Weird disagreement with my mom


#1

Okay, so my mom and I get along fine, a lot better than most of my friends do with their mothers. I love her to death, but like many daughters and mothers, we disagree. Now you’ll probably think this is weird, but I actually have problems with wanting to dress more modestly. It’s not like she’s encouraging me to wear midriff tops or like i want to dress like its 1370 (okay, once, but that’s a whole different story) but she’ll try to get me to wear halter tops, tank tops or bikinis and I just don’t feel comfortable wearing any of those things. Plus, a lot of my friends are guys, and I love them like brothers, but I wouldn’t want them to look at me in any different ways. She was okay with it when I was twelve and getting used to my body, but now that I’m seventeen, she’s trying to get me to dress more “grown up”. But I just don’t like what she considers grown up. Any help with this?


#2

Stay strong! Have you explained to her what you’ve explained to us here? If not, that would be a good starting point. I have heard that many parents today don’t see the immodesty of the clothing because they’ve been so desensitized. All they see is “trendy” or “grown-up” or “stylish” clothing.


#3

My mom was the same way. She was always trying to get me to dress less modestly. My mom was well intentioned but it made me more uncomfortable than she could imagine. I stuck to my guns and occasionally let her help me pick up something nice that I could wear under something else.


#4

Wear whatever your mother suggests.

Then put something on over it.


#5

That is so ODD! It’s usually the teenager pushing for less modest clothes because they’re trendy, and the mother, seeing the sexual provocation, trying to hold her back! Just goes to show that generalizations don’t always hold true for everyone.

From the point of view of me as a young woman: I developed (breasts and first period) really early, and I started a terribly bad habit of reading romance novels at a very young age, some of which were rather more explicit than a 10-year-old should really be reading. For either or both of those reasons, I felt very self-conscious walking around in public, feeling like men were looking at me in a sexually appraising way – perception or reality, who knows – and the LAST thing I would have wanted was to dress provocatively and actually INVITE men to look at me in a sexual way.

From the point of view of me as a mother: Now I am 37 and the mother of three girls (and two boys), the oldest of whom is 11 years old. Thankfully, she is developing far later than I did and is showing no interest whatsoever in romance novels (whew) so I think she is enjoying a longer, far more innocent childhood than I experienced.

As a grown woman, wife, mother, and a chastity speaker who has watched videos and read many books and articles on the subject, let me tell you, whether it’s fair or not, modest dress is a very important part of how men will look at you and treat you. We have to face it, men are just psychologically hard-wired differently than we women are. They are FAR more visually stimulated than women are. What is a “cute outfit” for us may be very provocative for them. So out of concern for the spiritual welfare of our brothers in Christ, and for our own safety and emotional well-being, we could put a little effort and thought into how our dress affects the men we encounter day to day, whether friends or strangers. Think of it this way, some young girl may be dressing in a trendy / provocative way hoping some guy at school will find her attractive, but the 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-, and 70-year-old (!) guy walking by on the street gets to see the same outfit and think “interesting” thoughts about her, too. Creeps you out, huh? Well, it should.

I recommend Wendy Shalit’s book A Return to Modesty
amazon.com/RETURN-MODESTY-Discovering-Lost-Virtue/dp/0684863170

Colleen Hammond’s book Dressing with Dignity
amazon.com/Dressing-Dignity-Colleen-Hammond/dp/0895558009

and from a guy’s point of view, Jason Evert’s book If You Really Loved Me
amazon.com/You-Really-Loved-Questions-Relationships/dp/1569553696

for some ideas on where to draw the line in dressing modestly, but more importantly, WHY to dress modestly. Showing skin is not the way to demonstrate “grown up”-ness; self-respect, self-control, and consideration of others is the way to demonstrate maturity. Your lack of comfort wearing certain outfits (halter tops, tank tops, bikinis) is all you need to say NO to them. But don’t worry, this won’t always be a source of conflict between you and your mother. Soon you’ll be out of the house, employed, self-supporting, and buying all your own clothes! :smiley: Seriously, though, best wishes as you and your mom iron out this issue between you.

Christine


#6

I might be going out on a limb here, but could it be that she wants you to dress more feminine? I have no idea of how you dress but for some reason some people consider immodest dressing cute and feminine (the truth is you can dress cute and feminine AND modest, but anyways). Tom boy clothing tends to be more modest, but also not very feminine.
Anyways, that was just one thought. If that is it, maybe you can look into more modest feminine clothing. If its simply that she would like for you to dress less modest, then you stick to your guns, you are right on this one. She may have all the best intentions but it is no good to go around tempting men and possibly being an occasion of sin for others. You know, if a woman purposely goes around dressed to provoke she is partially to blame for sins of those she leads to sin? Anyways, I know girls whose moms wanted them to have boyfriends, or who wanted them to not dress so tomboyish and also tried to push them towards immodest clothing, that is what this thread reminded me of, though I really don’t know your mom’s reasoning. She loves you and wants what is best for you, but in this case she is not very clear of what is best, because immodesty is never better than modesty.


