My husband and I and are the parents of three wonderful children, but we've been having some issues lately with our 15 year old, our middle child. She continues to wear skirts that are much too short for her, including to school (where these kinds of things should be dealt with, but aren't) and when out with her friends. We both have to leave for work early in the morning and rely on our kids to get ready to go to school by themselves in the mornings, and we are unable to verify our children's attire; in fact, we first found out our daughter was wearing miniskirts was when the school called to tell us. When we get home from work in the evenings, our daughter is usually wearing miniskirts and occasionally other short clothing inappropriate for her age. We don't know where we gets them and suspects she borrows them from friends or buys them at malls when she's out.

She was very rebellious and rude the last time we discussed this with her. We told her that we as parents require that her skirts be knee length or longer and meet school dress code, to which she replied that we were being "old-fashioned" and "too conservative", and that short skirts are "what every other girl is wearing". We threatened then, perhaps too brazenly, to throw out all of her skirts, even her okay ones, and buy her ones that were full length (I.e that reached her ankles), knowing that she'd know that she'll have to wear them to school and would not like it, thus giving her an appropriate incentive to start dressing more modestly. After she continued being rude and not wanting to follow our requirements, we followed through, and while she was at school we threw out all of her old skirts and anything that we found inappropriate and ordered some full length skirts for her to wear, like something similar to this.

Last night she complained that other kids thought that she was "uncool" because her parents made her wear ankle-length "maxi" skirts, even though they were to demonstrate a purpose, and further complained to us about how we "don't get it" and how girls wear skirts that are short. I explained to her that when I was growing up, we were in a strict religious community where modesty was a big deal and we were expected to wear skirts that were almost ankle length, and so I therefore understand her wanting to express herself by wearing clothing that shows more skin. What I can't seem to get across is that while she has the right to express herself she needs to care about how she looks and dress appropriately. We feel that she accepted wearing the ankle-length skirt when she decided to not to follow our rules, yet she makes us out to be the enemy who won't let her be her own definition of cool.

Though we are still adamant about enforcing it, I am wondering if we were perhaps a bit too brazen and hasty when it comes to handling this. Do you feel like this was handled appropriately? I'd like feedback on how you feel we did in terms of handling the situation and what perhaps we should of done differently. Also, on a more general scale, what is the recommended way to deal with children who don't dress appropriately and you have limited time to deal with discipline due to a hectic work schedule

  • 38
    You threw things out that belonged to your daughter. It doesn't matter if you warned her (the fact that you say you 'threatened' her is very concerning), you threw out her belongings. She is going to see you as the bad guy. She is going to react very poorly. And she is going to learn nothing, except that she cannot trust you when she leaves the house.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 19:45
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    At what age did you begin teaching her about modesty? It sounds like she's surprised at your stance.
    – user808
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 1:51
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    One creative father handled this very neatly on YouTube - He invited her to go shopping with him. Before they left the house, he changed into a pair of shorts matching hers. They went shopping for a couple of hours, she got the point, and dressed more appropriately afterwards.
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 0:26
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    OP did you just say its the schools job to dress kids? including to school (where these kinds of things should be dealt with, but aren't because that is preposterous.
    – EpicKip
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 14:16
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    @EpicKip It is the parents' job to ensure their children are dressed appropriately, including to be within bounds of school rules. It is the school's job to enforce their own dress code they created and put into effect. I'm not denying that parents have a responsibility here. I'm saying the school does have the responsibility to enforce rules they themselves set forth and that the community and parents depend on them to do so.
    – user24631
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 21:53

15 Answers 15


There are at least 2 sides to every issue. There are also at least 2 sides in every war. By destroying what she considers hers b/c she did not comply with your orders, in her eyes, the "issue" has become a "war" and you launched the first nuclear weapon, but it was a dud.

Did you change her mind? No.

Did you adjust her clothing style? No. (She will find a way around draconian methods of control.)

Did you achieve anything you wanted? No.

So what can be answered with "Yes"?

Is she now pitted against you? Yes.

Does she now know to hide everything she does from you? Yes.

