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How to Encourage Modesty in Girls

Updated on October 28, 2008

With role models flashing just about everything as they exit limos to hit the club scene, how do we impress upon our girls that this is Not Cool without coming across as completely un-cool ourselves? It's a dilemma worth puzzling over.

Did you know you can buy thong underwear for pre-teens now? Huh? We need to learn how to woo our girls to our way of thinking rather than presenting the Just Say No approach. Here are some things to think about if you want to convince your daughters to cover up.

Other Ways to Encourage Modest Dress

  • Find Great Role Models: Encourage relationships with older girls who portray what you'd like to see your daughter emulate. Of course this is not going to work every time, but it's worth a try.
  • Un-Frumpify Yourself: Your daughter is more likely to take your advice if you don't look like the mom off an eighties sit-com. She'll model style naturally if you've got some!
  • Don't Nag: Pick a stance and stick with it, but don't peck away at every little choice she makes. Otherwise you run the risk of pushing her away completely.
  • Point Out Examples: You can observe both good and bad examples in the media and around town. Ask questions about what the clothing you see says or seems to say about the girl wearing it. Get a discussion going.
  • Offer fashionable options.

Get Honest

Some of the problem may be in the fact that we are so afraid to discuss any matters of sex with our children. Does your fourteen-year-old daughter understand why you don't want her showing her belly at the mall in front of leering men? If we don't explain our reasoning to them, kids are much less likely to put any stock into anything we have to say. You don't want to scare her, but she needs to comprehend the real dangers of presenting herself in an immodest way. If she's old enough to have breasts, you need to teach her about them, including the part about boys and men being obsessed with them!

Is She Getting Enough Attention?

Make sure she gets the right kind of attention at home and your daughter will be less likely to seek it out from strangers on the street. Specifically, does Dad value her? Is she complimented on traits other than her looks? Is she encouraged to pursue her own interests regardless of what other kids are up to? Does she feel comfortable coming to parents or other adult role models when she's upset, confused, or hurt?

We need to explain to our girls that true confidence comes from inside out and there's no reason to bring on cheap attention by dressing provocatively. The problem in some cases may simply be that our girls don't know what appropriate dress is. The girls on TV wear practically nothing, so why can't they?

Choose Your Battles

Truth is, time marches on without us. If ideas about modesty never changed, we'd still be swimming in full body suits. There is nothing inherently wrong about the human body, and sexual impulse is as natural as breathing. If we're open and honest with out daughters, they may just listen to us.


Submit a Comment

  • ar.colton profile image

    Mikal Smith 7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

    This is a great hub! Very timely, I remember as a teenager wondering why it was that lewd attention from boys and men you weren't interested in was such an important part of your status as a blossoming woman.

    I think that may be a factor in it as well, that these girls are trying to define their womanhood and (even at 12 and 13) their sexuality. It's important that they have good examples of other ways to define and explore these things while maintaining healthy self-respect.

  • profile image

    Chekira Hill 7 years ago

    Nice!I'm ten and I have to look at girls in my school like "Are you sure your suppose to be wearing that?Does your mom say it's ok to wear that?".But I have my own style!I mainly dress modest and when it gets cold,I mix and match up a pair of skinny jeans,probably a tee that says "Say what?",and some converse!But I really do like the idea of you writing this!I really do look up to my mom for help,advice,and anything she has to offer for me.Espicially the sex talk.We've had it 3 times just to make sure I understand.I'm ten and there is NO WAY I will ever have the you know before I'm married!But the girls and women that dress SO provacatively need to think about this if they have daughters-"Hmmm....should I really be dressing like this?Do I want my daughter to dress like this?".That is what they should be thinking about.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

    Good theme, good dialogue, hope it continues!

    Honest husbands/fathers/men who communicate what kind of clothing endangers wives/daughters/women are possibly THE biggest help to mothers trying to teach their daughters to help protect themselves through modesty.

    I have seen women dismiss the input of men on this matter, but where better than the source to get the facts?

    Men are sometimes afraid to be honest about it, though, since a lot of women dress as streetwalkers to go to work, then insist that men not respond to their tight clothing, low necklines, or short split skirts.

  • profile image

    Nua 8 years ago

    They don't have to be quite as isolated from men as at an all-girls school. All girls camps are a great way of instilling self-worth in teen girls.

  • In The Doghouse profile image

    In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California


    I just found this Hub and love it. I am going to link it to my Hub on Modesty, which seems to be getting some traffic right now. This is an important issue that needs to be heard! Great ideas about Modesty.

  • barranca profile image

    barranca 10 years ago

    Send them to a girl's school. There they will develop integrity and self-worth largely apart from the pressure to perform sexually.

  • Maddie Ruud profile image

    Maddie Ruud 10 years ago from Oakland, CA

    Love, love, LOVE this hub. It is tragic the way our young women are being brought up to think their only self-worth is derived from how "sexy" they are.

  • Money Digger profile image

    Money Digger 10 years ago

    Hi Lela... Nice one!

    Mothers have the greatest influence to their daughters.... My mother is not a strict one, she lets me wear anything I want to. But if she thinks that the dress shows more skin, then that's the time she'll enter the scene. And will tell me that the dress is to "catchy" for somebody's attention.

  • Money Digger profile image

    Money Digger 10 years ago

    And I would also like to add that, the huge influence of media is one factor too. Mothers should guide their (teens) daughters well...

  • Ralph Deeds profile image

    Ralph Deeds 10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

    One of the best ways to impart values is by example. Many mothers I've noticed aren't setting a very good example for their daughters.

  • Woemwood profile image

    Woemwood 10 years ago from Melbourne Australia

    A very timely subject indeed, having two daughters myself, my wife Katharina found it often very difficult, to explain the difference between showmanship and reality. And you are pinpointing the problem correctly, it is the parents that are not taking the time or the interest in their children to explain the reasons behind certain rules of human interaction.Men are what they are, and nothing is going to change that in a hurry, they after a free lunch, but the real love come's a lot later when the girl is already ruined.I have been married for 52 years now, I cannot say that true love or true friendship depends on sex, and that is what the young ones these days don't believe. Miss Lela this article should be rated 100.