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Talking to your teen about modesty

April 28th, 2008


Imagine this, if you can:

Your daughter gets ready to leave the house in an outrageous outfit showing way too much skin, to say the least.

You reel on her and yell, “You are not going out of the house like that! You look like a slut. No decent boy will respect you.”

Your daughter pauses, looks at herself, and says, “You are absolutely right mom. Thanks for your wise advice. I’ll go change right now.”

In your dreams, right?

More likely you’ll hear, “#@%&*!” BANG! Slam the door!

At best, you will see eyes rolling up or giving you a dirty look. Even if she changes her clothes this time, you haven’t changed her heart. The minute she is out of your sight, she’ll pull out her mini-skirt and change back.

The only thing you would’ve accomplished is to have your daughter think you are totally irrelevant, you don’t understand her, you live in the dark ages…and the generation gap and communication gap widens. Do you think she will ever open up to you about anything else in her life?

Among the many skills we need as parents, diplomacy is another one to add to our list as our children reach the tweens and teens.

In my interview with Vanessa Van Petten, we discussed this issue of approaching our teens about the way they dress. Listen to the podcast for her great advice from a young person’s point of view.

Here are some of Vanessa’s suggestions and a few of mine added:

1. Do not make the issue to be about more clothes or less clothes. Rather educate your teen about style.

2. Look at fashion magazines and advertisements together and ask questions. “Do you think this looks good?” Why or why not? Ask your daughter to point out styles that she likes. Not all of the stuff she likes will be skimpy.

3. Look at examples of attractive people and talk about what really makes them attractive. Most of the time it is not because they show more cleavage.

4. When you look at magazines, ask your daughter, “What kind of message does this outfit give?” Some clothes say sophistication, some say athletic, or mysterious, or sense-of-humor, or bad-girl…”Which style do you think boys are attracted to?”

5. Encourage your daughter to come up with her unique style. What type of person does she want to be known for? It’s not about how much skin you can show. Rather it is about projecting a style.

6. As Vanessa says, encourage your daughter to make her own clothes, or at least customize store-bought clothes to be unique. It will give them a sense of pride and style.

What else have you found to work with your daughters?

Photo by bs70

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  1. The tips that are given in this post for talking to your teenager are wonderful. I’ll have to keep them on the back burner for the day when I have a daughter of my own to talk to. Thanks for helping women teach their daughters to dress with style and class!
    God bless!
    Kristin (AKA, The Faithful Fashionista)

  2. Thanks, Kristin. Your site is really helpful to promote modesty too.


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