Will she trust the most stupid person in the world instead of you? Yes.

She is not a toddler -- she's a young adult. She violated no laws and was conforming to what she perceived as the standards for her generation. You distanced yourself from her and, in her eyes, from her generation. The chasm has been declared.

Is all lost? I am grateful to say resolutely, "No."

Our daughters are and will always be our babies... whether they're 4 months, 4 years, or even 44 years... we'll remember every nuance (as we ought).

They clearly change over time, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but as parents we must always be there for them -- in the good and bad. So you disagree with her choice of clothing -- does it really matter? So you disagree with her hair style -- does it really matter? So you disagree with her choice in _ _ _ issue -- does it really matter?

At her age you can give advice, suggest alternatives, help with her thought process, and support her growth, but control, dictatorship, supremacy is no longer yours to be had. She is a free-willed spirit now, beyond your control in anything but the minor issues.

Women voting? Non-whites speaking as free people? Indentured persons being treated as equals? Just decades ago, the answer to those questions would be, "Are you crazy!?"

If I had made a mistake as significant as yours, I would sit down with her, apologize, tell her the reasons, accept my error, and correct it... and then make damn sure she knows that I am willing to do so because I care about her so much (and for that very same reason I took the initial actions.) It will show what a true adult will do: admit their mistakes and take responsibility for it.

If you don't (as is your choice), then you are choosing to accept the consequences of a daughter who will no longer be with you in spirit, but still serve as your daughter.

Since your actions serve no constructive end, please ask yourself this: Did I raise a slave?

If the answer is "No" (it is a firm "No" to her!), then your choice has been laid out before you to make.

4745 Greater than the number of days she will be under your control and a timer to when her control over her life without any non-legal interference begins.

While you were reading this, that number got smaller.

  • 46
    At the beginning of their lives parents should be like their kid's dictators, then their presidents and, finally, their advisers. Rebellion lets you know when you've been demoted. Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 8:52
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    @jeremy, I like a lot of this post. Couple of suggestions? (I didn't edit myself because I don't want to misrepresent you.) 1) The "yes" section could be toned down slightly; as written, the use of "everything" and "most stupid" may be more than is needed? 2) Comparing parents' concern about appropriate attire with the resistance to women's suffrage and minority rights seems a bit much, as does the use of "slave" where I think you mean something like, "unquestioning follower". Again, I like a lot of this, but some tweaks would make me a lot more comfortable up voting.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 15:03
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    @Jaydles Thanks for the feedback. The "yes" section is based on my experience in high school with children who would ask me (the then-virgin) about sex and everything else and my suggestion to consult with their parents was mocked. I had one guy ask me about getting a girl pregnant where he'd only engaged in oral sex, hence the "most stupid" part. While "slave" has many connotations, a dictionary lookup reveals it is apropos in this usage and I'd suggest not only because of the definition, but b/c that is how the kid feels. Much of what I wrote was allusive to how she feels. Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 15:07
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    @JeremyMiller How exactly did we make a mistake? We gave her plenty of advance notice regarding what the punishment will be; we were willing to talk this out with her, but we won't compromise until she alters her behavior and stops lying and talking back to us. She chose to wear long skirts when she accepted the punishment for her behavior. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 0:01
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    @StephanieDaigle Your error is in assuming that getting your way is going to teach your daughter anything helpful to her. There is an old saying, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." You may win the battle, but the war will last far longer and you will lose. A relationship cannot be ruled and be strong. Do you want her to follow you from fear or love? What will you have achieved in the end other than to have gotten your way? What is your goal as a parent? To have children who obey? What then will they become as adults? Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 0:58

As a young adult who grew up with parents dictating to me what I could and could not wear, I'm begging you to go to your daughter, apologize for not respecting her as the adult that she is, and tell her that no matter what she wears you love her and you're so incredibly grateful and proud of the woman that she is.

My parents forced me into wearing what they wanted me to wear while I was living at home and so it appeared that they had won. Really, they won the battle on skirts and lost the war on maintaining a relationship with me. They were so concerned with how I looked and that I fit the model of how they wanted people to perceive their daughter, that they put that as more important than the relationship they had with me.

