Check Your Child: 8 Tips for Keeping Your Daughter Off The Pole

March 30, 2012  |  
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You and your man may enjoy a lap dance from time to time or get a kick out of tossing dollars (ones I hope) to Rick Ross’ latest mixtape but, let’s be honest, you hope to God never to see your daughter on one of those stages.

Strippers may be objects of infatuation in our hip hop-driven millennial culture, but the dark cloud of filth and (assumed) promiscuity still looms over the “profession.” As a parent, undoubtedly, one of your goals is to raise a daughter of whom you can be proud—which means you also want to keep her off of the pole.

Keeping your daughter off the pole in today’s society requires more than it did 10, 20 years ago. So, here are few tips to help you get a head start as a parent myself:

Build self-security rather than self-esteem.

Although all of us were created equally in humanity, each of us has been blessed with various talents and attributes in different ways. Some women are more physically attractive than others and garner more male attention as a result. Others are more gifted intellectually. And, the women who we like to deem the really lucky girls appear to have both. It is critical to empower our daughters to be comfortable in the skin in which God created them—nothing more, nothing less. She was given a unique set of DNA to be herself. Unlike self-esteem, self-security does not focus on empty compliments and vanity. Rather, it about inner beauty and self-assurance that translates into confidence and magnetism instead of cries for peer validation. The amount of substantial compliments given should greatly outweigh the superficial. Highlight her knack for organization. Build up her ability to solve problems quickly. Those traits matter in the long run. After all, what does the pretty girl who places all value in what people think of her outward appearance have left over in the case of a physically-altering accident?

Turn off the TV…and the radio.

People aren’t just what they eat. We are also what we watch and hear, children in particular. Parents have a great deal of control on how and at what rate the thoughts and opinions of their children are influenced. Remain in control of that power and do not overexpose your child to what the media and popular culture have to offer.  Innocence is a good thing, especially in children. And, it does not necessarily translate as naiveté, either. Your daughter won’t feel deprived of things she is not made aware of. To the best of your ability, begin conversations on mature subject matter first. Don’t leave it to Nicki Minaj and Nickelodeon.

Talk about sex, early and often.

First and foremost, don’t ever call it “the talk,” because discussions about sexual behavior should be ongoing. From the time you give your daughter the language to describe her private parts you should begin laying the foundation for healthy sexual activity and relationships. Be honest and forthcoming using age-appropriate language and comparisons she can understand. The more she knows, the less enticing it may be to act irresponsibly.


Be the ear she needs to vent so she doesn’t feel the need to run elsewhere. Hear her out entirely before commenting or dishing out advice. Like you, sometimes daughters just want to talk and, in that, they solve the problem on their own. It is much easier said than done, but well worth the restraint on your part in the end.

Nurture her passions.

My mother always said “An idle mind is the devil’s playground and idle time is the devil’s workshop.” Now, give or take an (in your old church lady voice) “mmm hmm” out of there and you get the point. Keep your daughter involved in something, always. Every kid has a passion and it’s your job to help her nurture hers. That way, she has something to strive toward. And young women with goals are less inclined to make decisions that compromise self-respect.

Save friendship for later.

You are not your daughter’s friend, period. You are her parent—an authoritative figure responsible for training her to become a respectable young lady. With love and grace, it is critical that you separate parenthood from friendship in order to maintain balance in your relationship. There is a level of healthy fear children should have of their parents that they do not have for friends. A daughter who truly honors and respects her mother and/or father is less prone to partake in activities that would disappoint or embarrass them.

Teach her how to fail.

Failure is an inevitable part of life and it is important to equip our children to deal with it properly—to harness it as inspiration, ammunition. Life is not fair. Everyone is not equal. No one is entitled to anything. Teach her to persevere in adversity and she is less likely to whimper down Easy Street. Nothing great comes easily despite the way it may seem for some on the outside.

Say “I love you” too much.

You can never tell your daughter you love her too much. Give that validation of importance and value. As the parent, your voice has the most strength and it will ring between her ears for life.

LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and blogger whose work has appeared in the New York Times and across several popular sites, such as HuffPost Black Voices and the Grio.  You can visit her blog at or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.

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  • IMHO

    The pole is by far NOT the worst place for a young women to be. Yes that world can introduce them to even worse things but its not something to look down upon especially when they are doing at a means of support.

