Curly Kids- Kennedy

via Hairscapades

as told by Yutonya (mother)--

What’s your child’s name and age? Tell us a little about her.
Kennedy is six years old and loves, loves, loves singing. She sings in the morning, afternoon and evening. She hums in the car and has started asking for singing lessons. She loves her curly hair, but every once in a while wants to see what it would look like straightened, which it has never been. I attempted to straighten it one time with an In-Styler type tool and, ¼ way through, decided that I didn’t want to straighten it. I washed her hair and put it in a bun. I would like to say it was out of some purist ideal, but, truthfully, I think I looked at how much hair she had and saw the hours of pulling hair through that flat-iron and opted out.

How do you care for her/his hair? What products do you use, how often do you wash/condition, what techniques do you use (i.e., how do you detangle), etc.?
I co-wash her hair about once a week. I usually do this whenever we change hair styles. I shampoo about once a month. I detangle using my fingers and sometimes lightly brush the ends while there is conditioner in it if the ends get tangled. However, because she wears mostly protective styles, I find that I usually don’t have to detangle too much or use the brush. I have recently begun using olive oil overnight as a pre-poo treatment, only because she can now stand having her hair wrapped for the entire night. I use all Carol’s Daughter products on her hair. We have just started using the Monoi sulfate-free shampoo and Hair Mask from CD. Daily, we use the lite Hair Milk and the Hair Balm. The Hair Balm is a little thicker than the Hair Elixir, which is a very light liquid oil. Although heavier, we switched to the Hair Balm because the Elixir has a strong spearmint/woodsy smell and she would get so many comments in class that she smelled like tree or grass (in a good way) that I decided to switch. The two are very comparable with the same base ingredient of sweet almond oil. Lisa’s Elixir is definitely fragrant as are most of the CD products.

Do the same products that work for you work for your child’s hair?
Actually no. I have sisterlocks, which means I utilize very little products. But the question is interesting because, for the last year, my daughter has been asking me to take out the locks because she wants to see my hair. She can not recall what my hair looked like before the locks. I tell her that it basically looked the same. However, I wanted to go back to my natural hair as well. So, for the past two months I have actually been growing out my sisterlocks. As my locks are considered microlocks, I have just been growing them out and using braid outs to disguise the transition from the sisterlocks to natural. So far so good. Maybe for the next GOC I will post my pictures showing me growing out the sisterlocks. It is an interesting process.

But, back to the question, no we do not use the same products, but maybe soon. I primarily use Carol’s Daughter on Kennedy’s hair. I have managed to control my PJism and found that Carols’ Daughter’s products, although a bit costly, have all of the ingredients that I could possibly combine, mix, create or buy on my own or find in other products. I just find it easier to order online and try different products within that line. I save my adventurist side for trying new styles on her hair vs. trying new hair products. Her hair seems to respond well to CD products, so I stick with them, even when my bank account cries foul. Now, once I grow out my sisterlocks, my PJism will probably return full force, because I will personally want to try out every product under the sun on my newly free hair.

What is a typical style? Do you employ protective styles? If so, how often?
I predominantly employ protective styles. Kennedy basically only wears her hair fully out on special occasions, birthdays, etc. For school, protective styles last longer and withstand the rigor of elementary school. The two styles I always fall back on are the bun and my favorite, the single flat twist with bun. Once the bun is in place I always put a decorative bow or clip to match her outfit and also ensure that it doesn’t look so adult.

Kennedy loves wearing hair clips like her Aunt Shelli. Yes, Aunt Shelli of Hairscapades. Aunt Shelli’s October post on silk bonnets convinced her that it was okay to sleep with her pink silk bonnet to protect her head, and she does not complain when we put it on before bed. And she still asks for the two strand twists that Aunt Shelli put in her head during their sleepover. I think she has found her hair idol.