Your daughter is autonomous and while she is still a minor, the age for commanding obedience to orders like that is long gone. Now is the time when you have to let your daughter make her own decisions with your knowledge, otherwise she'll make her own decisions and see you as the enemy of who she is.

Your daughter is more than her clothes, and her feeling loved and accepted by you is more important than you being comfortable with everything she wears. Your daughter desperately needs acceptance and love, not control. If she doesn't get that acceptance from you, she WILL go find it somewhere else, and it will probably be from someone much less good for her than you. Please, let her wear the sorts of skirts and pants she wants and avoid criticizing her clothing as much as possible -- she needs love and grace.


There was an age where mini-skirts as in the image you posted were considered outrageous, and those who wore it would for sure go to hell. It turned out that it wasn't that dramatic, and nowadays parents even consider those a standard. Times change and so do clothes.

You might want to have a look at the other girls in her class to check for yourself how they dress. Maybe you do that together with your daughter, so she can comment on it and you can openly and on a fair basis discuss that with her.

If it turns out that she is right, and everyone dresses like she said, then maybe you should ask yourself what is the greater harm: her wearing clothes that do not comply with your idea of dressing, or her being mobbed by her classmates for dressing "like in the 60'ies"?

If it turns out she just wants to walk around "half-naked" to impress boys, and the other girls don't dress as she told you, then this would be a point to discuss as well: how to impress boys using the mind and not the body. In this case you should maybe address her fears to be left out from those who find "the one they truly love forever and ever". And how unrealistic that idea is.

In the end you maybe find a compromise if you discuss that with your daughter on a fair and open basis, once she knows you took her serious and took interest in her version of life.

  • 1
    If we compromise and let her wear regular skirts again while she's in the middle of a punishment, then we look weak and she'll have further ground to misbehave in the future. Once she changes her attitude we're willing to do what you're suggesting, but not a second before. Getting mobbed by classmates on her outfit might provide an incentive for her to reconsider her outlook, after all. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 0:06
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    @Stephanie Daigle: you're treating an almost-adult like a small child, which can only end badly. Punishment will not change her attitude, but can damage your relationship permanently. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 12:49
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    I am not going to question your style of parenting, because she is your daughter after all. But you might want to ask yourself how willing someone is to follow rules, if there is only punishment and no reward. Kids often follow rules more easily if they consider them to be fair.
    – TwoThe
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 12:53

I grew up with parents like you. Fundamentalists, right? "Modesty" culture? All you're doing is teaching your daughter that her body is something to be ashamed of. I guarantee you you're going to lose her, because you've screwed this up and there's nothing you can do about it now. My parents screwed it up and I was glad when they kicked me out at 16 years old (they were angry that I got on the internet and started learning about the real world). They had me wearing ankle-length skirts, quarter-sleeve-or-longer shirts, collared and stuffy and buttoned all the way to the top. I grew up in that kind of fundamentalist culture, and all I got out of it was a slew of emotional scars.

The more you try to shelter her because of your own fears, the more you're hurting her - you're instilling your own fears in her and she'll carry that fear with her for the rest of her life, but not in the way you think. She'll have panic attacks years from now, flashing back to all the things you put her through - just like I do with my parents. She'll cry herself to sleep at night and wonder why she hates herself when she looks in the mirror - and it will be because you taught her that her body was sinful. She'll have years of trouble trying to find a loving relationship, and it will be because she was taught that men are rapists and we women all have to be on guard and wear modest clothes, OR ELSE. If she's like many ex-fundies, she'll struggle with suicidal thoughts. You've forced her into a culture of control, fear, indoctrination and often emotional abuse. I don't even want to think of what else you must be trying to control in her life if you're fundamentalists...it's never a pretty picture!

All you're doing is damaging her by teaching her all of this nonsense. I'm glad she's standing up to you. I'm glad I stood up to my mother too. That gives me a little bit of hope that she can escape and find herself someday; maybe when she turns 18 she can find her own life and never have to hear this shaming stuff again! She doesn't need that. She needs support, real support. She needs unconditional love.