  • ACamGirl

    “Keeping your Daughter off the Pole”? I can fully understand that adult work is, in a parental point of view, not a favorable profession, but it’s not something that should be shunned. This article is good for teaching your daughter self confidence and such, but they should have titled it ‘Raising a Self Confident Girl’ or something instead of targetting striping and pole dancing. Sex is a natural part of life; if it wasn’t for sex you wouldn’t have a daughter in the first place! Just because someone strips off their clothing does not mean they are any less of a woman or they aren’t self confident, and it’s not a bad thing! Some women who work in the adult industry do it because they like it! They find freedom in their sexuality, and that should not be protrayed as bad! And if your child ends up working in the adult industry when they’re old enough, that is their choice and you should still love and be proud of them.

  • Pyra Obsidian

    Who cares when she is an adult she can do what ever she wants. Go out drink party have a wild time have sex with your partner or that stranger at the bar (from someone who’s grandmother was over barring and told me not to have sex will marriage. Well that didn’t work I was molested at 9-12 by a cousin molested by a class mate at 14 raped by that same cousin at 16 molested by people I thought I could call my friends raped by an ex. Be proud of you and your body but don’t hide it from the world. I wear what is comfy but not revealing and have sex with my fiance often)

  • Mushroom

    Goals do not always keep a young woman “off the pole”. My goals are leading me right to it. I will begin stripping soon so that I will be able to pay for college.

  • I love this article! But honestly the title may point to one issue but I don’t think that the advice is NOT limited to just pole dancing. Seriously, this is wonderful advice that can be applied to so many aspects of our daughters’ life including getting involved and/or staying in relationships with bad men.

  • Guest23

    now we just need 9 tips to keep your sons out of the strip clubs and it’ll be complete!

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  • wondertwin

    I get where the author is coming from. But I will say, self esteem issues aside, I have more respect for a woman earning her money stripping to support herself  and/ or children before accepting welfare.

  • kids are being raised not by parents but from friends, fb,twitter,youtube,mtv

  • FromUR2UB

    I disagree.  Self-esteem is regard for “self”.  A high self-esteem is first cultivated and nurtured by those who have the greatest impact on a child’s life, and then it sustains a person even when someone tries to tear him/her down with insults and abuse.  Once established, it’s not influenced by external factors such as other people’s whims, materialism or circumstance.  You think well of yourself when things are going well, and even though it can get a little bruised, it stays in tact when things go poorly.  

    Just as Chris Rock has described his mother as a “ghetto snob”, it comes from an unwavering understanding (or delusion, as the case may be) of who one is and what she’s about.

    • bilejones

      Self knowledge is of far greater value than self esteem.

      A great percentage of Americans have an exaggerated sense of the latter and non of the former.

  • Aliciacarter75

    Amazing Article!!

  • L-Boogie

    This is truly interesting.  I had a friend from elementary school who became a stripper.  She is an awesome person.  All I can say is that I would not participate in this type of career.  However, I am not quick to judge someone who does.  

  • You’d be surprised. Not all strippers come from broken homes, parents strung out on drugs, etc.. Some woman just enjoy taking their clothes off for a living. I know it’s shocking, but some strippers do come from good homes, nice parents. Stripping just has a bad stigma attached too it. A woman dancing and stripping for men isn’t the end of the world. It’s not the most ideal job, but you can’t really knock a woman’s hustle.

    • Mrsadkiah

      No I’m not surprised by your comment at all and I really don’t know why it’s hard to people to believe. It’s the same with prostitution; some women actually like having sex for a living. Not all of them have low-self esteem or come from broken or unloving homes. 
      Now this isn’t for me and I can’t really see myself doing this unless I had literally tried EVERYTHING else in this world and it failed. 

  • collegegirl

    To stop your daughters and sons from being exotic dancers is to be CONSTANT in their lives. I myself was a dancer for all the wrong reasons. My family were Christians but when my mother die (the glue of my family) everything went south including the family communication for the love and need of each other. I myself was 10 years old who was under the care of a 20 year old  (mind you that is still a baby ) I had to teach MYSELF how to grow because my sister was still learning herself.

