Often, when people hear the word modesty, they think that it only concerns what a girl is wearing, but Merriam-Webster dictionary defines modesty as:
1: the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities
She accepted the award with modesty.
2: propriety in dress, speech, or conduct
The young man was known for his modesty.
Modesty is important for both males and females. It is not only what someone presents to the world, but also what they take in. It is important to strive to be modest in all three areas : the way they dress, the way they act, and the content they consume. Consider that one can be modestly dressed, but not speak modestly to others, in person or online. One can act modestly throughout the day but read or watch content that is immodest. Talking with your child about modesty will be an ongoing topic as they continue to grow and mature.
Model for your child what modesty looks like in your conduct, speech, and dress. This is in what you choose to watch, read, wear, and how you act or talk around others.
Have regular conversations about your hopes and expectations regarding modesty in terms of actions, words, and dress. Recognize that these may change as your child grows. It also may vary based on the season. Your definition of modesty may not match your child’s. This is a time to have a fruitful conversation about why you feel the way you do and to listen to their opinion. Take that to prayer and talk about ways you can compromise. Begin the conversation with your child by looking at outside examples. For instance, when watching a television show or movie, ask your child how they saw a particular character show modesty. Ask your child what challenges the character faces to do that as well as what could support them in that decision. This could turn into a conversation on ways you can help or support your child with situations of modesty.
Consider ways to help your child make modest choices. This may be practicing what to say or do in specific situations. It could be offering to shop with them for clothes that make them feel confident, comfortable, and able to grow into who God made them to be.
Preview books or shows your child may read or watch to determine if they could cause your child to be immodest in some way. For example, a romance novel with steamy scenes may not be as explicit as pornography, but both can lead someone to think or act immodestly.
It’s important to remember that even while striving to make modest choices, sometimes your child may make immodest ones. Remind them that they can come and talk to you about those. Reinforce that you will be there to support them, pray for and with them, and help them consider future choices.
Talk with your child about what their actions, words, and clothing choices mean. Help them look at their motivation and discern what God is asking them to do. This is an important discussion whether you have a son or a daughter. For example, recognizing that their outfit selections can help garner confidence, help your child consider what their intentions are with what they choose to wear (or not wear) in different situations (i.e., at church, at school, at the beach). Are they wearing them because they feel confident and capable to be the best version of themselves or are they wearing them to gain attention from others or to simply fit in? This is also a great time to help your child understand that their words and actions impact others. If they say something immodest about someone else, this can impact not only that person, but others who hear it as well.
Help your child pray in their preferred prayer style to help them connect with the Lord. Then they can take some of these choices to him. Also, as they connect with the Lord, they may become better attuned to how he loves them as they are.
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