If a cake shop puts their cakes on display, do you blame the owners when their cakes are stolen, and say "Well you just put those delicious cakes right out on display, it's your fault"? If you get robbed, do you blame yourself, or do you put the robber in prison? If someone gets murdered, do you say "Yeah well apparently the person really made the murderer angry - shouldn't have done that!" NO! Men's thoughts are their own responsibility; if they can't control themselves, that's not your daughter's fault.

Give this girl some jeans, shorts, and a few classy short skirts - let her be free or I guarantee she'll take off the moment she hits 18 and leave you in the dust (I certainly hope!). Hopefully then she can find healing from the damage done to her heart.

  • 2
    We're not fundamentalists, and I think you're misinterpreting our intentions. We're actually fairly liberal parents - this isn't about sheltering her, it's about setting basic standards and expecting they be met. Since she won't follow our requirements to wear knee length skirts (not an unusual or draconian requirement) we gave her something she wouldn't like to wear in hope that it would provide incentive to start following our rules. As soon as she's willing to apologize for going behind us she won't have to wear those ankle-length skirts anymore. Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 16:10
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    I have been wearing skirts and dresses since I was very young, no one made me dress this way. It was not because of my religion or anything else. I just felt that was how I should dress. I fought hard against ever wearing any kind of pants. So I do wish you would consider things a bit more before you answer rashly.
    – L.B.
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 3:02
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    @StephanieDaigle I know this is an old question, but given that your profile on SE Christianity includes a question about when to start making your daughters wear head coverings while praying, I'm going to contradict you and say that yes, you are a fundamentalist. It may not seem like it from your perspective, but you are pretty far out on the edge of religious practice. Additionally, your claim that a requirement of knee length skirts are not unusual or draconian is incorrect, that is very unusual, and the way in which you chose to enforce this with your daughter is very draconian
    – Kevin
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 20:27
  • 2
    "As soon as she's willing to apologize for going behind us she won't have to wear those ankle-length skirts anymore." By the sound of all your comments, you've never apologized to her for anything, so maybe she just doesn't know how. You need to teach her about humility by acting with humility. About respect by acting respectfully (which from this admittedly small perspective, seems like you are not). And yes, you strike me as quite fundamentalist.
    – user29403
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 1:39
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    I'm a fundamentalist, and I'm calling bs on your first paragraph. My daughter dresses modestly because she takes pride in her body. If you follow my other posts you will already know that I give her very broad latitude. I agree with your contention that cloistering is bad, but the environment you describe goes sufficiently out to left field that it is no longer fundamentalism
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 13:06

I would have been incandescant with rage if my patents had removed and destroyed my property.

There is a difference between a short skirt and alcohol, or drugs, which are items that could legitimately be removed.

1) School Uniform.

Explain that she must wear clothing that conforms to the school uniform. Does the school allow above the knee skirts? If so you may need to compromise and allow those for school too. Otherwise she'll just break the rules and she'll wear things that you find totally unacceptable.

2) her friends

In the scheme of things short skirts is a ridiculously trivial thing to worry about. Your daughter could be drinking alcohol; taking drug; shoplifting; stealing cars; having sex; etc etc. praise her for her good behaviour. Set some firm rules about minimum length and work out some kind of compromise for what is acceptable. Tell her that this is a considerable effort from you and that in return you need to see something in return from her - volunteering at a good cause charity or increased willing participation in household chores, and also some more modest clothing at home.

Emphasise that you love her and trust her.