    Basically my mother was not there; so I expected the adults (meaning aunts, uncles, and cousins; all hell even “friends”) to step up and teach me. So my theory is this, who ever the person might be rather its blood or not; let this individual know that they are worth much more than a $1,000/per hour making stripper or a butt shot model. The money is over hype and to get it you will have through hell and back just to have material things to “fit in” with the modern society.

    I’m glad to say that the Creator broke me that yoke from me and I’m currently in College (Junior year to be exact) going for media communication. I never thought that I could do this but hey the Creator works in wonderful ways.

    Best luck to females and males who are doing this but have their hearts set on something else.Its not easy stepping away trust and believe I know! And to others who NEVER dance…..please STOP the JUDGEMENT because NOT everyone grew up in a STABLE environment. its so easy to judge someone but to walk in their shoes is a whole different ball game!

    • FromUR2UB

      I know that grief can cause people to make some very drastic changes in their lives, but what were you seeking during that time?  Acceptance?  Validation?

      Just asking what I’ve always wondered.  If people are able and willing to articulate it, I’m always curious to know what motivates them.

  • Lemon Drop

    Good article. My cousin is a stripper. We both attended private schools and i chose to go attend college she chose to strip. She does not have any children so I really do not have any problems with her dancing. I am in medical school and I can see why people chose that route versus taking on the hundreds of thousands of dollars in school debt. The only thing stopping me now and stopped me back then from dancing (cause lawd knows I NEED the money) is the fear of my parents. They are old school. I am too afraid and I’m 26. 

    • FromUR2UB

      The only thing is – and this is something I used to tell my daughters when they were growing up – what if a person decides to move on to another profession or make a new life, and years later, this decision came back to haunt?  Before there existed the internet, people could just move to a new location and start over.  As long as there were no pictures that could be released, or they didn’t run into anyone who knew them during that time, they could forget about the past.  But there have been at least two actresses I can think of, who had taken nude pics before they became famous, and then after they reached fame, someone released the pics and it became a scandal.

      Now, with the internet and pictures that can go viral, it’s tougher for people to maintain privacy.  With so many people having access to pictures posted on the internet, they can float out there forever.  Your cousin’s decision to strip may seem like the best thing she could do today, but she doesn’t know where she’ll be 15-20 years from now.  She might become someone prominent, a respected member of her community, then boom!  Someone could find a picture of her stripping, or some guy who used to frequent the club where she worked, remembers her, and uses it against her.  Potential employers also use the internet to check on the backgrounds of applicants. 

      When wealth and possessions are lost, they can be rebuilt.  Lose a job, you can get another.   You can even replace a relationship with another.  But a good reputation damaged, is sometimes irreparable.  I just hope this doesn’t come back to bite her after she has moved on.

  • Leigh

    Dancing saved my life by providing
    me a way to go underground and hide from an abusive husband who was
    going to kill me. Stripping literally saved my life because I could make
    money to pay for my many reconstructive surgeries I had to have to
    repair my face, I was able to use a fake name and I was protected.
    Security at strip clubs are fabulous. I danced for 10 years and LOVED
    every minute of it. I had to quit when I did a trick on the pole and
    broke my back. I would go back in a heartbeat. I did not drink nor did I
    do drugs. It was a job and the men were not allowed to touch the girls
    and the clubs I worked in fired any girls who took money for sex or
    sexual acts. The world of strippers is one that is secretive and very
    misunderstood. Yes, there are the druggies, but most of the women there
    are dancing to put food on the table for their kids because they too,
    are hiding from abusing husbands/boyfriends. So please don’t judge a
    stripper until you have heard her story. Pawz up ♥

    • Toya Sharee

      I have mixed feelings about stripping.  I don’t knock it for other women, but I definitely wouldn’t want my child, mother, sister or other women I care about to resort to dancing on the pole.  At the same time, I understand some women feel like they have to do what they have to do, and regardless of whatever values you may posess, at the end of the day stripping is a legal profession which in it’s most basic form, doesn’t really hurt anyone.  I don’t think every woman who gets on the pole has self-esteem issues, needs to get high or is a bad mother either.  But I love the article and agree that these values should be instilled in all of our young women.  I especially love, “Teach her how to fail.”  Most often, women choose professions like stripping or video dancer because they don’t have much faith in any other routes to success or financial security.  They also often lack patience and determination which leads to thought process of “Why study and got to school and rack up debt, when I can make most people’s bi-weekly paycheck in a day?”.  When a woman has values, she understands that money and popularity really aren’t everything.

