Teaching Modesty to Children

“How do you teach modesty to children?”

The question glowed on my computer screen.

“… in 50-100 words … I’m creating an expert roundup on Cleo Madison … would love to include your insights … ”

An email. An opportunity. But a complicated subject to be sure. Isn’t it funny how “modesty” has become such a charged subject nowadays?

When I was little, it seemed so cut and dry. For girls, don’t show your panties … For boys, put your shirt on if we’re not at the beach. It’s an oversimplification, to be sure.

But now, it’s so stressful. As a culture, we’re not sure what’s modest or immodest anymore. We certainly can’t look to the media for guidelines–where boobs grace billboards in epic proportions. On the other side of the spectrum, we are afraid to speak up or speak out. We don’t want to offend anyone. We don’t want to connect immodesty to sexual assault. The horrifying suggestion that a short skirt means “she was asking for it” turns my stomach.

It has all gotten so … twisted … and confusing … and dirty … and broken.

And so … back to the glowing question on my computer screen: “How do you teach modesty to children?”

Like a good mama, I wrote a little blurb for a post on Cleo Madison. I was so honored and grateful for the opportunity to be included in their post:


(Please note: I also LOVED the segment from my dear friend and co-host on the Media Savvy Moms Podcast, Marilyn Evans, who was also included in the lineup. Her related article on ParentsAware is so fantastic! Read it here: How My Son Taught Me that Modesty is an Attitude.)

On the other hand … I have so much more to say about modesty than I could fit in 50-100 words! And I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject too.

Waaaay back when I started on this crazy journey tackling topics in the digital parenting realm, I wrote another article you might remember: How to Teach Kids About (*GASP*) Pornography. Reading over that article now, I have to laugh at myself. I have learned so much since then … However, I did include a few wise words about modesty that I still stand by.

One point that I made–and it’s a concept I feel very strongly about–is that if we teach our kids to be modest, then we are teaching them to be safe in more ways than one. If we teach them to protect their bodies from others’ eyes, then we can help them to be safe from all sorts of other dangers in this world–including pornography and sexual abuse.

In a world where fashions become more revealing with every passing day, modesty isn’t something that just happens. It has to be a conscious decision. But why cover up when everyone else seems not to care? Because we are human beings, not objects. We are meant to be treasured, not ogled. Sexual abuse, pornography, human trafficking–all of these horrors begin with dehumanization. In fact, lude images trigger the brain to release certain chemicals that make us treat each other differently, less respectfully. So let’s teach our kids the importance of modesty and respect for others!

QUESTION: What about YOU? How do you teach your kids to be modest? What are your thoughts on this modesty conundrum? Let’s chat. Leave me a comment.

A penny for your thoughts:

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