Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Requests From Our Readers: Week 7

This week we are talking about toddler modesty. What a fabulous question - I know it is one that I have pondered with my little girl. I'm anxious to see what your thoughts are on this.


Check out what our reader said:

"My question: Where do you draw the line for what is modest clothing for a toddler?

With hotter months coming up, I have been pulling out all the summer clothes for my daugther. I'm starting to wonder what I'm willing to have her wear in terms of modesty. I don't have a problem with any shorts or skirts being too short-- (I don't like her diaper showing), so short shorts aren't really an issue. Shirts and dresses make me wonder more. The modesty lines I draw for myself have more to do with age, body development, and style. For Jane, I don't know where the line should be. For example: sleeves or no sleeves? I'm not worried about her shoulders being overly-appealing to any young men her age, but if I let her wear sleeveless shirts, am I setting her up for bad dressing habits later on? What clothes do you consider appropriate for toddlers and what is inappropriate? Do you think that what kids wear when they're one or two years old affects what they want to wear later?"

So help her out! Let us know your thoughts on toddler modesty (especially for little girls) and don't be afraid to have a different opinion than someone else - we need all sides of the question discussed.

Thanks so much for your thoughts and for those of you that keep sending is us awesome reader requests.

Also - our activity corner has been updated - check it out for a fun idea to do with your kids.

19 comments:

Roeckers said...

For us this was always black or white. We decided early on if we wanted our children to live our standards we would encourage them do so from an early age. If we buy a sleeveless dress or muscle shirt my kids know they must wear a light short sleeve shirt underneath.

My daughter, now almost eight, feels uncomfortable showing a bit of shoulder, I don't have to tell her! I don't buy sleeveless PJ's or bikini's for her either. I figure if I want her to do live that way I better not contradict myself, that could bite me in the butt later. I don't consider her clothing frumpy or stylish either. She can wear the styles and still be modest, an important life lesson that can be learned early on.

Megan said...

I agree with Roeckers. I think if you want a certain standard to be meet with modesty, start it from the beginning. I know this can be really hard with little kids because there are so many options out there for no sleeves. But, I think if you set a precedent, even little kids will learn it.

Liz, Karl and Madison said...

So basically I feel the same way Roeckers and Megan feel about this issue. I made up my mind way before even having kids that I didn't want my children to wear anything I would consider to be inappropriate for an adult. There really are so many cute sleeveless things out there but I have also found that all you have to do is put a cute little white onsie underneath it and they still look so cute. I think it is easier to teach a child the importance of being modest at a young age rather then having to try and teach them "well this used to be ok for you to wear when you were younger but now that you are older you can't dress like that anymore." The hard part really is where do you draw the line to say you are no longer young enough to dress like that. Anyway, personal opinion but that's what we've decided to do with our children.

Jes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jes said...

I guess Im kind of the odd one here because I kind of disagree. **I want to make it clear that I totally respect where everyone else is coming from and think thats good too. I dont want to hurt anyone's feelings :) ...Im just not too worried about what my baby wears right now. I dont think there's anything sexual about a baby, and I think her little chubby arms and legs are cute. Im not worried about them showing at all. I just obviously keep her 'private' parts covered.
All of my family has done it that way (tanktops and etc ok on babies) and it was never awkward or had to have a 'big talk' later on why it was ok then but not now. We just knew and easily accepted that 'big girls' wore this and etc. We knew what was ok and what wasnt.
As really young children I dont think it matters as much. I never looked back at photos of my extremely chubby baby self sporting a yellow 'ducky' bikini and resented or questioned the fact that I couldnt dress like that as I got older. ...As children get older for the most part I think that they are capable to understand WHY people dress modestly. I think it kind of takes care of itself as long as you as the parents and adult examples stick to it and live the values you are teaching and wanting your children to follow.
Similar to Erin's point on the motivation post below. As youre older you decide what matters to you and what you believe and you act from there.

That being said though, I do think there's a young age when you should start changing their apparel more.. question is when exactly? 2, 3, 4? -but Id assume that being that young anyway it still wouldnt be that big of deal to them....and if youre following it too, as their parent and role model, youre a example, and even if they did ask or have an issue with it, you can explain WHY with them being able to understand a bit more at that point.

Does any of that make sense? lol...I hope so :)

Erin said...