  • Ladybug94

    I read no mention of morals here.  The other things mentioned in the article were good but we have to teach our daughters morals, putting God first and staying in constant communication with them on what’s going on in their lives.  I have a friend who lets her daughter run all over her and she gets frustrated because her daughter won’t give her access to her social media.  Excuse me.  My daughter said mom I already know you won’t put up with that.  Parents need to ask questions of their kids and ask kids what kind of things their friends are doing.  You will be surprised, kids actually do want to talk to you about things.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      So women who believe in God don’t become strippers and atheist women do? Do you have some evidence to support this?

  • morrisdaya

    I love this article. Its important all of the values outlined. I came from a “good” , loving family but in my late teen’s to mid 20’s found myself dancing in strip clubs. (hey, the money WAS good)  and thankfully, because of my foundation, i managed to keep it as a job and not make it a lifestyle.  so let’s not look down on strippers at all because it is fun , ADULT ENTERTAINMENT,  but, too many girls get into it for not so good reasons and/ or with no strong foundation and fall into all sorts of crap.  This primer should help steer parents in the right direction for the good of us all.

  • Ash_Gwentrice

     I’m a 21 yr old college student at the University of Alabama, so far from having kids, but I absolutely loved this! Great article! Like many other commenters, I also didn’t rebel too much because of the morals my mother instilled in me at an early age. The key is to grab our young women at an early age. Don’t speak DOWN TO them, talk WITH them. These tips shouldn’t be just used for your children, share them with a young woman in your life that you care about and want to succeed. It’ll make a world of difference and keep them away from not only stripper poles, but half naked photo shoots, and becoming the latest cast member on 16 and pregnant! lol. Continue to spread the positivity ladies!

    • Ladybug94

      Keep up the good work young lady.  I agree with you.  My daughter talks to me about everything and will even come to me and asks questions about things.  I do check her cell phone and facebook page.  Yep, I do it.  I also check to see if she has addition FB pages under other names as a lot of teens do that their parents aren’t aware of.  I also talk to my daughter about choosing her friends wisely and about being a good friend.  As mother’s we have to be an example of how we want our daughters to be.

  • Dee

    Great article.. When I was younger I never rebelled or did anything crazy because I was so afraid of my mom and grandmother lord just the thought of the whipping and disappointment was enough to keep me on the right track. Now I see my 4 year old god daughter booty popping and all that but I can’t say anything because her mom thinks its ok

    • kim

      smh – friends! God bless em and u love their kids right?  All adults in a child’s life have some sort of influence – even a godmommy. Next time you’re out with her, let that child know that shaking her booty and dropping it like it’s hot whenever , wherever is not cute ! espcially for little girls. all kids want security and approval even though your not her mother you can still give both.

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  • Blythe Dhia

    These are just good tips for all women raising daughters.  Being on the pole is not the only way a woman can compromise her integrity.

  • Poetsgroove

    I always felt that the fear of God is what kept me and my sister from not getting into so much trouble when we were kids. That fear is what got both of us to be successful, law abiding citizens today. Now I can I have a nice friendship with my parents. 

    • Chloe

      I feel that is one of the biggest problems why so many kids are wilding out today — Kids No Longer Fear Their Parents like we did when we were growing up.

      • Agreed!! The other day my 5 year old son was having a temper tantrum, and he got way out of hand, kicking me, biting me, screaming at me… I was in public, and really unsure of how to handle his meltdown, so I tried my best to ignore him, then tried talking to him about why he was so mad. While doing so, some older lady nearby says (in a stage whisper, obviously meant for me to hear her) “Why isn’t she DOING anything about her child’s behaviour?” to which I politely replied, “Because the government tells me all I’m allowed to do is talk to him, and give him time outs. Trust me, if I was allowed to whoop his a**, I would.” Turns out she was an immigrant, and in her home country, if a child is acting like that, you would be considered a bad parent for NOT smacking their bum!! I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but here in Canada, Children’s Aid (CPS to most of you in USA) has most parents scared to even raise our voices to our kids, and I for one feel as though I have almost no say in how I raise my own child. I got whooped when I did bad things, and I turned out ok, I’m not traumatized or anything… These agencies need to learn that there is a difference between discipline and abuse, and the vast majority of parents out there aren’t abusers, just parents looking for a way to keep our kids in line… Sorry, rant over. 🙂

  • J A SASSY aka salon22w

    lap dances are nasty.. please dont grind your dirty butt on me.. no enjoyment to that!

