In the early tween years, your child is formulating their sense of identity. They may do this through experimenting with their personal choices and decisions, such as dressing.
If you’re taking your tween shopping, this is the best time to impart the value of modesty! Set clear guidelines for appropriate dressing right at the start and pick out apparel that makes them feel presentable and confident.
Pay attention to your child’s role models, whether they are singers, celebrities or admired figures whom your child looks up to, and observe their fashion choices. Recognise the influence these figures can have on your child’s dressing.
Discuss how clothing that reveals too much skin will get them unwanted attention and put them at risk of being objectified. Keep an eye out for subtle messages on clothing that may carry suggestive undertones. Frame your concerns as a way to teach your child to respect and honour their body, fostering in them a sense of self-worth that goes beyond how others view their appearance.
If your child thinks you are old-fashioned, stay calm in the moment and explain how dressing modestly can still be stylish. Listen to your child’s viewpoints and stay curious instead of making judgmental remarks, which may push them away from you.
In this phase of discovery and self-expression, having a supportive and open environment makes all the difference for your child to know you are on their side!
The societal pressure to dress like their peers and famous personalities will be more apparent in the teenage years. This is also the time when teens may develop romantic interests.
If you have not talked about modesty with your child, it is not too late. In family meetings, have conversations on why modesty still matters in today’s day and age, and what is an acceptable standard for your family. Emphasise on values like modesty and inner beauty while expressing understanding for your child’s need to fit in.
Share candid stories of fashion disasters when you yourself may have blindly followed trends in your youth. Your willingness to share your life experiences with them can go a long way in building connection. Offer to go shopping with your child and give practical guidance and suggestions on what is acceptable to both of you.
Encourage your child to think critically about the reasons behind your family’s guidelines rather than simply imposing them. Have them consider questions such as,
Fathers, do not underestimate your role in your growing teen daughter’s sense of identity. You play a significant role in building your child’s self-esteem when you affirm how important she is to you. Pay genuine compliments when your daughter dresses appropriately to reinforce her self-worth so she does not have to look elsewhere for approval.
Besides her character and inner beauty, complimenting specific physical traits such as her hair, eyes or even a specific (modest) outfit can do wonders to boost your daughter’s confidence in her growing years.
Maintaining modesty may be an uphill challenge for teenagers in an increasing hyper-sexualised world, but by showing our teens we are on their side, we can instil hope that modesty is achievable without compromising their personal style, tastes, and sense of belonging.
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