Strippers pioneered pole dancing as we know it today, and we will always acknowledge and honor their contribution to our sport. Unfortunately, our history can make some people uncomfortable discussing pole dancing with their children due to marginalization and stigmatization. Some even go as far as to say it’s an inappropriate sport for children.
However, if you put the same outfit on a kid and turn the pole sideways, we call it gymnastics. Perform similar moves with the same music minus the pole, and it could be aerial or rhythmic gymnastic moves. Call it a firefighter pole, but there’s a pole you can dance on at nearly every neighborhood park. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it should never be a barrier between you or your children and dancing. Take these steps to normalize dancing and have open discussions with your children:
Don’t Hide It
Whether you dance for exercise, to express yourself, to feel sexy, or for all of the above, you shouldn’t hide it. When you keep it separate from your children, it can make you feel ashamed or send a message to them that you are ashamed of it. It can be an uncomfortable subject, so you shouldn’t share it until you are ready. But if you normalize it, your children will understand that it’s a safe topic. They will also know that you’re a source of accurate information when they have questions or issues surrounding pole dancing.
Children are smart and naturally inquisitive; if you don’t share this aspect of your life with them, they may become curious and seek out answers elsewhere. You may want to be the gatekeeper of information instead of leaving that to a stray Google search or a discussion at school.
If it comes up, you can explain the differences between pole dancing for fun and exercise and stripping as a profession without stigmatizing job choices. There are differences between how and why you and strippers use the pole. But again, you can control what you share and when you share it with your children to your comfort level.
Keep It Fun
You can introduce your kids to pole dancing by giving them a demonstration or showing them some YouTube videos or TikTok. They can contrast beginner videos with more advanced, complex routines. If interested, provide them with a beginner challenge and teach them how to execute it safely. They will realize pretty quickly that it’s not so easy, and everyone needs a lot of physical strength and willpower to perform the dance moves properly. If they take an interest, don’t forget safety and invest in some pole knee pads to protect their growing joints.
Highlight The Benefits
If you’re getting pushback from friends and loved ones, or your children still don’t quite understand your passion, talk about the benefits of pole dancing:
- It Helps Develop Strong and Healthy Bodies: Just like other sports, it will help build muscle, foster flexibility, and encourage coordination and body control, among many other health benefits. Whether you or your children are participating, it’s setting an example of fitness and caring for your body regardless of age.
- You’re Providing Positive Socialization: Whether this is a hobby you engage in as a family at home or something you do at a child-inclusive pole studio, you encourage socialization and strengthen relationships with your children through dance. They will look back on the time they spent with you and their classmates fondly. Pole is an incredible, positive, and uplifting community that will teach your children about inclusivity, self-love, and building each other up.
- It Boosts Self-Esteem: Mastering new moves and building upon your skills will always encourage confidence. Whether we want to admit it or not, we care about how we look, and pole dancing helps us look good. It’s not all about appearances, but it does help your self-esteem and feelings of worth. Talk about how you feel when you put on your pole dancing outfits; it’s good for kids to see you taking steps to feel empowered.
Remember, It’s An International Official Sport
Help your children understand pole dancing is a sport, like soccer or football, requiring practice, skill, and concentration. There are international pole sports federations that bring together and celebrate athletes around the world. There’s even discussion that pole dancing can be part of future Olympic Games. Pole dancing has women’s and men’s categories and master’s competitions. It’s a sport for every body, with pole exhibitions and competitions for people with special needs.
Show your children the broadcasted competitions or attend an event live if you can. Pole dance is constantly evolving; change can continue by educating your children about what the community offers.
Children haven’t learned to be closed-minded like some adults can become. They have a refreshing, light openness when discussing things like pole dancing. They are products of their environment, and you have the power to positively influence their view of pole dancing with proper exposure and introductions. Normalize this amazing art form and exercise for your kids without looking down on specific community groups because of how they utilize their skills. Pole can be whatever you want to make of it.