My mom won't enforce modesty--what to do?


#1

I want to first say that I have incredible parents. It is because of them that I am dedicated to my faith, and without the strong and vibrant example of their own faith, I would be far from being a good Catholic.
However, for whatever reason, although my mom generally dresses very modestly, my 11-year-old sister wears tight jeans, off-the-shoulder tops, and (the latest) a bikini. I've brought this up with my sister and she won't listen to me (which is to be expected). Worse, I've brought it up with my mom and she just seems to brush it off. The most she'll do is say something like, "Why don't you wear a t-shirt under that?" but won't enforce it. I don't understand. I feel powerless to do anything.
Don't get me wrong--my mom is a beautiful person. She is an incredible mother. I know this is just a lack of understanding on her part, and I know her far too well to think that there could be any kind of malice on her part. I will always love and respect her. I just feel like there is a problem here, and I don't know what to do about it. Any advice?


#2

Maybe I simply have much laxer standards than everyone else, but it does not seem like there is an inherent issue with off-the-shoulder tops or bikinis. I would say they become an issue when they are excessively revealing. Is that also an issue?


#3

You are in college now, right? Enjoy your college experience and let your Mom deal with your 11 year old sister! As the mother of a former 11 year old girl (now 27!), I can tell you that worrying about bikini's or shirts that fall off;) one's shoulders is the least of the problems a parent can face. When I was in Hawaii last fall, the only girls who were not in bikinis were those my age (LOL!) or too heavy to fit in one. Foster a loving relationship with your sister so that as she moves through her teenage years you can become a confidant and friend - if you start criticizing her clothing at age eleven, that companionship will never have the opportunity to develop.


#4

[quote="kozlosap, post:3, topic:277168"]
You are in college now, right? Enjoy your college experience and let your Mom deal with your 11 year old sister! As the mother of a former 11 year old girl (now 27!), I can tell you that worrying about bikini's or shirts that fall off;) one's shoulders is the least of the problems a parent can face. When I was in Hawaii last fall, the only girls who were not in bikinis were those my age (LOL!) or too heavy to fit in one. Foster a loving relationship with your sister so that as she moves through her teenage years you can become a confidant and friend - if you start criticizing her clothing at age eleven, that companionship will never have the opportunity to develop.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: This


#5

Maybe I simply have much laxer standards than everyone else, but it does not seem like there is an inherent issue with off-the-shoulder tops or bikinis. I would say they become an issue when they are excessively revealing. Is that also an issue?

Um, yes, they are a big issue. Just check out this website: therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse Go to "swimsuits" and "shirts" and see what guys have to say. Even my brother, who isn't particularly tempted by immodesty (for whatever reason), finds bikinis to be very immodest.


#6

I don't have an exact answer, but maybe try explaining why it is a big deal, how you want your little sister to grow up with a sense of dignity for herself and others, and even though she's still young, it's better to start early.

Also, you didn't say if your mom enforced modesty with you when you were younger, but if she did, it also might be a good idea to say you are glad she did and how you feel it really helped you.

You're mom sounds like a good person, she might just think your sister is too young to worry about that stuff. If that's the case just let her know how you feel, and that it's better to start teaching modesty now at this age then when she hits her teens and may not listen at all.

Anyway, hope this helped a little!! :)


#7

The website you posted about is not an independent site - it's a modesty website. As you grow up and live on your own and travel and meet new people, you will find that not everything is black and white. I certainly have seen women in bikinis that are much more tasteful than those in one piece skin tight suits. I'm wondering if you might be a little envious that your Mom is more lenient with your sister than she was with you? Sometimes as you are raising later children, what once seemed important years before now seems irrelevant. Is your sister going to school or is she homeschooled? Always remember, you are her Sister, and your Mom is her Mother!;)


#8

[quote="timeandeternity, post:5, topic:277168"]
Um, yes, they are a big issue. Just check out this website: therebelution.com/modestysurvey/browse Go to "swimsuits" and "shirts" and see what guys have to say. Even my brother, who isn't particularly tempted by immodesty (for whatever reason), finds bikinis to be very immodest.

[/quote]

That site is simply a site based on people's opinions that were polled. Since the consensus was that pants, even loose jeans, were "immodest", it sounds like they polled a couple of SSPX and SSPV parishes! Surveys and sites like this may seem helpful, but read between the lines and see that it's also seems to be encouraging young men to have less respect for their sisters in Christ if they don't dress according to the survey results.:(

Let your mom be the parent and you can be the big sister that shows modesty by example.


#9

As you grow up and live on your own and travel and meet new people, you will find that not everything is black and white. I certainly have seen women in bikinis that are much more tasteful than those in one piece skin tight suits.