What challenges do you face with your child’s hair?
None really, because I truly like trying new hairstyles and accessories. She definitely also enjoys new hairstyles as well and has requested the Princess Leia on occasion or other hairstyles specifically. I would say the biggest issue is the distraction that the highly fragrant CD products caused her class. It was probably the combination of the hair products and the body products as we use those as well. LOL!

Have you ever relaxed/texlaxed your daughter’s hair? Why or why not and, if you relaxed her hair, what prompted the decision to return to natural?
I have never relaxed my daughter’s hair and express to her daily that she should appreciate and love the fact that she has beautiful curls. I also instill the same self-love in my son who says he loves his curls. I hope this will be enough to ensure that she does not relax her hair, but if she does, I can relate. Hair does not define all of who we are or will be and I myself have tried every hairstyle in the world from relaxed hair many years ago, braids, natural and now sisterlocks. And for the next GOC, I will go back to natural. Sometimes curiosity does not mean a lack of self-love, it is simply that, curiosity. I know many natural women who went natural simply out of curiosity and nothing more. I hear many also say they did it just because they didn’t want to go to the salon. All reasons are valid, real and worthy. So, would I prefer that she never relax her hair? Absolutely. But, if she does, I can totally understand it. I have scratched the curiosity itch many times and always came back to natural.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
We love Aunt Shelli and Uncle Weusi!

The Modified Girly Mohawk- A Tutorial

by Nik G of

My daughter has been asking for a mohawk for months so I decided to pull some inspiration from our Facebook page and give her a cute, girly mohawk updo. She absolutely loves it! I think it's an adorable style for little girls, especially with cute Spring dresses. Jazz it up with a bow or hair pins and you're good to go!

The style is actually very simple so I'll try to keep the instructions short.

Miss A's hair was previously moisturized and banded so her hair was already stretched out quite a bit. If you're not into banding, you can completely skip this step. If you don't know what banding is, please check out our Banding F.A.Q. post.

I began by parting the hair from ear to ear. I tied off the back so I could easily work with the top section. Using a metal rat tail comb, I made a slanted square. I tied off the middle section so I could cornrow the left and right sections. If you do not know how to cornrow, please check out our Cornrowing for Beginners post. Flat twists would look just as adorable. I didn't want too much going on with this style so I kept the cornrows pretty basic. Just going straight up the sides.

After cornrowing both sides, I untied the top middle section and parted medium sections of hair with my fingers. I grabbed a black ouchless band and loosely tied off about 8 sections. I two strand twisted each section and left them overnight. I untied the back of her hair and did the same thing. I knew she didn't need cornrows in the back because her hair is so thick so the little cinnabuns would have covered them.

The next morning I removed the two strand twists, leaving the ouchless ponytail holders in. I gathered each section and wrapped it around each ponytail holder. I used a bobby pin to secure each little bun. I tried to make the buns kind of loose. I wanted a really full updo.

As for products, I used Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer to moisturize and Bee Mine Curly Butter to style. We still have a reader discount code, good through the end of March. The code is BBBJAN for 10%

Don't forget to "Like" us on Facebook! You will find a lot more updates and pictures there.

CN says:
Cuteness overload. Perfection.

More Than Just Hair!

by Natalie Phillip via ThreeNaturals

When my daughter Trianna was born, she had a head full of hair. As she grew, the hair went in the opposite direction. Once she learned to move her head side to side, she developed that bald spot at the back as some babies do. Then she started pulling it out…just because. What wasn’t pulled out came out with something some babies develop called cradle cap. Being our first baby, we were clueless as to how to deal with these different stages. Let’s put it this way, after dwindling down to peach fuzz, she was then BALD. Yep…no hair.

I grew tired of people saying “He’s so cute!!” Then it was “She has no hair!!” I am going to be completely honest with you…I developed a complex. It was MY complex. She didn’t know any different. I realized what was happening and I had to stop it…in my own head. It was going to be okay! Was I being vain? Was I going to allow her (by my reaction and disappointment) to know that she was lacking something? I wasn’t going to do that to my baby. I had to get myself in check and show her by example where her true beauty lay. Her confidence needed to be based on who she is inside and I (being her mother) had to teach her that. So I had to get over it. I didn’t want it to define her or stop her from doing anything. She didn’t even realize how little hair she had until we look back now…and her confidence is still through the roof.