  • 18
    Do you realise that you have an extremist position about skirt length and that your daughter is behaving in a completely normal manner? You want her to do something that her friends do not do, and the only reason you can give her is "because I said so". The reason most people have a "below the knee" rule is so that they can negotiate to a shorter but acceptable length. You might not like the 'finger tip length" rule, but it's better than what she's wearing now and there's some chance of her obeying that rule.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 20:43
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    Dan, if my daughters were sneaking behind my back, hiding anything they were doing by waiting until I was out of the house, I would not trust them to deal honestly with me. What happens when "all the kids drink at parties" and "all the kids smoke a little pot" and "all the kids have sex"? If fitting in with her peers is that important regarding clothing, peer pressure is the big worry. I've been to four kids' funerals - two suicides, two drunk driving. Peer pressure, and lying about what she's doing while she surrenders to it is the problem.
    – Marc
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 22:02
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    Can you honestly not see a difference between wearing a short skirt and drinking alcohol? By taking a hard line on an extremist position this parent is risking losing the ability to discuss anything more serious, like alcohol, with their daughter.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 13:36
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    Let's all keep this civil, and recognize that different parents have different approaches and priorities - our goal here is to share them respectfully.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 19:09
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    @StephanieDaigle "our daughter refuses to respect them" There is a world of difference between obeying a rule and respecting it. You may be able the enforce obedience, but respect can only be earned. Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 17:51

What I can't seem to get across is that while she has the right to express herself she needs to care about how she looks and dress appropriately.

You're basically saying that she has the right to express herself, as long as you explicitly agree with how she expresses herself.

That's worse than simply saying that she doesn't have the right to express herself, because now you're acting like you're being open-minded parents, when really you're still just making rules about what she's allowed to wear and are enforcing them through shaming her in front of her peers.

I think there's been plenty of good answers given already, so I'd just like to add the above and a little part from experience: my (now) wife left her parent's home the day of her 18th birthday and then needed years to rebuild a relationship with her parents (mostly her mum) because of things like this. Parents enforcing rules with shaming is a recipe for disaster, and it's not going to help her in life.

Your daughter will mostly learn to resent you and as soon she's out of your zone of control she's still going to do what she wants. Except by then she won't have any parents to fall back on once she does something that actually starts going out of control.


Why do you want her to wear skirts of a certain length? That's very important for you to examine in this. You need to explain it to her (probably yet again) and then ask her what she thinks of your reasons and discuss why she feel they're not valid. She's 15, not 5 and should be able to articulate her thoughts or at least should start practicing doing so.

When she explains her opinion, push her beyond the surface. Talk about other ways she can win the approval of her peers and how she can positively deflect attention to her longer-than-average hemline, so it'll be harder for her to resist to protect herself against peer criticism (that's what she's doing, don't demonize her for it, you wouldn't want to work in a place where your coworkers picked on you all day).

Don't condemn her peers. They're not all jumping off a bridge for no reason. That doesn't mean that they're making good choices, just they have reasons for making bad decisions. If your reasons are very good and sound, surely some of her friends are suffering consequences your rules were devised to spare her (have any of them gotten in trouble for violating the dress code? are they cat-called by creepers? etc? I'm not much help with this as I'm not sure why miniskirts are such a big deal).

Steer the conversation so your daughter is the one to talk about her friends' negative experiences and coax her to elaborate about how much they suck. Teens embrace things that are their own ideas. They crave ways to test our their judgement. Make it so that she wants to judge longer skirts as better for her by guiding her about how well they fit with things she values (focus on her values, not yours - although you'll probably find they have a lot in common).

Keep in mind most people I know went through an unfortunate fashion phase as a teenager (I wore all black until I realized I looked horrible in it, then I went back to dressing normally), and came out just fine for it. A certain amount of experimentation is healthy, as this is the phase of their life where society is very forgiving. When she gets to college, if she leaves your house (which she will have the legal ability to do), you can't monitor what she wears and she may act-out to compensate for what she felt was oppressive.

What is important is to at least act like you take her side seriously and are taking into consideration her side. Try to revert it from being a "us versus you" thing to being a "we all agree this is best" thing. Yes it takes more time and is kind of annoying, but nobody likes to listen to someone who is a brick wall. You wouldn't like it if a boss made you do a particular task a certain way if you saw a better way and wouldn't even hear you out. She may feel like she is in that position and it's silly as you all have the same goal: that she should become a healthy independent adult in a few years.

