I bet you are saying to yourself that it might be possible to get them to do it, but you can’t make them want to do it. Well, you’re wrong! I am about to show you how!
I have three daughters ages 24, 22, and 9. I have always dressed modestly. As the older two were growing up we frequently discussed how the way you dress says more than anything. Think about the last time you were at the mall and saw the Goth chic headed your way… you probably instantly made a judgment call. Or, what about when you went to the office party with your husband, and as you entered, you noticed the office secretary dressed provocatively? You probably made a mental note that you didn’t want your husband to ever be alone with her, thinking that she might make an advancement toward him.
What we wear tells the world who we are.
We all go through a rebellious stage. From my experience, for girls it usually starts around 11 when a young girl is trying to figure out who she is and starts pushing the boundaries anywhere she can find them. It begins to taper off around the time that they turn 20. So, what do you do in the in between years?
You have to give your daughter the tools she needs to manage her own self esteem.
The desire to dress appropriately needs to come from within. If it doesn’t, then you will have the girls hiding clothes in their backpacks and changing when they get to school. So, help her manage her self-esteem with a few of these great tools:
Physical exercise can work wonders for balancing mood swings. As girls go from child to tween to young adult, there are a variety of hormones driving them to behave in ways that you haven’t seen before. Encourage your daughter to participate in some form of physical activity as often as possible. If she doesn’t want to participate in sports, invite her to go walking or biking with you.
Give them chores
From as early as age 2, kids can help around the house. Picking up toys, vacuuming, and folding laundry can all help build your child’s self-esteem, according to experts. My 9 yr. old’s chores are making the bed, doing her laundry, and emptying the dishwasher. She earns $1.00 -$3.00 a week. It teaches her that you have to work to get money. It also gives her a sense of power. She is responsible for her chores and the outcome, whether she chooses to do them or not.
Train their brain
As an adult, you are aware of how the brain stores everything we do, see, hear, and say and that we carry it all within us. During our waking hours, we are led to decisions 80% of the time by our unconscious mind.
As a parent, you must be vigilant as to what movies, TV shows, and podcasts that they are watching. Do you know what music she’s listening to? The music today is very sexually provocative and if she is repeating those lyrics, she’s speaking that over her life unknowingly.
Once an idea has been accepted, it sticks around until it’s challenged. The longer you hold onto it, the more it tends to become a fixed habit of thinking. That’s how we form habits of action, both good and bad. First comes the thought, then the action. So, it’s obvious that if we want to change our actions we have to begin by changing our thoughts. The bible says it this way, “Take every thought captive.”
Everyone likes to be told that they have done a good job. Even when your daughter reaches the “everything you say to her turns into an eye roll stage”, she needs to be told. I attended counseling with my youngest and this was one thing that her therapist advocated. Catch her when she’s modeling good behavior and say, “I really like the way you are being patient in the store with me; I appreciate it so much”, to encourage her to repeat that same behavior in the future. Being specific with your praise is important also. Lastly, for a girl, affirmation from her father is key.
If your daughter has younger sisters, this can be the one that seals the deal. Remind your daughter that she has younger children watching her every move. Explain to her that one day in the near future, her sister will be going to the same school and that it’s her job to maintain your family reputation now so that her sister will not be labeled unfairly. Have her picture her sister wearing the same clothes as her and then ask her if she would approve if she was the parent.
Most girls that tend to dress provocatively are doing it for two reasons: as a means to gain attention or to fit in. Peer pressure is debilitating to some girls. When they are hurt or feeling ignored, they don’t care if it’s positive or negative attention. Part of the solution is to date your daughter once a week. Even if she’s not receptive at first, over time you will see her begin to treasure that one on one time with you. It will begin to build her self-esteem and give you time to create precious memories for you both to treasure for years to come.
Sandei Struebing is new to the writing world but has over 20 years of experience being a mom. She is inspired to write for other women, to share her experiences, and offer insight into what she's learned raising four children. Her favorite place is the beach. She currently resides in Dallas Texas with her children.