I feel comfortable if my daughter is covered by what a onesie would cover. I like her to have sleeves, and if I have a cute sleeveless shirt I just put a onesie under it. I also prefer for her tummy not to show. I guess this is because I want to be in the habit of dressing her the way I want her to dress when she is older, and because I never wear that so it just seems odd to put her in sleeveless shirts. However, I don't mind if most of her legs show. I like her diaper covered by those little underwear looking things that cover diapers and usually come with dresses, but maybe that is just because I think it's cuter. I love her chubby little thighs, and I don't think it's inappropriate for that to show necessarily because she's a baby. That will change as she gets older and I will only buy longer shorts. There are some really cute modest clothes out there!

Jared and Delia said...

I luckily have two boys so this is not as much of an issue yet.

I think with modesty in general...it is a personal thing. There are obvious no no's but there is some gray area. I think the best measure is how you *feel* about it for yourself and for your baby/toddler. Do what feels right. I have worn a dress that is by general standards modest but I have felt immodest in it so I didn't wear it again. It is a personal thing that we have to follow the Spirit on. And...since I have boys I think when they get older, modesty will cover more than whether their clothes cover certain areas of their body or not. It is whether we are wearing the kind of clothes that invites the Spirit to be with us and sends the right message about who we are and what we stand for. It should respect the wonderful gift our body is in every way: clothes, jewelry, hair style. Just do "what truth requires."

Megan said...

I totally agree with what Delia posted above. I think if you feel that you are comfortable in what you are wearing, it is completely cool. I think that goes for kids as well. When they are little, it's what you are comfortable in, and as they start to grow up they get a sense as what they are comfortable.

Jessie said...

While I try not to let my kids wear anything way immodest (like strappy dresses, or bikini's), I don't worry too much about this issue, yet. As a baby, my mom dressed me in all kinds of immodest things, but I never had an issue with modesty growing up--you just have to help your kids learn what is appropriate as they grow up, too. While my kids are babies, they wear a few things with no sleeves, or can be seen walking/crawling around in onesies at home, but as they start to grow into more of a child's body, and less of a baby's, their clothing changes with their body shape. And since I buy the clothing, I decide what they're allowed to wear at this point, anyway. If I see something I love that is too immodest, we'll do the shirt under/jacket over thing. My older daughter loves to pick out her own outfits, so I let her as much as possible, but she's also learning what she can and can't wear, especially outside of the house. She's only 3, but we talk about modesty quite a bit, and I think it's working well. As with everything else, I think it's just more about communication.

Jes said...

I think Delia and Jessie are saying what my point was much better than my attempt to! :)

Beth said...

I won't be a parent for another two weeks or so, but I think I'd let my 18-24 month-old wear things that I woudln't even dream of letting my 3-year-old put on. Strappy dresses like the one in the picture seem ok to me for a 2-year-old, but I would NEVER allow her to wear a bikini, though - bikinis have far more sexual connotations than princess dresses do.

Of course, at the toddler age sometimes it's a battle just to get them to wear anything at all - I have known toddlers that refused to wear anything that wasn't stapled to their body.

In my experience with preschoolers it seems like children aren't cognitively aware of what they put on their bodies until they're about 2 1/2 or three. At age three I would definitely put a ban on short shorts and tank tops.

Fisher Fam said...

Being in the Deep South, wearing a onesie underneath all my daughters clothing would be WAY too hot, but a good idea for the right climate. Clothes are too hot here sometimes :)It's 100% humidity and almost that same temp in the summer here, making it feel even worse. I've never had a problem dressing my girl in sleeveless clothing, in fact most of her shirts are tank tops right now (she is one), and she is adorable, but still covered where she needs to be. My mom always had me in sundresses when I was young. By the time we got into school, we had clothes that were appropriate for school, so no sleevless or short shorts, and we never questioned it, it's just the way things were. I didn't feel resentment that my younger siblings were in sunsuits. I've also heard people say 8 is where they draw the line, at the age of accountability, then they are involved in making the decision for themselves to prepare for baptism. Those are the same guidlelines I've considered for my kids, and figure it will all work out in the end, I grew up all right :) I'm hoping that example will help me out here, since EVERYONE else here dresses in tank tops and short shorts, even for school it seems.

Megan said...

I think Fisher Fam makes a good point about climate playing into how you dress. I have been in the south where temperatures can be in the 90s and 100% humidity, and for a little person having a onesie underneath is too hot.

mistybown said...

