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Being a "Big Sister"

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  carolinereinhart1 1 year, 5 months ago.

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So I have an issue.

I don’t have any sisters, but I know I’m something like a “big sister” to my younger girl cousins (two in particular, who are 15 and 13). We’re first cousins, each of us is the oldest sibling of our families, and we get along so well that we’re basically sisters. However, I sometimes feel a sort of responsibility to them whenever I see something that they need to change in their lives, kind of like any older sister should…right? But there’s one issue in particular: modesty.

For some reason, they ended up a lot different than me. We’re first cousins–how did we end up so different? How did they end up dressing so differently from myself? Is it because they both go to churches that are far less conservative than mine? Is it because their parents are truly that much less concerned than my parents? I just don’t know. But when I see them wearing really short shorts and low tops and, good grief, bikinis (we live in Florida), I almost feel that I need to say something. I’ve been taught to value my body in the way God values it, to view myself as God’s daughter and not as a product of the world. They, well…they haven’t. Or, they have, and they refuse to listen.

So my question is: how can I be a “big sister” to them and talk to them about this issue?

I care for them, and that’s why I want to talk to them about it. I mean, if they aren’t hearing it from their churches or even their parents, who else are they going to hear it from? Someone has to tell them about it. Someone has to let them know that valuing their bodies in a Godly fashion is important to a healthy Christian walk. And I feel like, as someone they love and trust to be honest with them, I should let them know. It has also come to my attention that I should make this issue my business; I feel the Lord saying, “Say something. Do something.”

I try to set a good example by dressing as modestly as I can, and not only because my dad would flip out if he saw me go out in leggings or booty shorts or a ridiculously revealing top. I dress like that because I value my body, and I understand the importance of covering myself, as I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. My cousins don’t because they don’t understand. It’s really hard for me to know that I get this concept, and they don’t, and that they don’t really have anyone else but me to confront them about the issue. And I don’t think that my example is rubbing off on them, because they’re surrounded by their church and school friends more often than me.

I particularly notice this issue when we go shopping together. The older cousin loves to shop at Hollister. Me? Not so much. It’s too dark in there, and it smells weird. Anyway, she always goes after the comfy super-short shorts and skin-tight jeans. Here’s how the conversations go:

Her: “Jess, you should get a pair! They’re so cute and comfy!”
Me: “I’m sure they are. But they’re too short/tight for me.”
“What? Are you kidding?”
“No. My dad wouldn’t like it.”
“Your dad really needs to lighten up on you. How old are you again?”
“Doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t wear those.”
“Come on, you’d look so cute in them!”
“I can make other things look cute. I’m not buying those.”
“Well, you’re not going to find any cute clothes if you don’t loosen up a little.”
“You’re full of baloney. I found the shorts I’m wearing now, and they’re cute, comfy, and dad- approved. Plus, I’m more comfortable in longer shorts.”

As you can see, I was subtly trying to say, “I’d rather dress modestly.” But, obviously, I can’t say that outright to her face. That would make her think that I think I’m better than her. And I’m not. I know that. No one is “better” than anyone else when it comes to topics like this.

What disappoints me is that she (nor the other cousin) hasn’t been taught any different. Their parents allow this, and their churches don’t pinpoint this issue because these churches are afraid to battle immodesty (I’ve been to both churches; you wouldn’t believe how girls actually dress to go to these churches).

I also feel that they’ll fight me with the argument: “Well, I shouldn’t dress a certain way because boys need me to. We should teach boys to not be so creepy. We should teach boys this, we should teach boys that…” At least, I know the older one will give me that argument.

This is where I begin to have an issue. How do I argue that question with the logic that you don’t dress for boys, but for God? That you don’t dress a certain way because it’s popular, but you dress in a certain way that will please the Father. How can I approach this issue and make them see that dressing for God is what we should strive for?

Here’s my ultimate question: as a big cousin, a “big sister,” how should I deal with this? Should I make it my business? I feel as if God is telling me, “Yeah, Jessica, it is your business, and you need to get on it.” But how do I do it gently? How can I do it to where they don’t feel like I’m judging them? Because I certainly don’t want to come off as “holier than thou” and make them feel inferior. Obviously, that wouldn’t draw them to dressing modestly.

Of course, I will be praying and seeking out what the Bible has to say, but I’d also like some advice from other Christian girls. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Has anyone else had to confront someone about this? I’d really appreciate any feedback you may have.

(Also, thank you for taking your time to read this far. I know it’s long. Ehehehehe.)

July 8, 2015 at 09:39


I think that what you need to do, first and foremost, is calm down. You are really scaring yourself. Next, you need to be honest with your cousins and try to explain. I think that reading them the post would help. It shows clearly how much you truly care.
Next, I would say to expect and accept retaliation or excuses. Be calm even when they are not. Rational and loving when they are not.
Lastly, if they don’t seem receptive, drop it. Modesty is important, but there are lessons that have to be learned alone. Your guidance and positive influence will help. Remember, though, they may feel like you are combating their values, so be patient and kind.
Also, explain what you think is too short or too high. In my family, pants need to be below my middle finger and leggings need too be covered with a long shirt, dress, or skirt.

July 9, 2015 at 00:15
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