Monday, March 18, 2013

Training Up Your Children: What They Wear

Sometimes starting a blog post is the hardest part. How to start, what to say. I know what I want to talk about, but how do I begin?

I want to talk about my kids and how I raised them. This post will be about the modesty I tried instilling in them from a young age. I’ll mostly be talking about my girls in this post. I may talk about my boys down the road.

Right away, when my girls were young, it was important for me as a mom that my girls growing up having a positive image of who they were in Christ. I wanted their value to come from the Lord and what He thought of them, not what the world said was important. I never talked about weight or our appearances. I wanted them to be secure in the beauty they had naturally.

My girls

When we were living with a dear friend in Washington I remember the day she told me that you can’t really control what your kids wear. Now, she had older girls and mine were about 4 and 6. It really struck me when she said that because I thought, “what does she mean? How can you as a parent not control that?” I just couldn’t accept that! lol She told me to just wait and see.

Obviously when your kids are really little you don’t have to worry about what they’re wearing. As they grow older and start to develop their own tastes and want to “fit in”, it can definitely become more of an issue.

Now, I had several factors in my favor. I didn’t have money for my girls to be fashionable. I couldn’t afford to shop at American Eagle, The Gap, or Holister. Well, maybe more like Justice and a few tween shops like that, too. I was also close to other families who were training their kids up the same way as me. Their friends dressed the same.

Sporty girl 2

As they were growing up, they didn’t wear bikinis. I knew that it would be so much harder to tell them as tweens and teens they couldn’t wear them anymore because they were developing and showing more skin just wasn’t ok. It was easier to start out with a standard than trying to reverse course down the road. Besides, when they did any youth group events, girls had to wear t-shirts over their bathing suits.

My girls grew up in the Britney Spears era, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was the song of the day. If I’d see her occasionally, I’d tell my girls, “Why is she wearing so little? She’d be just as beautiful wearing clothing that covered her.” In check out lines, I’d be the mom turning the half naked magazines around in the rack or asking the store manager to cover up the risqué ones. Seriously, the world just pushes and pushes sexuality onto us and our kids. We have to draw a line somewhere.

Baby, my oldest, chose a more “feminine” route of apparel and appearance. I never told them HOW they had to dress, I just guided them. If you’re wearing a skin tight tank top, then you have a sweater or something over it. C’mon people, let’s get real, boys are looking at our girls starting at a very young age and the last thing I wanted my girls to become were sexual objects to boys in their schools.

Feminine girl

And yes, I did talk to my girls about their part in how they dressed and what it did to boys around them. Ok, not “my” girls, but other girls. If your daughter is wearing a bikini that is barely covering her chest or her behind, every dude on the beach will be oogling her. It’s just the way it is. You have on a spaghetti strap tank top that molds to your body, where are a guys eyes drawn to? mmmhmmm And my oldest looked adorable in them, but she chose, on her own, to wear tops over them.

My 2nd daughter went the more sporty route. She played basketball and tennis. She was in sweatshirts, t-shirts, sports pants, etc. Worked for me. I mean, there’s very little when it comes to revealing apparel in the sporting arena.

Sporty girl

Let me state for the record, I’m not talking at all about personal style. You could be goth or punk, rock or western. No matter what style you choose, you have the option of being modest or immodest. I didn’t want my girls to dress in their own personal style, in a way that made them feel like they had to promote their sexuality to get attention.

Their beauty was on the inside. How many girls do we have in this world who are utterly insecure about their looks because they’ve bought into the lie that the only way they’re beautiful is by revealing themselves? Who have listened to what society has determined to be “beautiful”? Who don’t feel like they measure up because the world tells them something different than what really is important? I didn’t want that for my girls.

Feminine girl 2

I did talk to my daughter over the weekend too see if she felt (in this area) that I was too strict or she felt stifled because of my rules. She made sure to let me know that she wasn’t phased by it at all. It was our life. It was a standard set in the beginning, in a loving, guiding way and they knew it wasn’t meant to control or harm them, but out of a love I had for them. I was so thankful for that!

And lest you think I’m some stick in the mud, check out what I allowed my daughter to do when she was 17! We have to pick our battles and my girls growing up with inner beauty was extremely important to me!


My girls are beautiful young ladies and the physical beautiful is only a reflection of the godly beauty that each posses on the inside. I’m so thankful for the gifts my girls are to me and how I’m constantly blessed by them!

The moral of my story, is that yes, you definitely have a say in what your kids wear. You purchase their clothing. You’re the one who sets the standard. You are the parent!

How are you raising your kids in the area of their appearance and their style?


Amy said...

Thankfully, with having Cj, i haven't had to worry about the clothing battles yet...
Your girls are beautiful women! :D

Aleah said...

Modeling modesty is a HUGE thing! My mom always wore (and still wears) clothing that is stylish (read: no mom jeans!) but still modest. She rarely gave me an explicit lesson about what I should wear or not wear, but I picked up on HER clothing choices and reflected them.

I also think that the idea of setting firm boundaries with complete freedom WITHIN the boundaries is so important! I was allowed to dress myself as soon as I could physically put my clothes on. This means there are a lot of embarrassing pictures of me as a little kid in a tutu and rain boots, but I had control over what I put on and that made me feel powerful! I think that freedom when I was young made me less likely to take that power in other ways, like showing off my boobs or something once I got older.

Liz Mays said...

My daughter has always been modest naturally, so I'm really lucky!

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