Modeling modesty in dress



I am the father of two young girls (3 yrs and 11 months). My wife makes the third person of a kind in the home.
We have recently noticed that our three-year old Anastasia stands in a particular way to have her photos taken (especially on a Sunday morning when she is wearing a dress for the first time).
Her pose is the kind you see on TV fashion shows. We do not yet expect a 3-year old to be standing hands at the waist trying to show off her backside.

How do we prevent our little innocent girls from learning to dress in a way that the world promotes today and instead stick to apparel that maintains their dignity as human beings and children of God?
How have you dealt with modesty in your home? What have been your successes, challenges, lessons learned, things you would have done differently in hindsight?

Thank you for your ideas and suggestions.



This isn’t uncommon for little girls, just so you know. Sometimes it is natural for little girls to act like that (not intentionally being immodest). Of course, I’m not justifying it in any way.

I am not a parent, but my parents always tell my little sisters that we just don’t act like that, as Christians. And they say that it means something bad. For a lot of little girls, that’s all they need to know in order to stop. She of course doesn’t really mean to be immodest, or sinful, and I’m sure you’re aware of that.

Perhaps for a time you should make sure she isn’t looking at any of those terrible tabloids at the grocery store, and things like that. Tell her it doesn’t look very nice. She’s likely acting like this because she thinks it’s “cutesy” or “grown-up”.

I’ll be praying for you and your family!


Thanks @Duckling for your encouragement.

We did not take our 3-year old responses during photo-ops as immodest, but we think she may pick up many more ideas far quicker. For instance, she already says I want to wear this and not that in the morning, something we knew would come. But a strong-willed child can persist in their wrong ideas well into puberty.

Interesting that you mention the magazines at the store. Fortunately, he has no interest yet even in the pictures. The 3 year-old mostly wants candy close to the check-out counters. We are toying with the idea of developing little fashion picture books for her to develop ideas of modest dress and so on…


It sounds like you are reading too much into a three-year-old’s actions. Or maybe I am not understanding. She just poses with her hands on her hips? I can’t really picture what you are describing.


The little girl’s behavior in the photo-ops example is not what I want to draw attention to per se. It seems to us that her sense of awareness is a little ahead of her 3 years and may soon learn other things that can be detrimental to her understanding the value of modesty. We are watching and just trying to be pro-active (no anxiety).


Ok. I guess I am just not getting a clear picture of the problem from what you have shared. Lots of little kids (including my brother at age 3-5) have strong opinions on what they want to wear. I don’t see the connection to modesty.


My two year old is also very opinionated on her choice of attire; however, she typically poses as a dragon mid roar for pictures, lol.

For now, I have few rules. Top closet bar is for church/nice only. If she wears a skirt or dress she has to have shorts, leggings, or tights on underneath. Otherwise I let her do her thing.

I think the most important thing, which I’m sure you do, is to praise daughters for more than being cute. If they know they are valued by their father (and mother) for being smart, courageous, empathetic, loving, creative, etc. They won’t tolorate or try and impress others who only value them for their physical attributes.


I agree with @JetteZ

You and your wife are handling this very well in being proactive and cautious. :slight_smile:

That’s good that she has no interest in the magazines. I only mentioned them because I know I’ve had to tap the shoulder of my four year old sister and tell her to not look at them. I think she’s mainly confused about them. lol.


Even Saint Therese wasn’t happy with a particular garment she was required to wear when she was a little girl (Story of a Soul."


It’s imitative behavior.
She’s going to go through lots of stages and phases in style and dress.
I seriously wouldn’t harp too much or even pay it attention. There is no deep thought process going on with her about this, truly.
She’s not even old enough to choose her own friends yet.
I’d be more concerned about what she’s watching on those kid channels, actually.


My children are older, and I found that they will want to follow fashion. This does not mean that they wear immodest clothes. They know what is appropriate.

Dignity for her body and the desire to dress modestly starts now with your little one, with a respect to privacy in bathroom matters (close the door) and when dressing, how to sit when wearing a dress etc.Im sure you are beginning to teach her these behaviors.


@Katie777: Spot on. Respect for privacy. Our 3 year-old often insists on having the bathroom door closed. But yes, we have to do more work to ensure, for instance, that when she is going for a shower, she doesn’t throw clothes off and dash nude to the bathroom.

How did your children learn what is appropriate dress? Have they simply been told?


I used to shop for them and made,sure the clothes were fun yet that they were modest too.

Reminders throughout the day, such as put on your little bathrobe over pjs and things like that.

It was mostly behaviors that become habits.


Three year old takes a shower by herself?


I’m having a hard time picturing how she is standing exactly, but she likely is just copying something she saw on TV or saw another kid doing. If her posture is indecent, just tell her “We don’t stand like that for pictures, it’s immodest. Stand properly like this instead.” And then move on and not make a big deal.


Are the pjs by themselves immodest?


No. Regular pjs.


Kids pick up poses from seeing other people do it. Agree, another kid, an adult, TV show, commercial, she saw someone else do it.


No. She still has a long way to go to bathe herself.


I think PJ’s whether for boys or girls and nighties need a dressing gown or robe outside the bedroom to stay modest.

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