If you do not train little girls to be feminine and modest, most likely they will grow up and not give any consideration towards being modest. It is imperative that we not wait until our daughters hit puberty to suddenly talk to them about what they can and cannot wear. By then, dear mother, you are have lost your most precious time to train their hearts.
We’ve all heard it, but it’s true – girl’s are so different then boys. From a young age girls are full of hormones and emotions. When I was young, I remember crying for no good reason. I just felt like crying! My oldest daughter has already started doing this and she’s about to turn 6! We need to treat our daughters emotions with tender care, and yet not coddle those emotions.
You almost have to walk a tight rope when you are teaching little girls about modesty. They are unable to understand the somewhat complex reasons behind a modesty standard. Telling a 4 year old that a women’s body dressed in a mini skirt is capable of turning men’s heads is totally unnecessary. However, you do want to talk to your daughter about why you don’t want her wearing a bikini (even at 4, I don’t find that appropriate swimwear attire).
As your daughter grows older, slowly start transitioning her to the modesty standards you want her to have at 15. If you want her to wear longer skirts, then have her become used to that long before she is a teenager. If you want her to be accustomed to wearing more than the standard swimsuit when swimming, then put shorts and a t-shirt over her little swimsuit. If you don’t want her wearing makeup when she is 13, a play makeup set isn’t the best idea when she is 5.
Don’t take this to the extreme. I don’t put my babies only in skirts. I have no problem with them wearing sleepers, and my 4 year old wears pants. A little girl is not developed yet, and the only reason I put them in skirts now is to train them for future years. It is not because I feel they are immodest in jeans. Give your little girl grace in the early years, and don’t be paranoid to the point of smothering them in rules. However the early years are when the rules are laid down, so make sure you actually start teaching them the rules!
These suggestions might sound extreme but they are how we try to raise our daughters, and how I was raised myself. I wasn’t raised to shop at Claire’s and purchase all the cute jewelry and stick on earrings when I was 8, because my mom didn’t want me to grow up from a young age lusting after jewelry and makeup. I was allowed to pierce my ears at 13, but wore very little jewelry through high school. I’m not saying this is the right way for everyone, but my mom carefully and prayerfully tried to raise her daughters to not have their hearts set on boys and fashion through high school.
If you want a daughter who will listen to you and respect your opinions when it comes to clothes and fashion, wisdom about dating and friendships, take the time when she is little to talk to her. Let her tell you all her dreams and silly stories. Lay in bed with her at night and snuggle. Play dollies with her (I normally dress them all up and fix the hair, then they can go play house 🙂 ). I remember my mom doing all of these things with me. She never pushed me away and we grew up to be very close.
So what do you say to a little girl when you are trying to teach her about modesty? I simply tell my little girls that we want to be modest, and that means keeping ourselves covered. I haven’t gone into detailed conversations yet, that will come in the future. I pray with them at nighttime in their room, and most nights include a prayer that they will grow up to become virtuous young women. Do they know what virtuous means yet? No, but they have even started praying that they will be virtuous. They might not understand, but if mama wants that for her girls then it must be a good thing! The same principle applies towards modesty.
The best way you can train your little girls to be modest is to dress that way yourself. Be the sort of woman that you want her to be.
Training little girls to be modest is just one small area to focus on. It is vitally important to train them in good character, which is why we created Character Badges. But we don’t just focus on good character. There can be good moral, upright people who don’t have a heart to follow God. Train your little girl to love God first and foremost, and then you can explain to her why we want to do good things in our lives.
The little years are incredibly fun. They bring me much joy, and I love the time of innocence. Shelter them while they are little so they can grow up to be a pure rose, one who is lovely to be around.