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Little girls and modesty

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Ok, modesty mommas!

I'm not sure if we're having a boy or a girl (no ultrasound needed yet, so we're just not finding out), but I have a question.

Little girls are supposed to halachically wear dresses or skirts. Personally, I think it is MUCH more modest for little girls (especially toddlers, who are very unaware of their bodies) to wear flowy pants than to wear skirts. I can't tell you how many times I have to pull a skirt/dress back off of a toddler's head as she flashes the crowd in shul or in religious school.

These mothers are good about putting stockings or leggings on their daughters under their skirts, but I think that it's developmentally inappropriate to have these little girls wearing dresses (regardless of what's under them) and to expect them to not flip them up over their heads, yk? The little girls in baggier pants seem to me to stay more modest (and they're very well covered up) than their dress-wearing counterparts.

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 34
How will your child learn to act properly in a dress though if they never wear one? I usually put leggings, capris, bloomers or jeans under my dds dresses - depending on the dress (tights come later when they already know how to behave modestly in a dress as I don't feel even the thickest tights are particularly modest). This way everything is covered as they are learning modesty and self control. I don't particularly think even a buck naked baby is immodest but if we start teaching them young by the time modesty actually becomes an issue dressing and acting modestly is already a good habit.
post #3 of 34
I only have boys so I'm not an expert but I think it depends on what age you are talking about. I think most people don't consider pants on a 2 year old to be immodest. What age are you asking about?
post #4 of 34
I value teaching little girls modestly, but I believe that such should be age-appropriate. I personally don't think it's realistic to expect a young girl to wear skirts all the time, or not expect them never to forget that they can't put their legs in certain positions. I think that impedes on their experience as a child and puts them into a stuffy environment where they aren't allowed to move around as they wish-and all children need to be able to wear clothes that are both modest but allow them to move about and play as kids need to. For my girls, I always put them in jeans or flowing capris, and reserve the dresses for small increments to be worn on fancy occasions or on Sunday for children's meetings. There is nothing wrong with teaching girls that they can surely be modest without wearing skirts and dresses all the time. As a little girl my mother taught us modesty, but she herself hardly ever wore dresses except for the Lord's Table on Sunday, and most of the time wore jeans/sweatpants/blouses that were covering. FWIW my mother is one of the most modest people that I know.
post #5 of 34
Well, my daughter's still too young (five months old)... but I love the look of little pants underneath dresses like you see at Hanna Andersson.

DD has these little pull-on pants with ruffles at the bottom that are adorable...and look very girly.

If it were me, I'd probably just dress her in dresses and skirts and put pants on underneath.

I don't know... we don't have the requirement that girls have to wear dresses and skirts... although we are told that women's dress should not imitate men's dress (and vice-versa). How this is interpreted varies... in Saudi Arabia and many other Arab countries, men wear galabayas which look remarkedly like the women's galabayas. (Long white (or other color) floor-length dress) In Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, women wear shalwar kameez... which is a long top over baggy pants.
post #6 of 34
Yeah. Coming from a mixed bag of modesty myself (growing up that is) I never heard a worry about a newborn.

All of the answers of the other posters make 100% sense to me
post #7 of 34
Baggy or flowy pants could be developementally hazardous or inappropriate for a small child.

The little girls I see all have bloomers or shorts or pants under their skirts, even the bigger little girls.

And as SaraFR said most people do not think pants on a 2 y o to be immodest.
post #8 of 34
From a Jewish perspective, we don't usually stress about girls wearing dresses till they're 3 years old. Until then, even Khasidish little girls commonly wear pants.

At 3 we make a big deal about how "big" they are to wear a dress like big sister or ima, and then we're very careful to put pants under the dress every day or tights.

In the summer (and the spring and the fall ... this is, after all, the MIddle East and it's hot ... she wears shorts under the skirt.

FWIW my 7yo DD wears pants under her dresses/skirts, too. Cotton Lycra bicycle pants are the greatest invention (for modest-dressing-girls, anyway) since the wheel.

(I wear 'em, too, when the weather is cold or if my skirt is not entirely down to my ankles ... and my shortest skirt is only about two inchest above my ankles anyway )

post #9 of 34
I personally don't think modest dress should be imposed on small children--at home mine is allowed to run around in her altogether if she wants. Rather, I think their clothing should not be "sexy" or communicate that sort of attractiveness. Sometimes this amounts to the same thing.

