Modesty, When Understanding the Why, Kids Are More Likely to Comply

1 Peter 3:3-4, culture, modesty, appearance, teens,

A question I often get asked,  “How did you handle modesty with your daughters?”

Modesty should be taught in love rather than out of fear.  Early on in our parenting we were more legalistic operating in rule-based living verses freedom.  “Your skirt should be two inches below the knee.” “Your shorts need to be a certain length.” “A girl should wear skirts.”

While modesty may be a difficult concept to teach our daughters, we must persevere.

Our desire was first to instill in the girls character and dignity.  We did our best to show them how their attire and demeanor had a correlation with the way they would be treated by men. Our focus was on their inner beauty rather than outer appearances.  Thereby instilling in them confidence, friendliness, love, joy, kindness, a servants heart and along with other godly characteristics which exude beauty.  It’s a lot easier to teach modesty to children grounded in character.

My husband monopolized teachable moments to point out “sexualization” in the media and discuss how some of the girls on magazine covers, and in movies, were revealing too much skin. He shared the impact that dressing had on some men.  As such, our daughters began to understand that wearing little clothing was like advertising their bodies. He taught them that the bait they used would lure in the type of fish they attract.

Below are 7 tips to consider when teaching modesty to your children.

7 Tips for teaching MODESTY 

M Mom, modesty begins with you.  Remember more is caught than taught. It’s helpful to model virtue and beauty to your children.

It’s certainly okay to look beautiful and be fashionable, but I believe that the posture of the heart is a key that can be accomplished by encouraging our children to cultivate a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus.

O Use Object lessons.  Jesus was a master story teller and often used visual aids such a vine and children to teach object lessons. Walking through a vineyard while traveling to Gethsemane, he taught the importance of remaining connected to him using a grapevine. He placed a child on his knee to teach the disciples if they wanted to be first, they must be last — they must become as “little children.” (Matthew 18).

Amy Bennett shared about what her young daughters (8 & 10) taught her about modesty.  She decided to dress up in (somewhat) immodest outfits and have her daughters dress her more modestly.  Kids learn best by role playing. Visual aids make memorable lessons.

D Define standards for modesty from the get go.  If you haven’t set the tone early on, it will be harder to expect your teens to cover themselves up.  Allowing a young child to wear a bikini until she develops and then insisting she wear a one piece will send mixed messages. It is important to be clear and consistent.

If we allow young girls to wear clothing far too old for them or dress them in a sexually suggestive manner they may want to continue as they get older sending the wrong message.

In our home after my girls went shopping they would model their purchases in front of their dad.  All clothing purchases had to pass both our approval.

E Explain the reasons behind your decisions. Give children a reason to your decisions and be sure you are in agreement as a couple.  As your children mature, dialogue with them about modesty knowing they will probably push the limits from time to time.  Don’t merely seek outward conformity rather develop a heart connection.

Having Caryn’s heart and being unified on clothing decisions when she decided to participate in the local Austin Teen Beauty pageant produced a surprising outcome which I will share in my next post 🙂

S Scrutinize clothing choices with your children.  Be sure to compliment and highlight outfits that are appropriate. Use teachable moments to discuss what could make immodest outfits more appropriate.

Ask questions.

  • “Are you trading in your moral values (modesty) to model the latest fashion?”
  • “What do you think about the outfit you are wearing?”
  • Are you trying to bring attention and glory to yourself, or to God?”
  • “Are you mimicking what others are wearing to fit into the current fashion?”

T True Identity matter.  Communicate from early on how valuable your daughter is to you and God.  Focus on her inner beauty more than outer appearance. Remind her that her worth is not based on her looks, abilities, where she lives, or what others may think.  Rather her worth is based on how God sees and values her (Psalm 139:13-15) and it never changes (Roman 8:38-39). God’s love is unconditional.