The good news for you is that parents who fight with their parents over issues like this tend to be better at standing up to peer pressure. They have a strong sense of what they think is right and wrong. You don't get to dictate it anymore, but the good news is that it's unlikely their peers have 100% say in it either, she is likely more her own person than some of her peers. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-angst/201201/arguing-mom-may-help-teens-resist-peer-pressure


Here's the good things:

First of all, you set a standard to maintain. That's great. The child has concrete and clear lines of what is expected of her. Straying beyond these requirements is a sign that she does not trust your wisdom. That is not an excuse to act out beyond the requirements though.

Secondly, you enforced the standard. You told her what is expected, she didn't follow it, thus the consequences were brought forth. Perhaps your methodology could be perceived as "brazen and hasty" by some, but in the end, you have the final say. You're the parents.

Here's the bad things:

We've all heard the classic "if they all jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" The articles of clothing her friends' parents allow are non of yours' or your daughter's concern. You are the provider for her. She is dependent upon you for survival until, at least, to the age of 18 (if you are States dwellers). The "my house, my rules" still applies unless she would prefer to chip in on room and board.

While making her wear ankle length skirts could make her a social pariah, perhaps she should have listened to your guidance from the very beginning. I was friends with a girl in high school who wore ankle-length denim or cotton skirts every single day. She was one of the most popular girls in school because she didn't draw attention to the fact that she had to wear those items. If she would stop making a big deal of it, the attention would be drawn away from it, and she may have a better time.

Also, I don't think length of skirt is the issue here. She's seeking to test you; to test what measures you will take to ensure enforcement. Don't give in. Stay steadfast in your guidance. She may not like it now, hell, she may not like it in the future, but at least you'll show her that people should expect something of her rather than just giving her the world at the first complaint.

  • I see you have not started being a control freak upon moving here, eh?
    – user7953
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 3:32
  • This is the first answer that doesn't rudely disagree with the parents' premise and actually answers the question as asked, not the fabricated question the other answerers seem to think is there.
    – user24631
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 4:43

There may be a lot more going on than you know. If she doesn't follow dress-code rules she disagrees with, it's very unlikely she follows other rules she doesn't like, and she has unsupervised time in which to do so. She's proven that she's susceptible to peer pressure, that impressing her friends is more important than anything you think, and she's already lied to you many times.

Based on what you've written, I would be very worried. It's possible that the only misbehavior involves wearing short skirts, but that's not realistic, is it? Unlike Dan, I wouldn't trust her, but you don't have to say that. Too much is at stake - this is not a dispute about community standards among rational adults!

She's fifteen, and will be driving soon if you allow it. What will she do then, when school is one direction, the mall is another, her boyfriend is horny and the house is empty? Am I concerned? Yeah. Am I being overly alarmist? I don't know. Do you? If I'm wrong, you need to know it, not hope it. I've taught over 5,000 14 year old kids in 29 years, including both my daughters and most of their friends, and I've seen this same story have a bad ending.

If it's at all possible, you and your husband should shift your work hours so that one of you can be there when she leaves and one is there when she returns. If you can't, get as close to it as you can. Her unsupervised time is a problem. Supervising her is the solution.

One last thought: When I was in high school, my friends with the cool parents became the first parents, except the one who died driving drunk. Teens look, and for short periods, can seem like rational young adults. Don't you believe it! We weren't, they're not. They're emotional creatures, living for today.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 14:45

At her age, your daughter is learning to make decisions for herself. She needs to know that you will listen to her thoughts and that you are not afraid to change your mind or moderate your stance on an issue if she can give you a good reason to. If you were to discuss the situation and the current punishment with her, investigate for yourselves what's actually being worn by her peers, and then consider adjusting the punishment based on what you find, you'll go a long way toward gaining her respect AND teaching her how adults make wise decisions.

As far as having time to check her attire in the morning, if that's just not a possibility for you, what about having her lay out her clothing the night before so that you can check that it meets your standards? That doesn't eliminate the chance that she'll lay out one thing and wear something else, of course, but then you'd know if this was just an issue of modesty, or if there's a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.

At 15, she does need to obey your rules, but she should also be gaining more and more independence. Can you talk to her about cooperation and trust being reasons for you to give her more independence, and rebellion and dishonesty making it harder for you to do so?


