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Teaching Modesty To Children: 13 Latter-Day Saint Moms Weigh In

by Elizabeth Morgan 7 min read

Ever since Adam and I found out we were pregnant with twins, I started thinking about things I'd never thought of before. Things like vaccinations, circumcision, and raising children.

I thought to myself, "If we have girls, how am I going to explain modesty to them?" This is what inspired me to ask around and see what other latter day saint women are doing. 

Have you ever thought about teaching modesty to children? It can be difficult. Here's how 13 Latter-Day Saint moms have done it.

1. Camille Hill

As a mom to 6 young kids, I've tried to instill family rules and values now that will {hopefully!} be applied their entire life especially when it comes to what they wear.  I feel it's best to have an open dialogue about what are appropriate modesty standards for our family.

Discuss modesty BEFORE the issue presents itself so the answer is already put in place when it does. I've also found a huge help is when friends have the same dress standards as our family. I know this isn't always possible but if parents can discuss dress standards with close family friends and try to come up with a similar "dress code," you might even be able to avoid a battle altogether - kids always want to do and be like their friends.

And as is true with junk food, if you don't buy it, you most likely won't eat it. The same goes to clothing. If I don’t buy it, they won’t wear it. If clothing comes into your house through other avenues (like hand-me-downs), make sure you go through the clothing before your child does, discarding anything that doesn't meet family dress standards. 

As the parent, I have major control as to what gets put in my kids' closets and at the end of the day (well, I suppose more like the beginning of the day if I'm being technical!), they wear what's in there.

Related Content: How Different Religions Around The World Define Modesty

2. Katelyn Fagan

Katelyn Fagan from WhatsUpFagans.com

Honestly, I haven't talked to my 9-year-old daughters all that much about modesty. Modesty right now is more in terms of wearing appropriate clothing, and making sure things like our underwear cannot be seen when wearing a skirt. I don't want to emphasize clothing as either modest or immodest as I know it breeds judgment more often than not.

I instead focus on who they are becoming, focusing on what type of person they want to be, on how their actions and dress can reflect that persona. At this age, pre-puberty, they aren't dressing for attention or to be sexy. At this age, I want them to love the body they have and to treat it modestly and appropriately, to care for it, and make it work and function properly. 

3. Shannon Christensen

Shannon Christensen runs LDSNest.com

  • Understand Modesty yourself. Look up the definition and other ideas to define it. We can’t teach what we don’t know. For Example: Modesty is the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness; having a regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress; simplicity; moderation.
  • Family Plan. It’s okay to do, or not do, things differently than other families. Determine as parents how you want modesty to play out in your family. What’s important? What’s a pass? Have clear expectations that everyone follows.
  • Why is it important? If it’s not important to you it’s not likely to be important to them. Understanding why helps you implement the what.
  • Start early. The earlier the easier. Some clothes, phrases or attitudes may be cute when they’re little but it’s easier to correct and teach behavior while young.
  • Blessings & Benefits. What are the blessings and benefits from your plan. Help them understand why it’s important to you. Transition them from outer actions to an inner conviction.

4. Megan Hanson

Megan Hanson runs loveprayteach.com

When teaching our children about modesty, we need to be teaching them that it’s less about how long our shorts are or if we have our shoulders covered, and more about our attitudes. When you put on your clothing, ask yourself:

  • “Why did I choose this shirt to wear?
  • Do I feel good in it?
  • Would I still feel good in it if Jesus came to visit me today?”

When we have an attitude of living our lives to please God, being modest comes naturally.

5. Kary Ann Hoopes

Modesty is an inner thought that is expressed outwardly.  Its something that connects you to your self worth, your self confidence, and teaching that has to be done by example.  You cant just preach, you have to practice it. You have to share your self ideal of modesty, by living it and sharing it not just talking about it. 

6. Melody Bergman

Melody Bergman runs MamaCrossroads.com

Recently, I was talking to a friend about little girls and swimsuits. Our kids were both invited to the 5th-grade pool party, and her daughter asked to wear a bikini instead of a one-piece. I loved her answer! She explained that boys look at us differently when we don’t cover our skin.

Theytreat us differently. “My mother always told me:Boys eat with their eyes,” she said. When we’re teaching our kids about modesty, this is a great image to remember. We really do “eat with our eyes.” So let’s be smart when we’re choosing what to wear!

7. Cherri Brooks

Cherri Brooks is the author of Teaching Children About Sex

Modesty is glorifying God in all things. It is more than the clothing we wear. Teach children why we wear certain clothes and do certain things. We should never draw attention to ourselves because of what we wear or what we are doing.