Y You are a parent. You may feel powerless but ultimately you have veto rights over your daughters’ wardrobe so long as they are living under your roof. Be secure in your role as a parent to exercise that control.  However as the parent explain your decision-making process. When kids understand the why they are more likely to comply. 

Modesty should never be about shaming the female body. We should dress modestly because our bodies are God’s masterpieces and the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’.

1 Timothy 2-9, culture, modesty, appearance, teens,

It is impossible to dress in a way that prevents other people from stumbling 100% of the time which is not the point. Modesty is not about wearing a burlap bag in an attempt to hide the female form and somehow prevent men from lusting. Modesty is about valuing yourself. It is about learning to love how God made you as a woman. It is about knowing how precious you are, every part of you, and not wanting or needing to flaunt it through less fabric on your body. Modesty is not gauged by whether or not someone will easily be tempted to lust after you. It is the poise, grace and a sense of value that naturally manifests itself through the attire chosen on a daily basis. Teach your daughters their value and instill in them an understanding of their strength.

Lastly, I implore fathers to be present in their daughter’s lives as I think my husbands honest, gentle, and loving involvement in our daughter’s lives has had the greatest impact on them.  Dads need to verbalize how proud they are of their daughters and how beautiful they are. Dad’s tell your daughters they can be leaders and have a powerful voice. Words of affirmation will have the greatest impact on what your child chooses to wear. You can teach them about modesty, but without captivating their heart they will see through the rules and have no problem wearing jackets before leaving the house in an effort to cover up their plunging necklines.

Do you talk to your kids about what’s important to you, to them, and to God? Do they understand the WHY behind clothing decisions?

Waiting Until Marriage to Kiss and Be Intimate

Today’s post is by Lisa Johnson, a young lady I have had the privilege of knowing for many years.  She and her husband Jeshua were married in March 2008.  

Lisa wanted to share why they decided to wait until marriage to exchange their first kiss and to be sexually intimate. 

Lisa is now transitioning from teaching full time into being a stay at home mom as on July 23, 2014, Lisa and Jesh welcomed their precious daughter, Adelyn Sofia, into the world.

Jeshua and Lisa Johnson2

Why we saved our first kiss and sexual intimacy for our wedding day.

“First of all, we want you to know that we are nothing special because of the choices we made. We had past mistakes in relationships and screwed up like many teens and college kids do. We have fallen short of His glory. But it is because of God’s great grace and love for us that we have been forgiven and redeemed. And it is because of His kindness and mercy on our lives that led us to decide to forgo all physical intimacy until our wedding night. Yeah, people thought we were weird. Family members didn’t believe our moms when they shared our choices with them. But that’s okay. This is something that the Lord called us to, and we embraced it, and were blessed with so much freedom to just enjoy each other during our time of dating and engagement. There was no pressure to be physically intimate because we both knew that would come later. We just got to hangout and deepen our friendship and it was awesome! It doesn’t mean there weren’t times when both of us were tempted, but because of our commitment to the Lord and one another, it was never an issue. God gave us freedom to enjoy each other and enjoy Him!

How did we get to that place? Unfortunately we both made mistakes in past relationships. In our minds both of us would say that we went “too far.” Regardless of details, by the time we came into each other’s lives, we were tired of making those mistakes. I found out early in our relationship that Jesh decided in college that the next girl he kissed would be his wife on his wedding day. I appreciated so much that he was bold enough to tell me his commitment without reservation. He was strong in his commitment to the Lord and to me, and I was so thankful for that. When he told me about his decision, it was so early on in our relationship that we hadn’t even dug into our pasts yet. Jesh didn’t even know that I struggled so much with making out all the time in relationships, and that it was something I wasn’t proud of nor wanted to do anymore. How cool is the Lord to bring a man into my life whose commitment was so strong that it would provide protection for me in our relationship? When I met Jesh, neither of us had dated for almost 2 years. I had already decided that I didn’t want to kiss until at least engagement. I got what I wanted, and it was all in God’s timing and His sovereignty.