My DD loves skirts, but usually does wear shorts or pants under them if we're going to be doing anything even remotely active. It doesn't really phase me if she does flip her clothes up over her head (though I do discourage it for public decorum reasons), and at 4 I have still at times had her try clothes on in a store (requiring getting half-undressed) without going to a changing room--though we do go to a changing room if she requests it, which she does more often nowadays.
post #10 of 34
My youngest is 3, I kind of let her wear whatever she wants as long as it isn't too tight or too short. My oldest is 9, I am teaching her more modest choices now, but I don't make her cover completely. If she wears shorts or skirts, they must reach at least the knee, dress always require leggings, and no sleeveless tops or plunging necklines, though short sleeves are okay for now IMO. I have noticed that the older my girls get, the harder it is to dress them modestly. We went shopping this spring for a fancy dress for my dd to wear to a father-daughter dance w/ girl scouts and after going to 5 different stores, she only had two that I approved of to choose from. Everything else looked like something you would wear to a nightclub. It was a bit depressing.
post #11 of 34
We put a little pair of shorts under dresses until they're old enough to be aware of flashing their undies.
post #12 of 34
I never "imposed" modest dressing on my kids- except to insist that all shirts have sleeves (for warmth in cooler weather and sun protection in hotter weather.) They often ran around in nothing but a diaper at home. And I don't think I put them in any dresses at all before they were walking consistenly. Basically, they had a lot of pants outfits when they were crawling, and when they learned how to walk they kept wearing the same clothes until they outgrew them, and then I got more dresses/fewer pants in the next size up. Both of my girls were mostly in dresses by 1.5 or so. If I had later walkers, I'd have kept them in pants longer.

By age 1.5 or 2 my girls WANTED to dress like Mommy- and anyway dresses are easier for potty-learning toddlers than separate pants and shirts are. It's also great for preschoolers who want to dress themselves- a dress can't clash the way a pair of pants and a shirt can!

Then I had a few years where we stopped being religious and the girls were in public school and they got used to wearing pants for school. I'm curious how their innate sense of modesty would have developed if they'd continued wearing skirts and dresses exclusively (though they always had pants for wearng under skirts, to be bundled up for snow play, etc) throughout childhood.

I still don't "impose" my standards of modesty on my kids. My 13yo voluntarily dresses modestly- she just isn't comfortable with her elbows showing, or with pants on, in mixed company. But she does own 1 pair of jeans she wears around the house (and wore in public for a time but now feels uncomfy doing that) and she sleeps in pajamas.

DD2 doesn't care about her elbows, and will wear loose-fitting pants for some activities, but in general prefers to wear skirts or dresses. I doubt she'll feel differently about her clothing in a few months when she's Bat Mitzvah'ed.
post #13 of 34
My daughter wears Salwar Kameez sets, very girlie and very modest, and comfortable for babies, toddlers and older.

Like these: http://www.thekrishnastore.com/Detai...&bar=_shp_kids
post #14 of 34
Originally Posted by Radhanuga View Post
My daughter wears Salwar Kameez sets, very girlie and very modest, and comfortable for babies, toddlers and older.

Like these: http://www.thekrishnastore.com/Detai...&bar=_shp_kids
Oh, those are absolutely adorable. I can't wait until DD is old enough for one.
post #15 of 34
my older dd has been wearing skirts that cover the knee only since age 2 3/4 and elbows covered since age 3. she has never "flashed" anyone and would be embarassed to do so. she is very conscious of modesty b/c i dress modestly and we discuss it/ praise her for it. My dd2 is almost 2. the only discussion of modesty that i have with her is " no we cant nurse here, there are alot of people around it isnt modest (but we use the word tznius). adn she even understands. if she wears a dress she likes to cover her knees when she sits on the potty to show how tznius she is. she says (in her limmitted vocab) like mama and dd1. Perhaps the little girls who "flash" everyone in synogogue are wearing dresses to "dress up" and not to be modest and are not getting the value of modesty from the culture around them and their families - I think this would be the case if you are not talking about an orthodox synogogue, most Jews outside of certain orthodox in america have no consciousness of modesty and place little real value on it.
post #16 of 34
Originally Posted by gilamama View Post
Perhaps the little girls who "flash" everyone in synagogue are wearing dresses to "dress up" and not to be modest and are not getting the value of modesty from the culture around them and their families - I think this would be the case if you are not talking about an orthodox synagogue, most Jews outside of certain orthodox in America have no consciousness of modesty and place little real value on it.
i think this is a really good point.

