As we got ready to go swimming yesterday, my husband’s eyes grew large when our oldest came downstairs in a two piece swimsuit. It’s more of a tankini than bikini, but a great deal of her stomach showed. He shook his head and said, “I don’t like that swimsuit. It shows too much of your body. Go change, please.”

I hadn’t fought with her too much about that particular suit, and it was a gift, but I was glad when hubby took a stand. And it made me think. Yes, she’s only seven, but the years are passing quickly and the styles are shrinking fast. I found myself wondering how men even go to the swimming pool without facing a huge battle with their minds. There’s always so much flesh showing! And street clothing seems to be headed in the same direction.

Just a few minutes ago, I was on the phone with a friend who was waiting for her son to finish marching band practice. In her words: “There are so many hoochie-mama girls out there. Their shorts could not be any shorter and their shirts barely have any fabric. How can their parents let them out of the house like that?”

My friend only has boys, so I understand where her concern comes from. As a parent of only girls, I never want my daughter to be seen that way. That’s why I want to teach her how to be in style yet still be modest.

One of our biggest battle grounds has been dance class. She wants to wear just a tank top and shorts. I was making her wear a shirt over the tank top, but her teacher felt her clothes were too bulky, so we compromised. Once the doors to dance class were shut, she could take off her outer shirt, but unless she was in the studio, she needed to wear other clothes on top of her tank top. She still asks me why, but I wonder if that is part of the way she processes things at her age. She also tries to say, “So-and-so can wear this, why can’t I?” I tell her if she wants to compare then we can talk about the kids in Haiti who only get to eat one meal a day, which consists of rice and beans.

I also model modest dressing and talk about it both when we shop and at home. When I try on clothes, I ask for her opinion and even point out things in the adult section that I think aren’t modest enough. That way, it doesn’t seem to her as if I’m somehow picking on her. At home, I ask her about my clothes. For example, if I think a shirt is too thin, I’ll put on a tank top underneath it and then ask her if she can see through it. If she can, I change. I want her to see that I practice what I preach.

Clothing can be a battle ground, but when I think of the girls my friend saw on the band practice field, I know it’s worth it.