#7

I dont’ know how extreme this situation is, but stick to your guns. You and your mom may be great pals. But I wonder if maybe she isn’t seeing you as a projection of herself. And so she wants you to be her at that age. And you refusing to comes across as a judgement of her own morality. So she is offended.

I know a mother of a 12-year-old. The woman got pregnant at 15 or 16. Her daughter looks very much like her. And has big boobs. For a 12 year old. Really big. Mommy is really proud of the fact that daughter has the “perfect figure” like mommy used to have (about 100 pounds ago). Mommy dresses daughter like a teeny slut. Poor daughter. And what a sad mother. She is living through her child, and not in a good way.

I didn’t like when one of my daughters went through the slob phase. My sister warned me that someday I’d be battling short skirts and I’d miss the baggy jeans with the holes in the knees and oversize sweatshirt. She was right.

I dont’ know if you see any part of your situation in this. But as a mother I am always telling my girls to cover more, not less. So your mom’s desire to have you be more alluring seems to be about her issues. You may want to jokingly ask her "Mom, just what do you want me to catch if I put that kind of bait out there?"
or "Why do you want me to advertise it if it’s not for sale?"
or “I want people to look at my face, not at my body.”

That might spark a conversation that may give you a better indication of what her motives are here. There are perfectly adorable feminine fashions out there that do not require cleavage (both kinds) or bare skin.


#8

I do wear tank tops -when they are appropriate (not to Mass or to the office, but, when I am outside in the summer heat).

What is modest in the office would be out of place at the lake.

A beautiful dress for a formal dinner and dance could have a halter top or be strapless and still be modest and tasteful (think classic movie star gowns), however, it would not be appropriate for mass.

I’m sure you mom does not want you do dress in a way that is out of place for where you are.


#9

This reminds me of the “high heels” battle that I had with my mother - she was always insisting that I should wear high heels, and I was always insisting that I’d rather not.

One day, we were climbing up a steep flight of stairs, and I practically had to carry her up, because of her high heeled shoes (she took them off to come back down again) - I never heard a word about high heels again, after that - and I noticed that she started wearing practical walking shoes after that. :slight_smile:


#10

After I was married my mom began to push me to dress more seductively. I am almost certain that this stemmed from her child hood. Her father had numerous affairs on her mother but he was so violent that my grandmother was afraid to leave him. The affairs were so blatant that my mom knew some of the women. All of the women were much more loose in their clothing choices then my Grandmother.

My mother was convinced that if her mother simply had dressed more stylishly then her father wouldn’t have had affiars. Yes, that is insane reasoning but it played into my mom buying me lots of tiny skirts after I got married.


#11

OK… I’m probably going to be the bad guy here (or gal as the case may be)… anyway, I have a 16 yo daughter and a 12 yo step daughter. My 16 yo wants to wear halters and tanks… tanks are fine but I really discourage the halters. OTOH… I have my step daughter. I get criticized for the way I encourage her to dress by well meaning family members… You see, she lives with her mom and visits her dad and I. Her mom has never once in her 12 years taken her shopping for clothes. Mom is too busy for that so she buys big oversized boy clothes for this 12 yo girl. This is also how mom dressed until recently. We have had a ton of issues with the way mom is raising her that fit into this too… like getting her hair buzzed… I don’t just mean short… I mean buzzed!

In comparison, my step daughter has a half sister from mom’s new husband that is treated totally different… long hair, $70 Gap outfits, girly clothes…etc. Last year the poor kid got totally embarrassed because another little girl thought she was a boy in the girl’s room at school and ran to the office. OK, my response was… if she dressed more like a girl and grew her hair out, nobody would mistake her for a boy. So, since I can’t do anything about her hair… I sat down and talked to her about it and went and bought her new clothes.

We went out to get the clothes and I didn’t realize this kid had no idea how to shop. We got to the store and I said, “OK, show me what you like.” She just stood there… Back up! So, I thought maybe she is overwhelmed… we had talked about her needs… shorts, tees, a skirt for Church… So I started with shorts… I walked her over to the shorts in the juniors dept and started looking through the racks… They had all different lengths and styles… she just stood there… then she pointed to capri pants and wanted them. I told her dad said to get her shorts not pants… she just totally shut down! So, I let her try on the capri’s… she picked up a size 14 womens… and they looked terrible… the fit, the style (old lady), everything about them was wrong. So, I moved on to tops and told her we would look in another store for shorts. Again…big oversized mens tees… I had to tell her no, she needed to get girl cut shirts with no writing on the front so she could match it with skirts for mass.

By this time I am almost in tears and so is she… So we go to another store and take my 16 yo for moral support (mine and hers). First thing I did at this other store is find out what size she really wears since mom just picks up clothes and never has her try them on first. It turns out that she fit into 11/12 not 14’s her mom was buying. Made a huge difference! But we still had a fight about shorts… she is 12 and didn’t want to wear shorts because of her weight… but she was growing taller and thinning out… shorts were appropriate for many of the summer activities we planned. Finally, we bought some shorts that come just above the knees and a pair that was a little shorter, a knee length skirt and plain and striped tee shirts.