By her first birthday, it started growing back “very slowly”. I was anxious to braid, put in clips, hairbands and the like. I had one lady tell me not to worry because her daughter was also bald and eventually had a full head of hair. She was right…though it took a little longer, by three years old Trianna had hair and it’s now a full head of hair!!

She is now approaching her 9th birthday. When she sees people who knew her when she had little hair the first thing they say is, “She has so much hair now…remember when she had no hair?” It doesn’t phase her one bit and I love it.

Whether it may be something as simple as hair, fears, or bad habits…it’s so easy to pass on our own issues to our kids without realizing it. We always want better for them, but little do we realize that it starts with us as parents. Let’s do better, think better, and be the example of what we want them to be. Let’s make sure they are fully equipped with a confidence based on who they are on the inside and that their outer beauty only enhances it!!!

By the way…guess who had to encourage a lady the other day who was so conscious of the fact that her baby girl had no hair? I saw myself in this lady and I saw the disappointment as she tried to laugh it off. I was able to have this conversation with her and it felt awesome to help someone else. It’s more than just hair…go a little deeper…be a little stronger…the little ones are watching and they feel what you think is unknown.

Momma and Me- A Giveaway!


Gina C.

Thanks to all that participated! The pictures are beautiful!

Send me pictures of you and your little one(s) and share hair tips and advice for teaching your child to love and appreciate their natural hair!

Those who submit will be entered in a drawing to win a bottle of Cashmere Curls and Champagne and Caviar Curl Elixir! I'll pick two winners tomorrow at 5pm EST!

Submit to [email protected] with 'CURLS GIVEAWAY' in the subject line.

Good luck and thanks!

Natural Kids- Chloe!

by Shelli of Hairscapades

What’s your child’s name and age? Tell us a little about her.

My daughter’s name is Chloe and she will be 7 years old in March. She is so sweet, she cries at movies, she loves ALL animals and is a girly tom-boy *lol*. She loves makeup – Sephora is her fave, because of all the tools and makeup just begging her to put them on her face. We’ve wanted to get her modeling gigs, but I’m so leery of the people who take advantage of kids. Now she’s in the weird stage with her teeth … ugh, and she won’t stop smiling, she’s a jack o’lantern!

How do you care for her hair? What products do you use, how often do you wash/condition, what techniques do you use (i.e., how do you detangle), etc.?
No matter the style, Chloe wears a satin bonnet every night and sleeps with a satin pillow. Initially, it was because Mama did and she wanted to too, but then it made sense that a lot of what I was doing for myself would benefit her as well.

I wash Chloe’s hair twice a month with Tresemme Low Sulfate Shampoo or Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo. I co-wash her hair weekly with Organix Coconut Milk Condish, Aussie Moist, HH HE or the Suave Almond and Shea Butter Condish. I always leave some condish in her hair and then wrap her hair in a white t-shirt to get the excess water out. I then section her detangled hair and apply Giovanni Leave-in, Kinky Curly Knot Today or Shea Moisture DC (smells so good) to her hair. Then the products vary depending on the style.

I detangle Chloe’s hair by sectioning the nape from side to side (this hair has looser curls) and then parting the rest of hair in 4 sections. I use my denman brush, along with a spray water bottle, and work from the ends up and then, if I want to stretch her hair, twist or band the detangled section with Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In or BeeMine Curly Butter.

Do the same products that work for you work for your child’s hair?
Yes and no *lol*. Chloe’s hair is thicker than mine, so I have to use more product on her or just a heavier alternative. But, for cleansing and conditioning, definitely we use the same products.

