important to me is that she's dressing according to what she wants, not according to what she thinks other people (esp boys) like to see her in. It's a confusing world as far as media and mainstream attitudes about sex/appearance go, so my focus is more about helping her feel strong and healthy in whatever she wears & that her choices are about her.

If I ever have an issue with something she's wearing I respectfully tell her, and because she knows that I am never out to just rain on her parade or be a nag, she respectfully hears me out and gives it some real thought. As for being in underwear and such...that's an issue of respect for others. We don't want to make people uncomfortable. Dd sometimes will come downstairs in her night shirt and underwear to get some water or whatever, and I think that's just fine. Ds prefers to not be undressed around others and we respect that as well. We don't think it's automatically bad or inappropriate for girls and boys to see each other in various forms of undress. A boy shirtless, especially in the summer, is no big deal at all. A girl in a sports bra and shorts... not a crisis in my book.
post #8 of 98
Once again, UnschoolnMa, I'm really loving your articulation!

Especially this part ~

Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
It's a confusing world as far as media and mainstream attitudes about sex/appearance go, so my focus is more about helping her feel strong and healthy in whatever she wears & that her choices are about her.

post #9 of 98
Originally Posted by midwifetx View Post
I don't have a laundry list of "don't" that I spew, but their wardrobes do not include midriff baring shirts or pants so low that they would have to shave their pubic hair down to wear them ... they don't include underware exposure in any fashion ... some layering of tanktops occasionally allows a brastrap to show.
DH and I agreed on parameters very much like those quoted above for DD.

Pre-teen girls start to push the edges of acceptable behavior and that's normal. And, so is you saying "no" to clothing that may put forth negative messages about self-respect and intentions. Mama, trust your judgment.

DH or I would be certain to look DD over before she left for school or went out with friends. We weren't obvious about it, but we watched and, if she went over the line, we pulled rank. Sure, there was complaining. But, so what?

I'd treat DD to very trendy or stylish clothing from time-to-time. These pieces maintained modesty and, at the same time, were eye-catching and quality. Her peers regarded her as having style (they used "cooler" words than that - but, I'm getting of an age when my memory fails this late in the evening ). I think doing this allowed DD to channel her desire to make a statement with her clothing to a positive once.
post #10 of 98
Ever since dd [13] was a baby, we dressed her like a doll and since some time she wanted to dress on her own.. we always go shopping together and she knows where to set the limit... by "modest" you mean, not too mini skirt? anyway dd loves to wear long pants with simple top...
post #11 of 98
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
I wish that young girls weren't encouraged to be sexually "alluring" at such a young age. Let kids be kids. They already grow up so fast.
I totally agree. We all know that different clothes make you feel different. When we wear frumpy clothes we feel frumpy, when we wear nicer clothes we feel better about ourselves. I don't think children should wear clothes that makes them sexy. Especially in school it isn't healthy to them and it doesn't give them the kind of respect that they deserve from their peers and those around them.
post #12 of 98
our ideas are in tune with midwifetx. Not religious, not prudish and don't believe having dress rules for our dd violates her personal freedom. I thnk media and corporate interests push a certain sleazy style of dress on girls nowadays and we don't buy into that stuff. We think that girls too young to understand the message their clothes give still need guidance to dress. We know who will get blamed if a girl with her thong underwear and belly showing is sexually assaulted or called names. Fortunately our school expects respectful dress.
post #13 of 98
Originally Posted by karina5 View Post
I wish that young girls weren't encouraged to be sexually "alluring" at such a young age. Let kids be kids. They already grow up so fast.

I wish the same thing, but I also don't see my wish automatically appealing to my curious child who is exposed to culture and does not live in a vacuum.

Not that I am a 'permissive' parent who sees her as the one who runs the show, but I also do not put myself in a position to run the show.

I give my dd what I call the "running commentary" on observations and experiences I've had and watched others have ~ then let her decide for herself about the cause-and-effect role of clothing in her life. I figure it serves her better to learn these things while still close to mama than when she's all grown up and further away from me.