I suggest that you provide her with lots of leggings to wear under her short skirts. Leggings are very trendy now, and wearing a short skirt over them gives the look that is "in" right now, but the body is better covered. I've seen this look from some young teens I know, and it allows them to remain stylish, while maintaining a certain level of modesty. I think your bottom line is that she should dress according to her school's dress code, unless you are intent on doing what you're doing. Good luck with this precious girl, who so wants to fit in, but hasn't really yet found her "look."


You are the parent and you do have the final say.

That said, it's always good to pick your battles.

Is she an otherwise good daughter? Good student? Then perhaps you are a bit too hung up on this one issue. I'd suggest that this is a battle that you find a truce on. She needs to add a few inches, but perhaps you can give up a few inches. That way both sides are sacrificing a bit to come to a happy middle ground.

On the other hand, if this is indicative of other behavior problems, maybe there's much more to this than just arguing about skirt lengths.


If all the other girls are wearing the same sorts of things, then I don't think it would be an issue. However I doubt that's the case, if the school contacted you about it.

Having said that, I think you need to accept that fashion standards change, and you may need to compromise a little.

You mentioned that you were in a religious community when you were growing up. This presumably meant your peers also had to follow the same strict rules. You wore what you wore to conform to the standards of your community and your peers. Your daughter is presumably doing the same thing.

Unless her behaviour is becoming problematic in other ways, I'd be inclined to relax the dress standards a little.


I was able to try to answer this question, My 16 year old daughter got a speeding ticket, because I have some idea why compliance with that law is important, consequential ... to be taken seriously.

Reading your question, however, I gained no insight into why it's important to wear long skirts. I read "we've been having some issues", "we are unable to verify", "we as parents require", "they were to demonstrate a purpose" (but without explaining what the 'purpose' was), and "we were expected".

I understand why it's important to not drive 46 mph in a 20 mph zone, but I can't figure out why it's important to not wear a miniskirt (except "in order to obey my parents").

Other people (teenagers) wear miniskirts.

Isn't it normal (and good, ideal) for a 16-year-old to see their friends' fashion preferences as more important than their parents'?

Even having a conversation about who her friends are, and why (or about motive, why you do things) might be better than what you're doing now ... especially if all you're saying to her now is reflected in your question here, i.e. if you're only saying "we couldn't wear short skirts so you mustn't either".


I am going to disagree with most of the other answers.

You're the parent. It's a sucky role, but you get to choose what you teach your child. You're 100% correct in doing what you did. That said, perhaps you picked the wrong battle.

Your job is not to be a cool parent, or even well liked. If you really feel that the clothes she was wearing were too revealing then your did the right thing. You gave an action and a consequence, you followed through.

Now that said, could you have handled it better? Sure. I personally would start by setting the rule, "No miniskirts at school. Knee length only" (if that's the rule); then when she broke that rule, taken all the clothes and locked them up. A kinda "grounded from your clothes" deal. I would have left the "correct" choices and let her choose from that.

Next on days or outings where the rule doesn't apply, let her access the full wardrobe again. It's Saturday, mini-skirts are fine.

Here's the thing though, you're the parent it's your job to decide what is ok and what is not. Some things warrant taking everything and burning it - for example, drugs. I don't care if you bought the pot, I'm taking it, and throwing it out. If you decide that shirt skits are in that category, then ok, specifically if you're in a community that also supports that ideal.

  • 2
    I don't really agree that short skirts warrant this kind of interaction, but your the parent, it's your call.
    – coteyr
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 3:23
  • "You get to choose what you teach your child" could be used to justify pretty much anything.
    – user7953
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 3:31
  • 1
    Yep, and that's how it works. While that can swing an oppressive way, it's also how society over time changes. Great example (though a bit rough) if we could only teach our kids popular values, then slavery never would have ended in the US, and no women voters. The freedom to teach your children unpopular ideas is core to the progression of humanity.
    – coteyr
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 4:13
  • Do you have anything to support your claim that the abolition of slavery or voting rights for women are linked to the "freedom to teach your child unpopular ideas"?
    – user7953
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 5:06

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