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Imam Hussein Holy Shrine

Instilling modesty in children (Part 1)

Our daughters should dress like proud followers of Lady Fatima!
Children's fashion is a billion dollar market with movie stars and other media figures endorsing the latest and hippest trends. Not only is there more emphasis on name brands when it comes to children's clothing, but the standard of acceptable clothing and behavior has been lowered immensely. It is disheartening to see that despite Islam being the greatest proponent of modesty, many Muslim parents consciously or unconsciously fail to teach our children that modesty is an important part of a person's character.
Establishing What Modesty Is It is important to note that modesty is not measured solely based on how long a person's shirt 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.
Embracing Modesty in Early Childhood
There is no religious, moral, or human justification for dressing a young child in shape-hugging and skin-revealing clothes. Our children teach us what we have not taught them. How can we teach our children that it is acceptable to wear shorts and sleeveless clothes up till a certain age, and then expect them to accept the standard of Hijab when they come of age? While toddlers have different standards, a general rule of thumb to keep in mind: if the child shouldn't wear it as a teenager, (s) he shouldn't wear it as a second or third grader either.
Developmentally speaking, children learn most habits by the time they enter elementary school. These years are also incredibly critical for children, since they begin to establish self-confidence. A child who is dressed immodestly and fixated on wearing names brands from a Disney channel show will have trouble finding self-worth intrinsically. When we think of the word modesty, other words come to mind, such as decency, reservation in speech, behavior, and dress, and humility. These are all essential attributes that children should be taught at an early age, so they grow up to become well-adjusted adults and Muslims.