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I am the mother of three girls, the two oldest are 12 and 14. The youngest is 6 months of age.

They're into wearing what the other girls wear. My 12 year old girl gives me heart attacks. She's very beautiful and she's got the tall gene making her look 16. She's also very mature making her seem like an adult sometimes. She's also very stubborn and will not wear skirts.

She's down to earth, humble, kind, smart, responsible and she has recently blossomed into a gorgeous young woman.

How can I get the girls to dress modestly? I don't want them to hate me and I don't want to force them.

We've only been orthodox for a couple of years and she's grown up in public schools. It's a big change and it's been great all around. She's upset that she can't eat gummy bears anymore but she's a good girl and keeps kosher. That wasn't hard to do but I can't get her to budge on the clothes.

She won't wear a skirt and she loves her baby doll style tees . Tights and shorts that she wears make my head spin. She's not doing it for the wrong reasons she's a kid and has no idea how gorgeous a woman she is becoming.

How do I approach this? What can I do to convince her to dress more modestly at her age?

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    By the way, there are kosher gummi bears. Hatzlacha rabba. – mevaqesh Aug 26 '16 at 6:21
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    This question from Stack Exchange "Parenting" parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/11697/… shows that the problem is not just ours. – Avrohom Yitzchok Aug 26 '16 at 11:22
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    For advice on how you personally should proceed in your particular situation, I strongly recommend that you consult a rabbi who is familiar with your family and your communal and school contexts or who could become familiar through careful interview. The situation you describe implicates halacha, communal standards, your family's and your daughter's development, your relationship, etc. and deserves to be addressed by a qualified professional who has access to all of the above. Mi Yodeya is not that. – Isaac Moses Aug 26 '16 at 12:24
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    Rebecca, you consider your daughter "down to earth, humble, kind, smart, responsible" and you say that "she has recently blossomed into a gorgeous young woman." Are you perhaps communicating conflicting messages concerning your feelings or thoughts about tzinut? – JJLL Aug 26 '16 at 13:01
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    Actually, I think tznius might apply at age 8, younger according to some. So please disregard my statement about bat mitzvah – SAH Mar 31 '17 at 19:18
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I highly recommend that you move to an Orthodox Jewish community. There is no way you can expect your children to thrive spiritually in community that has no orthodox Jewish Rabbis, orthodox Jews, schools and shuls etc.

Yes, it will mean sacrificing a lot - more than I can relate to.

With G-d's help, in the merit of you sacrificing everything, in order to live in an Orthodox Jewish community for the sake of modesty, may G-d shine His Divine Presence into your home and make you and your family a role model that everyone will learn from!

With all due respect, first make sure you are being careful in the area of tznius.

As the Zohar says, "Observance of the tznius code by mothers affects the wellbeing of the family both spiritually and materially" (Parshas Shemos, page 125. See also Spirituality and Intimacy by Raphael Aron, page 35). Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler says, "When you see a fault in others, turn the thinking and analysis to yourself. Even if you don't share the fault in its entirety, you likely share it in some small measure. Even if your weakness has never manifested itself in action, you have most likely pondered doing the very thing you are criticizing" (Michtav m'Eliyahu, volume 5, page 123; see also
Seek Peace and Pursue It by Dr. Dovid Leiberman, page 51). In other words: “First correct yourself and then correct others" (Bava Metzia 107b).

In addition, "One should constantly pray for the spiritual well-bring of one's children" (Maggid Taalumah; see also Artscroll Berachos 7b, note 25).

My practical advice is to read the book Outside/Inside by Gila Manolson.

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/31201/2 – Isaac Moses Aug 26 '16 at 16:09
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    Surely the children also got rights - including the right to choice how to dress, and if and how to worship... and the right to be heard if the family will be moving? – Baard Kopperud Aug 26 '16 at 18:44
  • Is this a translation? A paraphrase? Your own? Someone else's? If it is someone else's, make sure to attribute it. – mevaqesh Dec 26 '16 at 4:07
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I think in such a scenario Rav Obadiah says that it's better for girls to wear pants rather than mini skirts or other immodest clothes. I think the other suggestion of moving into an Orthodox community has merit, but at the same time, I've been in a few orthodox communities where the length of the skirts was waaaaaaaaaaaay more immodest than wearing jeans. Wearing a skirt for skirts sake while exposing nearly everything is clearly a step backward in modesty, and we should be aware of such things when we are trying to follow the halakha.

Rabbi Yosef rules that the wearing of trousers by women is not forbidden on the grounds that women are forbidden to wear men’s clothing. Even though he has reservations about women wearing trousers, he believes that the fashion of mini-skirts is much worse; choosing the lesser of two evils, he instructs a school principal to permit girls, as a temporary measure, to wear trousers (YO 6, Yoreh De’ah 14).”

  • +1, with a couple of notes: 1) Form-fitting pants presumably wouldn't be an acceptable compromise, as opposed to loose pants or shorts past the knees. 2) At the same time, the practicality of trying to impose these standards on a teenager, especially one who did not grow up religious, is questionable. The best path would be to find ways to inspire and persuade them about the value of Judaism and halachic observance in general and tz'niyus in particular, while also being patient and not coming on too strong. 3) Re. moving: It's impossible to overstate the influence of a teenager's peer group. – Fred Aug 28 '16 at 5:06
  • @Fred In general i agree with you. But most skirts that are even knee length also are fairly form fitting around a girls thighs and bottom, so i don't think the difference between those types of skirts and jeans/pants really matters at all. In general, seeing genuine modest skirts is something i've only witnessed on rare occasion. But maybe it's because i live in LA – Aaron Aug 28 '16 at 17:32
  • But most skirts that are even knee length also are fairly form fitting Fair enough. That's also a problem, but it doesn't necessarily mean that form-fitting pants would be an acceptable alternative either. Note this answer that specifies Rabbi Henkin's opinion that loose pants are fine, as opposed to form-fitting pants. And R' Ovadia Yosef, whom you cited, also noted that form-fitting pants are worse than loose pants ("ובפרט במכנסים המהודקות ממש על הגוף שגורמות הסתכלות והרהורים רעים ביתר שאת"). || Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/40746. – Fred Aug 28 '16 at 18:22
  • @Fred i agree with you. But there seems to be this overall skirts are always better bias that doesn't really pan out. Most skirts i see these days are form fitting. So if you have form fitting pants that go to the knee, but show half the leg, and form fitting pants that don't show anything, why should the skirt automatically be better if we are talking about modesty? It seems to be most people say they are speaking about modesty when the reality is what they are talking about is gender roles and gender defining clothing – Aaron Aug 28 '16 at 18:24
  • I personally agree with you, and am more inclined towards Rabbi Henkin's opinion (with the caveat that one shouldn't transgress the minimum tzniyus standards in the community where they are — e.g., don't wear pants in a Haredi community because the divergence from typical standards would itself draw attention and therefore be immodest in that context). However, the preponderance of tight skirts in some communities doesn't mean that tight skirts — or tight pants, for that matter — are halachically acceptable. So I'm not saying one is better than the other; I'm saying both are bad. – Fred Aug 28 '16 at 19:22

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