How Can a Mom Teach Her Little Girls About Modesty, Purity & Sexual Safety?
A friend recently sent me this message via Facebook-
With you having two girls and homeschooling, I was wondering if you have come across any good teaching/literature for teaching modesty for a young girl? My daughter is 6 and I am trying, but I’d like to know if there are any resources out there that you may have used?”
I decided to respond to Tara’s question here on my blog, since I have a feeling other moms are probably looking for these kinds of resources for their daughters, as well. I know I certainly was, and for good reason-
About twelve summers ago, I was in my early twenties and pregnant with our first child (our oldest daughter).
I remember sitting on the front porch of our home in East Texas, wondering how on earth I was going to find the courage to guide a daughter through the processes of growing up, learning about her body, etc.
Issues from my childhood suffocated my confidence in feeling whole enough to guide a daughter through the process of growing into a woman. Honestly, I sat there on my wicker settee that sticky, humid afternoon and cried.
I felt lost and overwhelmed.
Thankfully, God is so much bigger than our limitations, our past, and our fears!
My mom gave me a book (I’ll tell you about it in a minute!), and the story of my womanhood changed.
My girls are now eleven and nine years old, and we pretty much have an open door in our relationship to talk about “girl stuff” (like modesty, the ways our bodies change and work), any time the subjects come up.
By the grace of God, the truths about modesty, purity, femininity and even sexual predators are topics I’ve attempted to work into the fiber of my girls’ thinking ever since they were old enough to understand age-appropriate truths and facts.
Obviously there are age-appropriate ways to bring up topics, teach, and share about this kind of “girl talk,” but I still say that the earlier you start, the better.
For me, the foundation of building this kind of training into my daughters’ lives had to start with my own understanding and acceptance of my design as a woman. You can’t give your daughter something you don’t have, and that is certainly true of a healthy identity as a woman.
With that in mind, I’m going to share a few of my favorite books for moms, as well as resources for daughters.
Here are a handful of books I’ve read with my daughters, absolutely love, and highly recommend for teaching young girls about modesty, purity, womanhood and sexual safety:
***By the way, by “sexual safety” I am not referring to “safe sex.” I’m talking about safety from sexual predators, both human predators and in the media.***
—————–> These are books I recommend for little girls, perhaps ages four or five up to eight or ten years old:
- The Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God’s Gift of Purity, by Jennie Bishop
I love this book and the gentle story it tells. My girls have always been captivated by the beautiful illustrations (what little girl doesn’t love a good princess story?). Here’s a review I wrote of the book in 2010, when my oldest daughter was about six years old.
The corresponding devotional book, Life Lessons from the Princess and the Kiss, is a great resource to read with your daughter during special devotion times, or mommy-daughter dates.
- Sara Sue Learns to Yell and Tell, by Debi Pearl
I believe every mother should read this book with her little girls. Sexual predators are a threat to the safety and innocence of our daughters, and the unfortunate fact is that these predators are very often among in our neighborhoods, family gatherings, or at even church.
Mamas, do not make the mistake of not discussing this topic with your little girls because it makes you feel uncomfortable. Little girls need age-appropriate information and guidance from wise, proactive, and confident mothers. I believe this book is a must-have resource!
Debi Pearl has also written a Yell and Tell book for little boys, and I recommend that one too.
—————–> Books for slightly older girls to read, perhaps ages nine or ten up to twelve years old:
- Beautiful Girlhood, by Karen Andreola
I read this book when I was young, and just recently gave a copy to my eleven-year old daughter as well. This is an old-fashioned book (revised by Karen Andreola), but the message is timeless.
I just ordered The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood and am looking forward to reading through it with my daughter during our weekly devotional time.
- A Girl’s Guide to Making Really Good Choices, by Elizabeth George.
While this book isn’t particularly about “modesty” or “purity,” it is about helping a young girl cultivate a heart for God and grow into a young woman who lives for Him. Mrs. George does address topics such as friendship and boys.
My daughter also loves A Girl After God’s Own Heart, by Elizabeth George.
I just ordered these books for my daughter and am anxious to read them myself! After reading reviews from other moms, I’m hopeful that these books are a good resource for our family.
—————–> A few books for Mom to read:
- Gentle Passages, by Robin Jones Gunn
This is the book my mom gave me twelve years ago, and it honestly changed my life. You may check it out and wonder, How on earth can such a little book have such a big impact? It’s a coffee table book, for crying out loud!
It’s true: Gentle Passages is a little bitty book that would look nice just sitting out on your coffee table or night stand, but in this case… don’t judge a book by it’s cover, or it’s size. The message in this book is as large as life, and every woman needs to “get” it.
I desperately hope the publishers of Gentle Passages will bring this book back! You can still find gently used copies on Amazon, Half Price Books, Paperback Swap, and other used book retailers.
- Naturally Healthy Woman, by Shonda Parker.
This book sounds like a holistic woman’s handbook… and it is, but that’s not all it is. I absolutely love the way Mrs. Parker addresses the Biblical design and physical make-up of womanhood in this book.
Mrs. Parker (a Master Herbalist and the wife of a medical doctor) covers some pretty comprehensive ground regarding the health issues and needs of a woman’s body, so you’re going to get a great overview of how your body works and what to do if it isn’t working right.
By far my favorite part of Naturally Healthy Woman is the emphasis placed upon God’s beautiful design for a woman’s body; every woman needs to read this book! The vision this book casts for womanhood is life-changing and life-giving.
Ladies, I love this topic of girlhood, daughters, and womanhood so much! Let’s keep talking about it, okay?
We’ll pursue these topics throughout the month of July… my mind is reeling with ideas to share, books to recommend or review, and thoughts that are so very close to my heart as the mother of young daughters.
Tomorrow I have something to share with you for our Weekend Reads.
Next week (after our Minister’s Wife Monday post), let’s jump in with some practical, relationship-building ideas and conversation starters for teaching little girls about modesty, purity and sexual safety.