Why Parents Should Dress Their Young Children Modestly

Young Girl by the Lake

There are many ways in which Christians show themselves to be different from the world. One of these is in the way we dress. The Bible emphasizes the importance of dressing in “modest apparel” (1 Timothy 2:9, KJV). Therefore, as we have the obligation to “speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11, KJV), it is important for us to emphasize this as well.

However, when it comes to raising children, we may wonder how early parents need to be concerned with having their children dress modestly. When does it become important for parents to be sure their children are dressed in this way? When they turn eighteen? When they become teenagers? Or should this begin much earlier, perhaps when the children are toddlers? The time to start this may be earlier than many expect.

In this article, I want us to consider some reasons why dressing modestly is important for young children.

To Train Them

The wise man wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The reason why parents train their children is to prepare them for adulthood. This is not merely about preparing them to be a productive member of society (even though this is important). Children are to be brought up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In other words, children are to be trained to become faithful followers of the Lord.

One of the ways in which we display a proper attitude toward the Lord and follow His instructions is in the way that we dress. The Scriptures instruct us to dress in modest apparel.* This means that part of training up a child in the way he/she should go involves teaching the child about modesty. Of course, modesty is not limited to clothing; but it certainly includes it. Some assume that this type of training becomes important when children become older (perhaps around their teenage years). However, the training that parents do is so that their children do not depart from it when they become older. This implies that training about dressing modestly must be done when the children are younger – before they are making their own decisions about the type of clothing they will wear.

To Prevent Lust

This is probably not a point that most parents consider, especially when it comes to young children. It is not something that should even need to be mentioned. However, given the perverse and wicked world in which we live and the fact that children’s clothing fashions – particularly for girls – often mimic the provocative styles of those who are older, this does become something we need to take into consideration. You can buy mens polarized sunglasses online on this website and check out more fashion accessories.

Of course, if someone has a mind that is so perverse as to lust after a child, what that child is wearing may be mostly irrelevant. It is also true that each person is responsible to keep from lusting after others (Matthew 5:28-29), regardless of how others might be dressed. However, we should also be aware of the effect clothing can have on others. We are to dress “modestly and discreetly” (1 Timothy 2:9). This means that if someone is inclined to lust, our clothing should not draw that person’s attention. When parts of our bodies are exposed, it is a signal to those around us that we are welcoming – or at least tolerating – the attention paid by others to those parts that are uncovered. And as much as we think this reasoning should not apply to our children because our minds cannot comprehend how anyone can have those kinds of thoughts about a child, it is something that ought to be considered.

To Be Different from the World

Christians are “not [to] be conformed to this world, but be transformed” (Romans 12:2). In every area of our lives – including how we dress – we must strive to follow the instructions found in the word of God.

The reason why many parents tend to allow their children to dress immodestly is because they are simply buying the current fashions. However, this goes back to the point we considered about training our children. What message are we teaching them when our clothing standards are based upon current fashion more than the word of God? When fashion changes – likely for the worse – how are they going to want to continue to dress? Children need to see that it sometimes takes some effort, time, or expense to conform to God’s standard and be different from the world. They need to see that this is part of our “reasonable service” to God (Romans 12:1, KJV), not something that is too much of a burden. If children do not learn to be different from the world, then they will follow the morals and standards of the world.


The Scriptures do not provide a specific age in which parents are to be sure they are dressing their children modestly. However, from the principles considered here, we should recognize that this is not something for parents to ignore. Children need to be trained, protected, and taught the importance of conforming to God’s standard rather than the world’s. In every area – not just in dress – this needs to start at an early age.

*For more on this topic, see the following article: Modest Apparel.

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on the Gospel, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.