When we wear swimsuits, we should choose a suit that feels comfortable and appropriate for the activity we are engaging in. We choose the suit based on the activity, not the way we want others to view us. When we do something kind, we do it not for the attention of others, but to be God’s hands.  

8. Nikki Casassa

Nikki Casassa writes at melonheadzillustrating.blogspot.com

When I think of teaching modesty to children, I think of two things. The first is leading by example. As the mother of 3 girls, I knew that I needed to be modest in my dress and behavior if I wanted my children to do the same. The second is establishing modesty early in their lives, and not make exceptions.

Sports and some activities may involve something that may not fit our usual standards, and I'm ok with that, but allowing one set of "too short" shorts took months of work to get us back in to the standards we look for in our clothing. I'm so grateful when I can find stylish, affordable, and modest clothing for my girls!

9. Melanie

Melanie helps people teach the gospel better.

From the time my children were small, I dressed them modestly so that it would be a lifestyle that they naturally stuck to the older they got.

In today’s society, there seems to be two extremes, those who look as if they’ve just rolled out of bed and those who wear expensive clothing. I try to teach my kids that there is a happy medium. I believe that a happy medium is taught by the example of the righteous Nephites when “they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.” (Alma 1:26)

Being neat and comely involves putting forth an effort each day to look our best and dress modestly without using “costly apparel.” As we do, we reap the rewards of increased self- confidence and self-worth.

10. Kate Tekurio

Kate Tekurio blogs at kateable.com

I think the most important thing to do to teach our children about modesty is to start them young. As soon as my baby was born, she always was modest, right from the start. If that is all they've ever known, it makes it easier to always stay modest.

I always hear the phrase, "Modest is hottest" and I do not agree at all. We should not teach them that being modest makes you hot, that's not the point. The point of modesty is to feel comfortable with yourself and love who you are, and ultimately that is what we should teach them. 

11. Lisa Jorgensen

 Lisa Jorgensen runs makinglifeblissful.com

One on the main ways I taught my children modesty was reinforcing the value from a young age. I believe that if it’s important to be modest at age 18 then it’s important to be modest at 3 years old as well. I teach my children to love their body as children, to respect it, and dress appropriately from day one.

Now that they are older I see that they understand modesty a lot more because it’s a part of who they are. They struggle less with modesty decisions and feel comfortable and happy with who they are. 

12. Molly De Leon

Molly De Leon runs whatsleftofmyinspiration.blogspot.com

Teaching modesty to children is crucial, especially now. Children need to learn that their body is a temple, sacredly created in the image of God. Because he divinely created each and every one of us after Him, we need to take care of the bodies he gave us.

This means wearing clothing that covers our bodies. At the end of the day, you just have to say to yourself, “Who do I respect more, God, or my friends?” Remember who created you. How sacred you are. 

13. Marilyn Evans

Marilyn Evans owns parentsaware.info

The following is an abstract from my article on ParentsAware.info, How My Son Taught Me That Modesty is an Attitude.

For me, modesty is an attitude that reflects healthy body image. Cultivating this attitude can improve self-esteem in both girls and boys. Yes, boys! In the era of selfies and the endless quest for likes, I'm trying to help my children recognize the distinction between healthy appreciation for one’s own body vs body obsession.

As a family, we’ve concluded that modesty is presenting yourself respectfully and wearing the right clothes for the right occasion. We also think you can behave modestly no matter what attire the circumstances require.

If you're a mom, how did you teach modesty to your daughters? Comment below with your answer. If this post has helped you in any way, please pin this image on Pinterest.

 

teaching modesty to children

Elizabeth Morgan
Elizabeth Morgan


2 Responses

Peggy Bogar
Peggy Bogar

April 26, 2019

It is well presented and a good topic and this gives helpful insights, thank you. I agree it is most beneficial to start teaching modesty early and before there is a problem with inappropriate choices coming into play. Always be a good example in dress and other standards. Don’t send mixed messages.

Rozy
Rozy

April 26, 2019

I agree with many of the women here. It is so important to begin when children are young, teaching them that our bodies are temples and to respect ours and others. I wanted our children to be prepared to enter the temple so I encouraged them to wear clothing that would cover garments so they’d be accustomed to dressing modestly. Boys included! I had them wear white t-shirts under their other shirts so they’d understand the feeling of underclothing. When they went through the temple they didn’t have to change anything in their wardrobes and were used to wearing underclothing, so it was no big deal. Our daughter often tells me how grateful she is for the teachings of her childhood and youth in preparing her for the temple.

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