My comment is kind of the same but oh well!
My daughter is 6 and she just doesn't like tank tops - even with a shirt under them. She will wear a dress with wide straps that is more of a sundress but the straps have to be pretty wide. Longer shorts are really hard to find for her. I've noticed that the shorts are super short starting at about a 4 T. I don't know if it's because she's kind of tall so the shorts just look shorter on her or what! She really hasn't had a problem with me putting her in shorts that come to her knees. In fact, I think she's more comfortable that way!
My sons wear muscle shirts without a shirt on underneath them. I figure that they cover a bit more than a girl's tank top so as long as they aren't really big on them and you can't see all the way through the shirt, I don't have a problem with them wearing them without a shirt underneath.
I really like how people have said that they haven't noticed it being a big deal when kids notice their clothes used to be one way and now they are another. I worried that my 6 year old would want to know why her shorts were suddenly longer (I swear it happened over night), but she hasn't seemed to even notice. I think she just sees me in longer shorts/capris and the thought doesn't even cross her mind!

~Sherry (Bear) and Stephen (Wolf) said...

I am the mother of 3 crazy boys...so I didn't think about this until shopping for a new niece. I had a hard time finding something with sleeves, not that I know what my sister's opinion on infant modesty is... but if I had one, I wouldn't dress my little girl in sleeveless shirts or dresses, nor would I ever buy a child a bikini. The onsie under the sleeveless shirt might be cute though. I think that you can't have a double standard though. How you dress them now will effect them at some time or another in the future, and it probably will be the already dreaded tween-teenage years.

Missy said...

This is an issue I use to struggle with. When my little girl was born I recieved a lot of really cute outfits that were sleeveless. I often couldn't find onies that would look ok underneath(I have putting the unfinshed sleeved ones under a nice dress). So I gritted my teeth and just had her wear them. Now since I am the main person buying her cloths I just make sure it is something I feel comfortable wearing myself. I do have a hard time finding shorts that arn't too short. I just make sure they come to mid thigh.
I have a huge dislike for infant and little girls bikinis. I have too often seen a baby or little girl running around with their bikini top almost up by their chin. I cringe everytime I see it. And even if the mother catches it quickly, it stil happened.
I think my cousin gave me the best advise for what she did with her daughters. She told me that she wanted to make sure her daughters felt uncomfortable at a young age wearing anything that isn't modest. Also I think this is awesome. She had a rule for her girls barbies. If they weren't dress they would be thrown away. Because there shouldn't be naked people around. I think that set a real good standard for her girls. I plan to follow that example.

Leah said...

This topic has been well discussed but I would like to add one more thought. I have a 4 year old daughter. She has been well aware of what she dresses in and how it covers her for at least a year now. She already loves to try to show her shoulders sometimes because all those Disney princesses do. Because of this the issue of modesty has come up from a very young age simply because that's what she is being shown by marketing. The desire to look pretty like Tinkerbell or Princess Aurora is rather strong. These allurements do not decrease as our children get older, they increase and take stronger hold as children become for themselves. What may be innocent and pretty now can soon become immodest and inappropriate and far beneath what we would desire for our beautiful daughters. All this can simply be nipped in the bud by explaining about modesty early and then teaching that Princess Aurora isn't bad, she just needs a new dress.

Britta said...

My husband and I discussed this at great length and ultimately decided that by the time our daughter graduates Nursery and into Primary (she'll be 3 and 4 months) that she will not wear anything immodest. Until that point, she doesn't have a strong understanding of modesty but does understand heat and often her clothing comes off as a result. Cooler clothes...they stay on...better modesty. And of course, this is only an issue during the summer, nothing sleeveless during the winter..burr!

Anonymous said...

For me it's not just a matter of teaching them modesty from the beginning, but it's also a matter of safety. I was put in tank tops and short shorts as a baby too. In our generation that was probably alright. But in today's society when the internet and media are constantly pushing immodest images and feeding the minds of the perverts (who, I've seen on the news, some will even harm babies in inappropriate ways). I'm not taking any chances in sending my girls out of the house (even as babies) in anything immodest. It's a very simple extra form of protection. We have been commanded to dress modestly. Many reasons we can see why, others we may not, but the Lord knows why He gives commandments. There is no age stipulation on that commandment. I feel it applies to any age. I just really want to keep my kids safe and protected. We have many more challenges raising our kids in this crazy world than even our parents did. Best wishes to all you moms out there and your efforts. May the Lord strengthen you all in these crazy and scary times we live in.