I want to mention a couple of things:

First of all, every young man and young lady is worthy of someone who will honor a commitment that they’ve made to save physical intimacy until marriage. Every single one. If you’re with someone right now and they think an idea like that is crazy and they’d break up with you over it, then you’re better off without them. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. And truth is the only thing that matters. Truth from God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-11). So just know that you are worthy. You are worthy because you are God’s child, if you know Him as your Savior and you’ve been redeemed by His blood. You are His first and foremost before you ever belong to your spouse. Your identity in Christ should define your worth (Galatians 2:20). Don’t sell yourself short or think you’re weird because you want to be wise.

The second thing I want to mention is that when it comes to living for the Lord and making decisions, you cannot mix the “wisdom” of the world with the wisdom from the Word. There’s no blending (James 3:13-17). If you’re trying to make a decision in your relationship based on what the world tells you, you’re going to get some mixed reviews and some real jacked up “advice.” You’ll hear things like this: (These are ALL lies! Do not be deceived!)

  1. You need to know each other sexually, so you can see if you’re compatible or not.
  2. Kissing and touching aren’t wrong, because that’s not sex.
  3. You have to “put out” or your boyfriend/girlfriend will break up with you
  4. If you just hangout and never get physical you’ll get bored (Trust me, marriage is not having sex all the time. Nor is life in general!).

**The list could go on and on. The important thing to remember is what you’ve been called to: holiness (1 Peter 1:14-16). Because of our sinful nature we will never be completely holy until heaven, but at least here on Earth we have a chance to strive for holiness. Verses like Hebrews 12:1-2 talk about “throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” Trust me, when it comes to physical intimacy, that is sin that is easily entangling. And it’s interacting with the opposite sex in ways that were designed to get you ready for sex. You’re interacting in ways that make it very hard to stop. They are ways that promote “oneness.” Becoming one should only be reserved for marriage. (Genesis 2:24)

I cannot tell you the number of friends I’ve talked to who didn’t set boundaries in their dating and engagement, and ended up doing things they weren’t planning on. Things reserved for the marriage bed. If sin is so easily entangling, be wise about your interactions. If you have a line, don’t do things that make you get right up next to the line, but interact in a way where you can be comfortably behind that line. Remember, God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. And He will provide a way out so you can STAND! (I Cor. 10:13) I can confidently say that Jesh and I spent our 9 month relationship comfortably behind the line, and it was a blessing to be able to enjoy a completely new part of our relationship on our wedding day, free from guilt or shame. And all glory be to God because it’s by His grace alone.

If we had the decision to make all over again, hands down we would do that again. This is a story we will share with our kids someday when they get into their teen years. We will definitely encourage them to do the same.

Last thing: Think of intimacy as a gift that you have to offer your future spouse. And I’m not just talking about sex. I’m talking about kissing and everything else. If you’re not sure you’re going to marry this person (and most relationships in high school do not end up in marriage), then why would you want someone to start opening that gift? Do you want someone to open that gift multiple times? Or do you want to give that gift to someone who’s equally committed to the Lord and to you; someone you’ve exchanged your vows with in front of the Lord and your family, and someone who you’ve now committed your life to? I’m telling you, it’s so worth waiting for!

Are you educated about the pressures and risks on your teens?

songofsolomon

Are you purposefully spending time with each child and making yourself available as a safe space for your children to share information and ask questions about sex?

Join me over at More To Be  where I am sharing a few TIDBITS 

Talking openly and honestly as communication is of utmost importance.

Internet and phone/texting safety.

Dating and waiting.

Boundaries are a must. Help your teen be proactive verses reactive.

Information helps us make wiser decisions.

Times have changed as we live in a sexually saturated society that doesn’t’ allow us the option of not talking about sex and sexuality with our children.

STD statistics that are alarming.

Blessings,

Cherie