My husband and I didn't sit down and discuss skirt lengths or necklines over Cheerios and milk with our toddlers, but we did begin to teach them about modesty. Yes, I know my kids may have seemed too young to start this conversation. Toddlers may not be able to even process the concept of modesty, according to best-selling author and speaker Dannah Gresh. "They still like very much to rip off their clothes and run naked as if they lived in Eden," she explains. If modesty isn't a concept toddlers can grasp, then why bother? My husband and I realized that this was an age where we could lay a foundation for future discussions.
We started by teaching our girls to keep their clothes on at other people's houses and in public places. Next, we trained them to shut the door when using the bathroom. Through it all, we talked about how God created their bodies special and called them "very good."
We also did not dress our 2-year-olds in clothes that we didn't want them wearing at 15. So at the pool and beach, we opted for more coverage, despite how cute their baby bellies were. Our purpose was to establish clothing standards early on. We were concerned that if we waited until they were older, then we'd be sending mixed messages on whether their bodies really were sacred.
"If we wait until a child's body is fully mature and then teach them modesty, the message gets confusing," Gresh says. "They may feel that their body is bad." Kids need to understand that the problem lies with the immodest clothing, not their bodies, Gresh explains. Teaching them modesty at an early age, when they still have child and not teen bodies, can help make this distinction clear.
This article appeared in the February/March 2016 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2016 by Ashleigh Slater. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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