. Summertime Clothing Standards
Today I would like to share several ideas about ordering your life with summertime clothing standards. I do not particularly care, as we discuss this, what your standards of modesty are. (Well, actually I do hope they will be high standards, but I will leave those decisions to your best judgment.) What I would like to encourage, however, is to order your family’s lifestyle so that there are set clothing standards!
This helps children in three ways. First, children tend to grow up more morally safe when standards are sent, because in their own minds there are barriers of behavior, dress, language, and action that have been imposed by their family. These standards help them self-impose standards of their own. Deciding upon family clothing standards is a first, good step in that direction. Second, because standards have been set, children learn there is some clothing that is appropriate and other clothing that is inappropriate from your family’s point of view. It is important to talk about these things before your daughter or your son brings home the first piece of clothing that raises your husband’s eyebrows and causes your own mouth to drop. Third, your children will likely push against those family standards more than once and it is important there are carefully clarified parental parameters and consequences for non-compliance.
May I suggest that if you are married and have a spouse, you discuss what modest clothing standards mean to both of you? Then continue the discussion with your whole family so the standards are set before the summertime clothing is purchased, borrowed, or worn. If you do not want your girls to have midriff exposure, they should know this is a family standard before they bring home a piece of clothing that shows that intriguing piece of skin. If you want his pants to be a certain length, the family standards should be discussed before purchases are made. If clothing is to be modest no matter the position of a person, this should be discussed so shopping expeditions include leaning over in front of a dressing room mirror to ensure modesty can be maintained.
As you approach family dress standards, you and your spouse may want to talk about what your standards will be: how low or high will necklines be, will exposed cleavage be in your best interests, and how short will the shorts be? Will see-through or partially see-through fabric be allowed? What about sleeveless tops, two-piece swimsuits, and short shorts? Will off-the-hip pants and skirts be acceptable?
After a frank discussion with your spouse, discuss each clothing standard with your children. Following this second discussion, it is useful to write down the family’s clothing standards, have everyone sign it, and post it in the home. This will order you and your family’s life from the inside and out so that each member knows what your clothing standards are in easy-to-state terms. It will help your children feel safe. It will help you be more comfortable around your teenage children, and it will teach and train them to respond appropriately when shopping and when dressing. It is always easier to set standards before the issue becomes an issue than to wait and have to cajole, persuade, or endure!
After standards are set, there will be some wonderful, growing experiences as children, teenagers, and sometimes adults attempt to supersede the standards or excuse a certain piece of clothing, just this once. Sit down conversations about the specifics of the standards and how they will be applied in your home are sure to happen. It is useful to include in your family clothing standards that a questionable piece of clothing may not be worn until such a discussion has taken place. And, if clothing is worn against the standards that have been set, it is should also be discussed how disobedience is to be handled. Again, working through as many scenarios as possible and discussing consequences as part of setting the family clothing standards, will reduce and often eliminate surprises. It will also go a long way to keeping your family morally safe!
Finally, it is useful, while on the topic of family clothing standards, to also discuss practices of modesty in the home. Are family members to keep modestly dressed at all times? If so, does everyone have a bathrobe for those quick trips when clothing needs to be retrieved from another room? In addition, what changes need to be made to accommodate these new habits? Do hooks need to be installed in the bathroom and also on the rear of bedroom doors? Do containers for underwear need to be put in bathroom cupboards? What will work best for your family’s needs now that clothing standards have been set and clarified?
Setting high clothing standards and modesty habits during everyday living will go far to help with virtuous living. May we all look inward and make the changes that will benefit our families for a wonderful, but modest summer!