while we do dress up for church my children wear modest clothes and dresses all the time. even when we are alone at home (more or less). they learn from a young age to play and move modestly and to be mindful of that. (and for the record I don't think this has stifled them in any way. it is just a different norm. they are still able to play freely at the play ground and such. they have just learned how to move differently)
post #17 of 34
We do dresses only from age three here, although my 2-year-old hasn't worn pants, except under a dress or nightgown, in over a year. In my religious community, however, plenty of girls do wear pants up to age three.

I have to say that I haven't noticed my girls flashing much. I rarely see my two-year-old pull up her dress. She does have one dress that she enjoys taking off, I suppose because it has fun snaps down the front, but she otherwise remains quite modest.

My five-year-old is pretty mindful of how covered she is and it doesn't stop her from having fun at the playground. I don't harp about it, but I will occasionally make a comment to draw her attention to how a certain movement causes her body to become uncovered.

Mostly I just try to buy clothes that allow freedom of movement while still covering everything. I like jumpers with full skirts of just the right length. With the right clothes, there is no problem with sitting a certain way or playing rambunctiously. When the top and bottom are connected (as in a jumper or dress, rather than a skirt and shirt), there is no bare belly or back when arms are raised. If the length is long and full enough (but not so long as to be unsafe), legs remain covered in almost every position, excepting maybe upside down on the monkey bars.
post #18 of 34
I spent some of my childhood in a community that required skirts/dresses for girls and women. My two sisters were babies then, and were in dresses from newborn on. It didn't affect their development or activity level. Although I'm sure my youngest sister flashed occasionally, I don't remember it happening very often with any little girl, and all of them wore leggings or bloomers anyway. They learned very early on not to lift their dresses, because gentle reminders were part of every day life from their infancy on.
Now, they weren't particularly concerned about little girls tucking their skirts itno their bloomers to wade in streams, or hanging upside down from the play equipment, but again, there was always something underneath.
post #19 of 34

Moms for Modesty

I put leggings or bloomers under my dd'd dress.

Moms for Modesty is a mission statement for mothers to dress their daughters modesty and to buy clothes from retailers that sell modest clothing. This is a very good thing, calling moms to make a commitment to buy clothing for their children that is G-d honoring.
Moms for Modesty Mission Statement
* As a Mom for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.
* I believe in refraining from sexualizing
our girls and young women.
* I believe that it is unwise and unfair
to taunt boys and young men by permitting
my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.
* I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.
* I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls' and young womens clothing
that is modest, affordable and stylish.
Retailers that sell modest clothing:
Lands' End <--- I this site! Its where I get dd dresses.
Old Navy

I want to say more but I need to rest now.
post #20 of 34
We switched my twins to dresses when they started gan this year. We were in NYC last year with my mother who is very oppoesd to dresses, it's the one BT thing that *really* bugs her, so it just wasn't worth the fight. They turned 3 in Feb and when I got their summer clothes it was all skirts / dresses / jumpers.

Rivka pretty much exclusivly wore dresses from the same time (the girls pants from last year are too big for her, and most of the ones from 2 years ago are too small), but she does have a few pairs of pants that fit her right that she does wear. When it gets too warm for pants though she will be in skirts, and she won't be wearing pants next winter.

We allow short sleeves here until 6. I never really thought about it much, but the standard in this neighborhood is short sleeves until 6 (when they start 1st grade the school requires covered elbows and I think it's a mixed message. I don't wear short sleaves but I'm not making an issue of it yet with the girls). This neighborhood has a pretty wide standard of dress. Some of the girls in their gan do wear pants, and if the twins ask to wear pants out of the house I just explain that it's okay for X, and it's okay for Rivka because she's not in gan yet and still little, but they are big girls almost 4 and mommy doesn't wear pants either (though some of the mommys here do)
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