Even more, I love that we have no struggle around these things. . that I am free to trust her and the most interesting thing I've noticed about that is that the choices she makes are consistently ones that I would have hoped she would make. Truly amazing.
post #14 of 98
Outside of school, my dd can pretty much wear whatever she wants. School though, is to focus on your studies. I think it helps to dress in clothes that cover and fit well. She and I have settled her into a look that is slightly preppy with polo shirts, blue jeans and capri pants. If she wears a top that is cut more revealing, she will wear a cami underneath. This prevents her from feeling over exposed to the world. We will buy the occasional trendy item if it isn't too "sexy". Mind you, my dd is 13. There's time to be sexy looking at a later age.
post #15 of 98
Thread Starter 
thanks to all who responded....I was feeling like maybe my desire for my girls to be more modest without following a totally modest dress regime was weird.....I'm sometimes not sure if I know how to parent teen girls....
Even though my niece is NOT my daughter , I feel responsible for making sure she makes appropriate choices.....that goes for also teaching her modesty and appropriate behavior becoming of a young lady. How to sit, how to dress and how to behave. I hope I am not WAY off the mark. I know some mamas here are more permissive and some are not. I suppose I was hoping to just see that I am not an oddball. That there are other families who feel like I do. I think the sexualization of children in our culture is horrible. I feel like I am already starting the same thing with my 5 year old.....she sees stuff on tv and wants to walk, talk and dress that way. I am frustrated. But I am sticking to my guns. No bellies, no butts hanging out , no revealing blouses or tops, and nothing see thru, no panties hanging out....My niece doesn't really understand...and she gets irratated...but It is MY house.
post #16 of 98
Really for right now, fashion should be your friend.

The "in" styles involve layers and layers of t-shirts. Looooong tops in baby doll fashion (with an extra tank top under making the top not low cut). NO belly baring. And leggings under short skirts with ballet flats.

These styles have just come "in" and allow a tween girl to dress cute and stylishly without looking imodest.

I mean look at what Ambercromie kids is showing this year. http://www.abercrombiekids.com/webap...-1_12156_12103

And Ambercrombie is nitorious for showing overly sexualized children's clothes. This year its simply not so much in fashion.
post #17 of 98
Does she want to be a young lady? Does she see herself that way?
post #18 of 98
Thread Starter 
um....I don't know what you're getting at....but I suppose I would like for her to behave modestly. I guess whether that is a young lady or .....
I would like it that she not dress or act in way that is over sexualized. being a teen or tween is hard enough, I feel that I am guiding her through this process and hopefully in the end when she is grown she will still behave in a fashion that is modest and not go flashing her goods all over town(as her aunts and friends do.... )
post #19 of 98
I'm just curious about how she sees herself. I think you may be conflating several separate issues.

I don't have teens yet, but I do remember being one, and being pushed pushed pushed by my mom to be a 'young lady' and act like one, sit right, don't be too forward with boys, and I hated every minute of it. I actually tend to favor modest dress for my own reasons, but I have never been interested in being any sort of lady. As a teen I got into wearing a lot of stuff, both revealing and just plain tacky, that I might not have if I'd simply been allowed to be who I was without a lecture for every little thing that didn't fit somebody else's idea of what a girl was supposed to be like.

I think it would be wise to try and get inside your niece's head and find out why she wants to dress a certain way before you start laying down the law. It might also be worthwhile to examine your own ideas and what might underlie them.
post #20 of 98

modesty and teens (anyone really)

Although I don't have teens yet, I do have two sons and I teach high school. I do have stricter than the norm standards for me and mine. I don't insist on dresses at all times, but I do make sure that my clothing presents me in the most dignified and non-objectified manner possible. I don't want people to focus on my body rather than my face or the other parts that are me like my ideas, words, mind, values, etc. I wear my shirts with a higher neckline and no sleeveless tops. I do wear pants, but they are a modest fit. I don't wear anything that reveals my knees, and I prefer to have at least a 3/4 sleeve. But, IMO, modesty is about more than just the types of clothing that are worn. It is also the way I speak, act, etc. I could be dressed covered head to toe, and still be behaving immodestly in speaking harshly, vulgarly or in a way that lacked dignity. I believe that we are all created in the image of God. It is an honor and duty to present that image respectfully on my part and in a way that doesn't elicit disrespect from others (if I can help it). This belief, BTW, informs all of my morals. If everyone is created in the image of God, harming another person, behaving rudely, lying, stealing, etc. become actions that bring dishonor to God.

Remembering my own years as a teen girl, I now can't understand wanting to dress in a way to advertise parts of me - cute butt, nice breasts, nice curves. I can see now that even if I was dressing that way to feel more attractive, that the kind of attention I was creating was not aimed at me the complete person. Those who saw me never once looked at my short shorts or tight shirt and said, "My what an intelligent, creative young woman!" Even if they had extreme control of body and mind, I am sure that their first thoughts of me were completely physical in nature.

I have no problems with sexuality or sensuality or beauty, but I no longer want to display that for just anyone as a freebie. Mine is more valuable than that. If I were very wealthy, I wouldn't display that money and what I spent it on for the whole world to see. How much more valuable am I! I am trying to teach my sons (now 7 and 2) to try to remember these values for themselves and for any potential mates when they are grown.
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