A scholar was asked this question and replied: “Dress them as you would want them to dress when they grow up…” When I heard this it made perfect sense. Yet Allah says in the Qur’an, “There is no compulsion in religion.” I do not force my children to dress modestly. However, I am trying my best to instil a sense of modesty in my girls from an young age, so that Insha’allah – they will want to dress modestly when they are old enough (post-puberty) when they become responsible / accountable for their own decisions.
The best way I can think of to instil modesty in my daughters are:
a) if we exemplify it AND
b) dress them modestly so they acquire this taste…
If I dress my girls in un-modest clothing till they come of age, how can I expect them to make the decision to dress modestly over-night?
Since Allah says Islam (submission to Allah’s will) is in our nature (fitrah). Modesty must be in our nature as well. When we dress our children un-modestly, we are essentially altering / corrupting their nature. We are damaging their natural sense of shyness / haya.
Children have a taste for beauty, cleanliness, purity from birth. But they are very impressionable. We develop their sense of what is beautiful and what is desirable through ‘Observational Learning’ or simply, ‘Modeling’. They are impressionable because they have to observe people and their activities, in order to guide their own behaviour pattern. It is very important for a parent to be vigilant during the child’s growing years, as impression formation affects their personality and behavioural pattern in the future.
If the fashion industry is corrupting our children by making ‘sassy’ girls clothing (like ruffled mini skirts etc), we are responsible. We should not to buy them and try to teach our children. Modesty is an essential foundation when it comes to raising children into believing Muslims. For girls, adjusting into the expectations of Hijab is a much smoother transition if they have dressed modestly from early childhood. Many girls struggle when they go from wearing t-shirts and shorts to long sleeves and trousers. This can be easily avoided by encouraging modest clothing from a very young age.
How to dress our children? It’s much easier than you might think. Make sure you buy cute, innocent children’s clothing from day one. It becomes harder as they grow older, since the clothing for young girls has become mini versions of oh-so chic women’s clothing.
Lay the foundation of self respect and preservation in early childhood. Modesty is a thematic approach to life, and if a person is modest in speech, gestures, and conduct. Their clothing will reflect this.
It is important to note that modesty is not measured solely on how long a person’s skirt is or how loose their clothing is. In the simplest and most sensible terms; a person’s conduct, speech, entertainment, and clothing are all components of modesty. A great number of parents are caught in a battle of wills with their children solely based on clothing or outer appearance. However, modesty is directly related to an individual’s sense of worth. Instilling in children the notion that they are above watching certain programs, listening to music, wearing tight and revealing clothing, and using profanity is the real essence of teaching them modesty and self-respect.
Parents, family members, and other adults in a child’s life can make a huge impact on how a child views modesty. We began this as early as possible with my girls and now they have a sense of it (Alhamdulillah!). When it comes to clothing – they see how we dress at home and outside. They can distinguish more or less what is appropriate.
Insha’allah if we try to teach our children modesty from an young age and we do this lovingly, they will willingly and happily acquire this taste too.
Modest clothing can be hip, chic, and popular! With a little extra effort, lovely modest clothing can be found or put together. Don’t let the latest trends discourage you.
Consider a simple question: do you want your children and family to embrace what society values or to embrace what Allah values?