Teaching Modesty to Children
January 30, 2019
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is adapted from Dressing for the Lord, which is available in print and eBook editions from Way of Life Literature.

Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

This verse reminds us that training in modesty best begins in childhood. Many married women in Bible-believing churches did not have an opportunity to grow up in a godly Christian home and were not taught how to be modest when they were young, but now they have the opportunity to provide such a home for the next generation. This is a great blessing as well as a large responsibility.

The best time to teach a girl how to dress modestly is when she is a toddler. When she reaches teenage years she will be habituated to dressing in a feminine and modest manner and will not feel strange wearing a nice dress. She will also know how to be decent wearing a dress, because she learned it from her mother (and hopefully grandmother, aunts, etc.) from childhood.

One of our granddaughters is three years old, and her mother dresses her in nice dresses all of the time except when she is bathing and sleeping or getting ready for bed and is in her pajamas. She is learning how to sit properly in a dress. She is learning that her brother wears pants but she wears dresses, because she is different. My earnest prayer is that she will never turn aside from this modest and lovely and scriptural way of dressing.

Of course, the key is not merely dressing a child properly but teaching her why she is dressed that way, instilling in her the Bible principles of modesty throughout her childhood, and praying that she will be saved and take these principles to heart because she wants to please the Lord. Female fashions change constantly, and the Christian woman must learn how to apply Bible principles to whatever comes along.

Beware of the fashion industry. It is trying to sexualize and uni-sexualize children from a young age, and parents and grandparents must refuse to purchase the trash that is being offered. The following warning is very timely:

“It was a hot summer’s day in 2002 when I decided to buy sandals for our 4- and 6-year-old daughters. I never anticipated our retail excursion would prove to be so educational. We’re talking sandals, now. Plain, ordinary sandals, the kind every one of us grew up in. But after going to eleven different stores I still couldn't find anything even remotely suitable. Why? Because every pair of sandals I found--every single pair--had high heels.

“High heels for a 4-year-old? How can a child run and jump and play wearing high heels? I'll tell you the answer: She can’t. Apparently, girls’ sandals aren’t meant for running and jumping and playing. They’re meant to make little girls look like tarts. ...

“It amazes me that 40 years after the sexual revolution that was supposed to ‘free’ women from the ‘oppression’ of men, we find ourselves teaching our daughters that their only worth is in looking slutty. Boys don’t respect girls anymore because girls don’t require and demand it. And it all starts by buying 4-year-olds high-heeled sandals and Bratz dolls.

“So, who is at fault for pre-sexualizing our kids? Sure, we can blame a lot of things. Society. The fashion industry. Hollywood. Public schools. Pick one.

“But what it boils down to is you, the parent, allowing it. Yes, allowing it. ...

“I’ve heard some parents say they can’t ‘stop’ pre-sexualization because kids will learn it in school or from peers. Many parents feel victimized, swept helplessly along the tide of society and unable to do anything about it. Hogwash. It’s parents who are permitting inappropriate clothing, toys, posters and music into their homes” (“Sexy Six Year Olds,”
WorldNetDaily, May 31, 2008).

It is equally important for parents to beware of the toy industry. When our kids were growing up we never allowed Barbie Dolls or any other such thing in our house. Now there are Bratz Dolls (franchised by MGM) and a slew of other sexualized toys.

The following timely warning is from a concerned grandmother:

“I attend a fundamental church but have noticed that some parents don’t seem to have any qualms about allowing their young daughters to play with Barbie dolls. And even Polly Pocket dolls are becoming more immodest in their clothing. Also the accessories for both Barbie and Polly Pocket dolls promote a worldly look and a worldly lifestyle. ... I believe that these kinds of dolls are too immodest for girls of any age to play with, much less little girls around the ages of 4 and 5. They definitely promote the wrong message and wrong focus in a young girl’s life.”
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