Her grandma sends a letter to my dh complaining that I am trying to make her into my daughter and I shouldn’t be forcing her to wear girly clothes as she isn’t a girly girl. OK… first, grandma stay out of it, second, she doesn’t go through the trauma of being mistaken for a boy when she wears said clothes, third, she needs to learn how to size and dress appropriately and she isn’t gonna learn that from her mom…

I can see that kind of scenario because I lived it… maybe your mom is trying to “teach” you or perhaps “prepare” you for the future in some way… ask her why she wants you to dress a certain way…or explain how you feel about halter tops or tank tops.


#12

Poor girl! :frowning: It would be interesting to know what the grandmother and mother consider to 'girly" They seem to have a very broad definition of ‘girlie’ if anything but large clothes and buzz cuts are too feminine.


#13

Well lets see… too girly…
bought in the missus, jr’s or girls dept
cap sleeves
any color other than blue or black
fitted
not bought in the boy’s or men’s dept

basically if it isn’t a baggy pair of jeans, boy sneakers, and a man’s tee shirt… they think it isn’t right for her.


#14

How horrible for that little girl. That makes me hurt just thinking about how embarrased she must have been dealing with the whole confusion about being a boy and then trying to learn how to shop and all of that.
OP- I would do what others have said and perhaps wear some of the things your Mom likes while putting something over them. I wear halter tops in the summer under my blazers with suits. Always with a high enough neckline so that they are office appropriate. Same with tanks. I do keep my skirts long enough to bend over in. Because to me nothing is worse than working in an office with the girl in a super micro mini skirt trying to use a filing cabinet.
I agree with a PP perhaps she is trying to show you more feminine looks and doesn’t understand what your oposition is to it?


#15

Hey,

If I had the shape for it, I would wear the clothes your mum wants you to wear! Maybe you would suit them. :shrug:


#16

It depends on the clothing that her mom wants her to wear. Although Christian women do not have to hide their shapes in burquas we are instructed in the bible to be modest.


#17

I get this sort of thing a lot from family and friends. I don’t think the intention behind it is to be immodest but rather to be beautiful or as another poster suggested feminine. I know I struggle against being well, I’ll say it … frumpy. I like modest clothing, I like to be comfortable but I also should wear things that enhance beauty not in a lustful way but in a very pure and ladylike way. That is the very hard part.

The trouble with modest clothing especially, at your age is that there are none! I don’t know what your figure is like but I didn’t fill out until well into college, consequently misses clothing really just didn’t fit and obviously most juniors clothing, well, is really more like underwear. It is very very difficult to find garments that are in style and not indecent.

I would stick to your guns, there are a lot of websites out there, mostly Mormon, that sell camisoles and tees that have high necklines so you can layer and cardigans are a girl’s best friend. Do your best but try to make sure you are making modest dress fashionable. Young women and men alike will not be moved toward modesty if us modesty-maidens don’t portray it to be beautiful, dignified, and liberating. In dressing modestly we seek not only to protect ourselves, or our brothers in Christ as you mention, but also to give witness (maybe even for your mom).

Good luck and know that you aren’t alone in this struggle! :hug1:

Peace In Him,
Rachele


#18

As long as you cover your boobs and bum you are fine! :smiley: No really, everyone has a different definition of modesty. For some, it means covering heads, arms and legs while for others, it is covering the privates. You need to find the happy medium where you are comfortable. You can still be stylish and elegant.


#19

Something I learned from the shopping ordeal with my step daughter… just because I can see the changes in her figure doesn’t mean she can. She is still stuck in the obese child mindset… and she is thinning out nicely. She doesn’t see it at all. The other thing is that she has had no one to teach her things most of us know… Like which clothes are slimming to the figure… or my new favorite… Mom just started letting… no insisting that she grow her hair long but she has no clue how to take care of it. All she knows is that hair things are girly because her half sister likes them and she thinks that she can hide her 12 yo acne by having her hair in her face all the time… she was shocked when I told her that if she keeps her hair out of her face, the blemishes clear up…

So how to deal with it?.. Well, first of all… try on new things, be objective, does it look flattering on you?
Try new colors and styles… they may not be as bad as they look on the hangar.
Always take a trusted friend that will tell you if you look bad!
Take advice from people who know… want a new hairdo? ask a friend that has tried a few and looks good in the one they have now… Want a new wardrobe? Look around… who looks good in their old clothes as well as their new?


#20

That could be part of it, I do dress tomboyish most of the time, but for church or special occasions, I’ll dress more feminine. But its not like I get all dressed up for school or anything. The boyfriend arguement doesn’t work in my case: I have one, and I did it without changing my style or anything about me.


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.