No offense, but this just tends a little too much toward moral relativism...

I'm wondering if you might be a little envious that your Mom is more lenient with your sister than she was with you?

Not in the least. She didn't really talk to me much about modesty either--not to sound arrogant, but it was something that for me was easy to "get."

Since the consensus was that pants, even loose jeans, were "immodest", it sounds like they polled a couple of SSPX and SSPV parishes!

You evidently misread the results. The result of the poll was that loose pants were often MORE modest than skirts, actually. The poll was conducted on a wide range of young Christian men going to private schools, public schools, in college, etc.


#10

[quote="LightBound, post:8, topic:277168"]
That site is simply a site based on people's opinions that were polled. Since the consensus was that pants, even loose jeans, were "immodest", *it sounds like they polled a couple of SSPX and SSPV parishes! * Surveys and sites like this may seem helpful, but read between the lines and see that it's also seems to be encouraging young men to have less respect for their sisters in Christ if they don't dress according to the survey results.:(

Let your mom be the parent and you can be the big sister that shows modesty by example.

[/quote]


Whoever they were that got polled --- looks like a bunch of "modesty" extremists.


#11

[quote="timeandeternity, post:9, topic:277168"]

You evidently misread the results. The result of the poll was that loose pants were often MORE modest than skirts, actually. The poll was conducted on a wide range of young Christian men going to private schools, public schools, in college, etc.

[/quote]

The results are irrelevant. I could poll traditionalist Muslim groups and see what they have to say about modesty, but I assure you that the Church would not agree that that extremity (granted, one that I am assuming) was espoused by a particular set of people.

A category as broad as "tight jeans" or "bikinis" is not inherently "immodest," because immodesty fundamentally is discernible by the particulars. Something is identifiably immodest because there are concrete aspects to it that are immodest. For example, string bikinis that cover almost nothing.

Although I posted this reasonable point clearly, you never actually responded to it. First, I agree with the posters who suggest that you let your mother parent your sister. At the same time, it is heartening to see that you care for and love your sister and are concerned about her.

What is lacking from this thread is a definitive issue. You say that she is wearing bikinis. Are they immodest? She is wearing off-the-shoulder shirts. Are they immodest? The answer is not necessarily yes -- you can have non-revealing outfits in both.

So, I will ask again,

I would say they become an issue when they are excessively revealing. Is that also an issue?

For example, a bikini with total material surface area of less than a dime. That would be problem for obvious reasons. :p


#12

[quote="timeandeternity, post:9, topic:277168"]
No offense, but this just tends a little too much toward moral relativism...

Not in the least. She didn't really talk to me much about modesty either--not to sound arrogant, but it was something that for me was easy to "get."

You evidently misread the results. The result of the poll was that loose pants were often MORE modest than skirts, actually. The poll was conducted on a wide range of young Christian men going to private schools, public schools, in college, etc.

[/quote]

Yes, I did misread the results. Actually, I will admit that I thought the options given were the results. That's what I get for checking things via my cell phone instead of an actual computer that allows me to click on links :o

Anyway, just keep being a fashion example for your little sister and maybe take her shopping to help her make better decisions.


#13

[quote="kozlosap, post:3, topic:277168"]
You are in college now, right? Enjoy your college experience and let your Mom deal with your 11 year old sister! As the mother of a former 11 year old girl (now 27!), I can tell you that worrying about bikini's or shirts that fall off;) one's shoulders is the least of the problems a parent can face. When I was in Hawaii last fall, the only girls who were not in bikinis were those my age (LOL!) or too heavy to fit in one. Foster a loving relationship with your sister so that as she moves through her teenage years you can become a confidant and friend - if you start criticizing her clothing at age eleven, that companionship will never have the opportunity to develop.

[/quote]

What excellent advice. I was going to suggest that your mother might be picking her battles with your sister. This may be very frustrating for you as I am sure that she never had to deal with such things with you because you were probably self regulating and obviously saw the importance of modesty. A rare gift in today's youth I might say, you are truly blessed.
As a mother of a 17 year old ,very strong willed girl, I have learn't that the best tactic is to have tough love when necessary but to pick one's battles and only fight the ones of UTMOST importance such as ones that pertain to mortal sin. Then be there to listen when ever they need you and PRAY hard but leave the judgement to Jesus.


#14

[quote="Baelor, post:2, topic:277168"]
Maybe I simply have much laxer standards than everyone else, but it does not seem like there is an inherent issue with off-the-shoulder tops or bikinis. I would say they become an issue when they are excessively revealing. Is that also an issue?

