Check Your Child: 8 Tips for Keeping Your Daughter Off The Pole
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 lashaunwilliams.com or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.
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