Why Teaching Your Teen to Dress Modestly is Important

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As the parent of a teenager, you’ve undoubtedly seen your share of questionable choices, bad trends and attempts to assert independence that don’t go as planned. Few things are as disconcerting or as upsetting, though, as the realization that your teen is no longer a child, but that the wardrobe choices she’s making are far from age-appropriate. Many teens think that wearing abbreviated clothing is an effective way of establishing their transition into adulthood and a reflection of their personal style, never realizing just how problematic showing too much skin can be. As a parent, your job does not end when your child begins to express her independence, especially if expressions of that independence include clothing that reveals far too much.

Teaching Girls That Their Worth Doesn’t End or Begin With Their Bodies

In a hyper-sexualized culture that celebrates scantily-clad pop stars who are more renowned for their fashion sense than any actual accomplishments, it’s easy for impressionable teenage girls to feel as if their worth is tied up with their skin and how much of it they’re willing to show. Insisting that your teenager dress modestly is important, but it’s also essential that you explain to her that one of the reasons why you want her to dress modestly lies within the message that she’s worth more if she’s wearing less. Having an open, honest discussion about the message society sends to young girls and its detrimental effects may reach your teenager in a way that a simple refusal to allow certain items of clothing never would.

Adhering to Religious Beliefs

Many religions count modesty as a virtue, with some even considering it a non-negotiable aspect of spirituality. If you’re trying to instill the religious beliefs and philosophies of your own spiritual alignment with your children, discouraging immodest dress is essential.

Maintaining School Dress Code Standards

As a parent, few things are as humiliating as being called to pick your teenager up from school because her outfit is too risqué. Most schools have dress codes that are clearly explained in student handbooks and conduct codes, and there’s very little room for interpretation. Regardless of your spiritual or social beliefs, it’s important that your teen understands just how necessary it is to adhere to the dress codes set before her. Even if you don’t personally have a problem with the way your child is dressed, there’s still a chance that the administrators of her school will.

Establishing and Understanding Regarding Appropriate Dress

As your teenager moves into her early twenties, your hands are largely tied when it comes to her wardrobe choices. It’s essential that you instill a basic understanding about dressing appropriately while she still lives with you, rather than simply making rules and requiring her to follow them unquestioningly. Remember that, as a parent, your job is to teach your children how to be successful adults, not to demand that they live by the rules you’ve set regardless of how well they understand them. Your teenager learns nothing about proper dress when you make a habit of vetoing her outfits before she leaves the house without explaining why it isn’t appropriate. She needs to know the difference between clothing you would wear to a party and attire that would work in a professional setting. The end goal of parenting is to give your children the skills they need to make the right decisions for themselves when you’re not there to guide them. Explaining the importance of modest clothing, especially in certain settings, is far more effective than banning certain items of clothing without any explanation.

Because Modesty is Important to Young Men, Too

The focus on clothing choices and modestly rests largely on the bodies of teenage girls, who are sexualized on a societal level in a dismaying assortment of ways. It’s easy to let your son’s education regarding modesty and appropriate clothing fall to the wayside as you focus on teaching your daughter that allowing others to objectify her based on clothing choices is a slippery slope. In reality, teenage boys need to learn about modesty and objectification just as badly. While you’re teaching your son that his pants shouldn’t be hanging around his thighs, you can also take the opportunity to explain all of the reasons why objectification is wrong, regardless of who’s on the receiving end. Boys need to understand that they’re more than their bodies, too. Remember, body image issues go both ways, even if they’re not talked about nearly as much when boys and young men are struggling with them.

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