[/quote]

Bikinis by their very nature ARE excessively revealing......the next step is nudity after all!:eek:


#15

[quote="Baelor, post:2, topic:277168"]
Maybe I simply have much laxer standards than everyone else, but it does not seem like there is an inherent issue with off-the-shoulder tops or bikinis. I would say they become an issue when they are excessively revealing. Is that also an issue?

A category as broad as "tight jeans" or "bikinis" is not inherently "immodest," because immodesty fundamentally is discernible by the particulars. Something is identifiably immodest because there are concrete aspects to it that are immodest. For example, string bikinis that cover almost nothing. "

What is lacking from this thread is a definitive issue. You say that she is wearing bikinis. Are they immodest? She is wearing off-the-shoulder shirts. Are they immodest? The answer is not necessarily yes -- you can have non-revealing outfits in both.

So, I will ask again,

For example, a bikini with total material surface area of less than a dime. That would be problem for obvious reasons. :p

[/quote]

"Obvious reasons" by who's standards THAT is the problem. And who's measuring stick do we use for what is enough skin covered to be modest or too much skin uncovered to be excessive? You see the problem IS relativism when you use the word "excessive" and this line of argumentation.

How about the fact that it is a sin to cause our fellow brother in Christ to stumble...add to that the fact that a young man thinks of sex every 8 seconds then for a woman to wear skin tight anything is a sin?


#16

[quote="LightBound, post:12, topic:277168"]

Anyway, just keep being a fashion example for your little sister and maybe take her shopping to help her make better decisions.

[/quote]

I think this too is some of the best advice. You know it was St Francis I believe who told his followers to preach always , only if necessary use words. In other words be the good example for your little sister , gain her love and respect by loving her unconditionally .

If I may suggest a very good book that might help you love your sister in your actions ( and will help with all your relationships) it is called The 5 Love Languages. This was originally written for married couples to improve their marriages but is now in several different versions including "for children and teens" but honestly I would recommend reading the original version first. When I did this it completely changed my relationship with my mother , my husband and my children.
The basic premiss is that we all experience love differently and we all have a love 'tank' that needs to be filled in order for us to be able to love back. There are 5 basic ways that people show and receive love BUT most people have 2 primary ones. For example My mother's primary love language is "gifts" now this is going to sound crazy but I know this now because she GIVES gifts all the time...spending money that she does not really have to spare and it drives me crazy, but the book helped me understand and so I can appreciate her better now and show her my love by giving her gifts - not necessarily material ones.
My own primary love language is physical touch and thank God he gave me a child with the same need because my husband certainly does not naturally speak this language- although since the book he is learning to be 'bi-lingual' LOL This is a very small example but I can highly recommend the book.


#17

The results are irrelevant. I could poll traditionalist Muslim groups and see what they have to say about modesty, but I assure you that the Church would not agree that that extremity (granted, one that I am assuming) was espoused by a particular set of people.

How are the results irrelevant? This poll took into account a wide range of viewpoints within a Christian perspective. It wasn't Fundamentalists or SSPX churches--it was just a bunch of normal Christian guys.

What is lacking from this thread is a definitive issue. You say that she is wearing bikinis. Are they immodest? She is wearing off-the-shoulder shirts. Are they immodest? The answer is not necessarily yes -- you can have non-revealing outfits in both.

The nature of a bikini or a shirt that's falling off your shoulder is to be revealing. My best friend struggled with impurity for a long time, and one of the things that triggered his impurity the most was immodesty. He's mentioned bikinis, tight jeans, and these types of shirts when talking to me about his struggles. Also, take a quick glance at the history of the bikini: historyofwaterfilters.com/bikini.html

All that being said, I will take the advice of those who have told me to be a sister and let my mother be a mother. I think it's great advice, and I plan to follow it.


#18

i think its a good thing that you think modesty is important. in our society so many people think that it is not a big deal to go out in a bikini because it makes them look hot or because it is what everyone else is doing, but in reality they might as well be going out in the underwear. Dont let anyone tell you that it is alright, espescially if u know it is wrong!


#19

I have very little advice except this: Do NOT try to parent your younger sister. You need to be her friend and confidante, and you will not be able to do that if she sees you as a nagging, self-righteous parental, or wannabe parental figure. When you guys are in your 30's and having kids your age difference won't matter. Don't ruin your chance of having a very natural and adult relationship with her in the future over an off the shoulder shirt.

My older brother tried to parent me when I was a kid and teenager, and we are still trying to repair our relationship and make it one of equals. It has been hard and emotionally draining for both of us.


#20

Maybe you friend needs to seek therapy – if he is having that much of a problem.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.