Many parents of teens become quite fond of the phrase “choose your battles.” For a growing number of parents, the battles they choose may include fighting for sexual purity while letting blatant immodesty slide. First, we’ll take some time to evaluate common reasons for not addressing it; in Part 2, we’ll look at some even better reasons to put it on your parenting agenda.
Fear of Obsession with Appearance
In a culture where Colbie Caillat’s music video for her song “Try” goes viral, it seems women are getting tired of feeling like they need to take a lot of effort with their appearance. In many ways, that is a good thing. So many women in our society have hang-ups about their bodies and beauty.
In a world where we’re already so tempted to obsess about our appearance, adding the concern of modesty understandably causes some parents to fear that they’d be teaching their daughters to feel ashamed of their bodies or struggle even more with obsessing over how they look and what they wear. From eating disorders to “selfie obsession,” we certainly live in a world that has made outward appearance into an idol, and concerns over that are absolutely legit!
Fear of Pharisaical Attitudes
When He walked on this earth, Jesus Christ harshly rebuked the Pharisees; they’re definitely not good role models for us nor for our kids. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Pharisees “intensified” the laws God gave them, to the neglect of their hearts (Matthew 23:27). Those are very real and very relevant concerns, mainly because they include twisting God’s Word — a very serious offense! (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:19)
It is certainly important that we communicate not only what kind of behavior God desires, but also what kinds of attitudes and motivations we have (Proverbs 20:11, Psalm 19:14). Self-righteousness and pride fly in the face of the Gospel of grace (Ephesians 2:9, James 4:6).
Fear of Failure and Rejection
While the first two reasons for neglecting the topic of modesty do have some validity, this last one is clearly tied to a fear of man and problem priorities (Proverbs 29:25, Colossians 3:23). While Scripture teaches the general principle of sowing and reaping, we can’t obey God’s Word only when we think it will go well, nor can we teach our kids only the parts we think they’ll be likely to accept; in fact, to do so presents the opposite problem of the Pharisees (Deuteronomy12:32).
We cannot neglect to teach on a topic simply because God’s standards are far from the cultural norm. Instead of fearing people — even our own children — we need to fear God and obey Him (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
In Part 2, we’ll look at how these concerns do not have to mean that we fail to address the topic of modesty; instead, they will help us determine how we address this difficult topic with our kids.