Before I jump in let me start with a warning. I am talking about girls’ attire that is in middle school and high school. Once these kids are out of your homes, it is up to them what they wear.
So over the past weekend there were several Christmas dances at several schools. I saw parents posting pictures and I was left dumbfounded at some of the dresses that parents are allowing their teenage daughters to wear. I was floored actually. Cut down to the navel, split up to the hip, shorter than short, and barely-there was a theme running through a lot of photos. I have a teenage daughter who is tall, thin, beautiful, and has a hard time finding dresses that fit her figure that are not skimpy. So, I get that finding conservative dresses is difficult to do. I also am not one for denim skirts to the floor either. It is ok for a teen girl to dress pretty and nice in a nice dress. It is however a parent’s responsibility to not allow them to dress provocatively.
So how do we address the issue as parents? When my daughter was trying on dresses for prom, she sent me pics. Some I liked, some I loved, some I hated, and some I just said absolutely not. Now, the idea is to have your teen ask your opinion and you have to withstand the urge to say certain things about the dress. Communication is key here. All these teen girls are trying to be “sexy” because that’s the culture around them. let me say this, no teen girl is sexy. As a parent, I do not crush my daughters’ self-esteem by saying anything negative about her appearance. I want to encourage her to feel comfortable in her skin, and for her to understand how important that is. I know so many women that deal with body image issues, and as the father figure, I do not want to add to that issue. I want my daughters to feel comfortable in their skin and understand how much that body is changing and will change going forward. Think about all the women you know that struggle with those issues and are constantly unhappy with their bodies. I, as a parent, do not want to add to that. My oldest daughter is very leggy, meaning she is long-legged and every dress is short on her. So when she asks my opinion I always start out positive. “That color is good” or “That cut is nice” before any critiques I have. It helps open up the conversations. That is the key. I will say as a dad that it is hard to see your little baby daughter growing into a woman. I asked my wife once, “When did our daughter get a woman’s body?” It takes us by surprise. When mine sent me those prom dress photos, I had to take a moment and just realize she’s getting older and that’s tough on us dads.
I also want parents to see the hidden dangers out there too. There is a huge sex trafficking business in America and young teenage girls are a premium. There are creepers and nefarious people out there and they are scouting out our daughters. Lots of money in that business. So modesty goes a long way to cover up a lot of issues on that front. I always tell parents these three things
- Do not post pictures of your teenage daughters in their swimsuits online.
- Do not allow your daughters to post swimsuit photos on their social media or from their bedrooms.
- Always check your privacy settings on your social media. You never know who is watching.
So remember this, modesty springs forth from a conversation about empowerment. I want my daughters to feel comfortable in their skin and love their bodies. It starts with conversations about modesty and develops into tackling the culture’s take on “sexiness”.