  • i LOVE  this article, it influences females to not do what is trending thing to do… to keep your heads up high no matter what others say.  i applaud that and i am grateful for this article because it tells me that my mother and my father raised me right.

    • SweetT

      Can we please stop referring to women as “females.” We are more than just our anatomy; we are people with feelings and opinions.

      • cabugs

        Thank you Sweett. I honestly have never understood that either. I am a black woman who is an immigrant to the United States. I absolutely adore and respect Black American culture, however, I do not understand certain aspects of it – referring to girls and women as “females” in daily conversation is one of those things I cannot understand. “Female” refers to the anatomical/physiological compositions of our bodies (like you said), and just that. “Woman” or “girl” includes the ways in which we have been engendered within our society and the cultural values that go with that as well. 

        P.S. sorry I had to do this, but it just has always been a pet peeve of mine. Really, sorry 😛 I don’t like to complain.

        P.P.S. More importantly, great article! I do think the author makes a lot of good points here. I also want someone to please explain to me what the difference between “self security” and “self esteem” is. That is the only point I misunderstood.

        • guest

          I think she is using “self-esteem” differently than how most people use it. She is referring to self-esteem as a superficial kind of self confidence that is dependent on the approval of other people. Whereas self-security is confidence that comes from within yourself. You don’t rely on other people to make you feel good about yourself. 

      • FromUR2UB

        The word female is not used only to describe female genitalia, but is inclusive of the female sex of all ages.  

        But, this in interesting, because I wasn’t aware that anyone interpreted it only in that way…especially people of other nationalities.

      • Mrsadkiah

        THANK YOU! I swear every comment up until this one has referred to women simply as “females” and, unfortunately, it has become a trend among society today. Female can be any species, I am a female human, A WOMAN. Do not dehumanize women by simply referring to them as “females”

      • Gmarie

         This!!! We are women. not dogs, not bears, WOMEN.

  • Aocomega

    I came from a loving supportive family how ever my family was not financially stable. While in college and working I was presented the idea of dancing from a female who attended school with me. At first I resisted but I saw her dressing nice , cute car mean while I didn’t have a car and not making any money about $100 a week. I said well one night want hurt, I quit my job the next day $300 my first night. Most of the girls I know who danced this was their story. Yes there are girls who come from homes of no guidance but for the majority the reason for dancing is a financial step up. I think family should focus on support and building financial security so this life style want be an option

    • Caroneisha

      Just because your family wasn’t financially stable shouldn’t be an excuse. I’ve jus like alot of others have come from families jus the same or sometimes worst. But getting on a pole was NEVER considered. We worked our butts off to make it. Yes there was dancers pushing the idea, hell I have a cousin that strips. But that lifestyle didn’t move me, cause all that comes with it does not make up in the money that you get. And guess what we’re doing just fine with the things we have. Even though it may not be alot, I thank God everyday. Because I know that this struggle is only temporary, and there is much more in store for me and others like me. So as long as you got something in your head, and god in your heart. Honey there is NOTHING that you can’t overcome. So don’t sweat the small stuff, cause when your time to shine comes, you gon’ be blinding folks (lol). Jus keep your head up, and god bless.

      • Aocomega

        I shared my experience, yours and others may be different. And that is fine, I don’t regret dancing I made the choice to do so, my comment was to show that females who dance don’t all come from troubled unsupportive homes and that if we as a community come together and build more financially sound families this would not be an option. I have since graduated and doing well trying to build sound financial security so my feature children want be enticed by this life style.

  • FabienneDesrameaux

    As a younger girl I wanted to be a stripper not because I thought it would be cool but my family needed the money and I would get alot of attention from older men because my assest (mainly my a** Im still an A cup lol). The one thing that kept me from doing it was knowing that I was better than that. My mother taught me getting an education and generating success the right way was much more dignified. And today while strippers are the “IT” girls of this generation reminding younger girls the brutal truths of what stripping really is can keep ur baby from the pole.