You know having the sex talk isn’t an event in our home, it has become a lifestyle and culture. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not constantly talking to my children about the birds and the bees. (LOL can you imagine a 2 year old trying to understand that conversation? haha, sorry, I just had a picture of Jude trying to understand that kind of “talk”) Anyway, as part of teaching our children about their sexuality and what it’s all about – I had to teach my girls from a very young age what the words “appropriate” and “inappropriate” meant.Yes, I hear you asking, “aren’t those word a little big for a little person to learn?” and the answer is, “no, they aren’t”. My mother told me from the very first time I got pregnant, that children understand waaaaaaaaaay more than we give them credit for – even in the womb. They may not be able to say the words like we do, but they definitely understand them. So words like ‘dangerous’, ‘behaviour’, ‘understand me’ and ‘inappropriate’ have been used consistently in our home since Aislyn was born.
Ok, so back to teaching my girls what ‘appropriate’ means. I honestly have never wanted to be that mom that tells my girls what outfit they should wear. They should be able to express their individual personalities in the way that they dress. But, one thing I have taught them from when they were little, is that certain items require certain boundaries or behaviour that is respectful.
Ok, so here’s an example.
Every time my girls have ever worn a skirt, I have explained to them that it is ok to wear the skirt but if they would like to play and be free in their skirt then it is “appropriate” to wear tights underneath it so that we can be “respectful” of ourselves and to other people who don’t need to see our underwear. If they want to wear the skirt without tights, then it will be “inappropriate” to do cartwheels and jump on a trampoline and so they will then need to hold their skirts down, or not do the cartwheels. So they have then made the choice to wear the tights that give them that freedom to be little girls and if they don’t wear the tights I click into strict observant Mommy mode and telling them that they can’t do what I explained to them earlier when we are in public.
It can come across as a little intense, but I’m not thinking about the little 3 year old here – I’m thinking about my ‘one day’ 16 year old that is going to eventually challenge my way of thinking about what she wants to wear. I’m hoping that because we have a culture of boundaries that bring them freedom, that when a tough conversation or challenge arises, that it will be a discussion rather than an argument. I say this with the greatest intentions and have prayed often for those coming years.
So with that in mind, my girls have been able to choose their outfits according to their expression and I have honestly not approved in my thoughts about some of the pickings (there have been many a “homeless princess” moment) – but I have always maintained the ground rules of what is “appropriate” and what isn’t. If it hits the mark – you can wear it even though it may look like the wardrobe ran you over.
Now with that all said, I have done something extra. I also don’t want to be that mom that always has a say about what they have to wear and then do whatever I want and not be accountable. So I have once in a while asked their opinion on my outfits. It’s a little daunting sometimes, to have your 5 year old look you over and say, “hmmmmmm, Mom I think that’s a bit short – you need tights with that” or, your 8 year old tell you, “Mom, that’s an outfit for dates with dad – not a Mommy outing”
There’s nothing like eating humble pie and taking them with me to my cupboard and asking what they suggest but we have great conversations and come to a compromise to create an awesome outfit.
But, you know what – I think that because I have made it a two way street, it’s really making it easier to casually say to my 9 year old Aislyn, “Sweetheart, those shorts are inappropriate to go out in, try and find some longer ones” and there’s no retaliation because we’ve been having this conversation since she was 3.
Now, what does this have to do with “the talk” – well one thing I feel a child needs to learn is self respect and it has to be learnt from when they are small. Running around naked is fine in your own home without anyone outside of your immediate family around, but your body is yours and it’s special and it is to be treated properly and dressed properly in order to communicate the right message to other people in this world.
Here is a list of the “no no’s” when exiting the door of our home (I don’t always get it right because of the whirlwind it is to leave our home – so I sometimes have spare items in the car to cover up)
- If I can see you panties when you bend – no too short
- Your tummy may not show for any reason – no crop tops, wear something underneath
- If you have a dress or a skirt on – they are to be partnered with tights or mom will be on your case all day, and it will be embarrassing sometimes
- Earings (this one is for Aislyn) have to be age appropriate – no dangly spangly efforts. Cute, neat and to the point, you’re a child not a 25 year old secretary
- If we can see through it – it needs a spaghetti top under it
These are the basics and have helped the girls view the world differently as well. Watching “Live from the Red carpet” is a treat, because they will often say – Mom, she’s showing a bit too much skin, that’s inappropriate for this – they could have done A, B, or C with it. They could wear that at home for their husbands.
Many may not agree with this approach, and that’s ok – I will expand one day on the other aspects of who my girls are becoming. Today was about being ‘respectful’ and ‘honorable’ about our own bodies, as a building block to self worth in their sexuality later in life.
If you have any response to what I’ve shared, scroll down and please chat to me so that we can learn from each other. Thanks for reading, I hope to have you reading again soon.