What is a typical style? Do you employ protective styles? If so, how often?
Chloe loves her hair out and we’ll do a WnG. But, depending on the hold, we’ll use different products. For a softer, fluffier WnG, we’ll use crèmes, like Aveda Be Curly or Mixed Chicks (but these two are pricey for our budget). For a more defined curl with some hold, we use KCCC with the Knot Today, Elasta QP Feels Like Silk or Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel and last, apply a few drops of Organix Coconut Milk Shine Serum (love the smell).

For her ponytails, I use TCB Lite Hair & Scalp Conditioner. It looks like gel, but goes on like a pomade. No sticky or tacky feeling and has amazing shine and lays down her stubborn curls and wispies like no other. I’ll sometimes use the Feels Like silk on her ponytails, if her hair is out for a curly ponytail. I have to use rubberbands on her ends (I know, I know), but her ends will unravel with the “twist around your finger” move. I even bought the ORS Lock and Twist Gel thinking that would keep them together, but no luck.

We’ve even attempted a straight do, but Chloe’s curls will not be tamed and ’m not willing to burn her locks to try. I purchased the InStyler, then I use a heat serum on her hair (right now we have Carol’s Daughter Macadamia Nut Heat Protectant) and it does the trick, but within a few hours she has BIG HAIR. But, she’s happy and grateful for the hours she does have it straight.

I most definitely take advantage of the talented hair braiders whose styles last for 2 weeks and save me precious time in the AM!!! She loves the beads they put in her hair. I use Karen’s Body Beautiful Heavenly Jojoba Oil to lube her scalp or Palmer’s Spray Oil (I think it’s coconut oil) and alternate with Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk or KBB Leave-in to moisturize.

What challenges do you face with your child’s hair?
Chloe has a few textures in her hair as well as her hair grows unevenly! You can see that one side is curlier than the other when I do a WnG. One side will be on point and the other will be just ok *lol*. And that troublesome crown area is always dryer and has a mind of its own. The length of hair at the nape of her neck goes to her bum, but then her next “layer” will be mid-back! CRAZY, right? Well, I ignorantly had someone cut it up to mid-back (she wanted to try and cut it all even – she has layers that go up to her chin – heck no you ain’t cutting her hair even), thinking it would start to grow evenly. Well a year later, that nape section is to her bum again, but not the bulk of her hair. I’m concentrating on healthy hair, moreso than length with Chloe. But, I think I have to look at both.

How does your child feel about her/his natural hair?
Well, we live in a diverse community and Chloe wants to wear her hair out more frequently like some of her lighter friends. She’s even come home begging for a bang, this was in Kindergarten. Well, the AA community I grew up in didn’t even think of cutting bangs until maybe middle school!!! Her dad began to stress that his baby was getting grown and I had to explain to him that Caucasians get their little girls hair cut in bobs as early as toddlers; she is just expressing what she is seeing. I was just grateful she just wanted a bang and not the whole shebang, ok?! I pointed out to Chloe that her hair doesn’t want to stay straight when we InStyle it and her bang would just be a bush on her forehead if we did cut it and, after she finished laughing, she was ok with it. She’s more aware of her hair because of the attention that she gets when she wears it out, but overall, she loves her hair and thinks the shrinkage is really cool!

Have you ever relaxed/texlaxed your child’s hair? Why or why not and, if you relaxed her hair, what prompted the decision to return to natural?
No, I have never put a relaxer in Chloe’s hair and I won’t. We have so many resources at our fingertips as well as products that are just a website away that I just can’t see putting such harsh chemicals on her hair. She can make that decision when she is old enough, but hopefully she will appreciate what God has blessed her with and the evergrowing community of Natural Hair goddesses to relate to too!

Anything else that you’d like to add?
I think that this series/subsection of Hairscapades will be another resource for our curly families. One-stop shopping for moms and kids! I’m looking forward to reading other mini-hairstories and learning some new and better ways to maintain Chloe’s hair (if anyone can grant me the magical power of cornrowing, flat-twisting and parting, I’d be eternally grateful). Thanks Shelli for allowing us the opportunity – you are the *Tamar voice*.

Day Care Hair...

Jean asks:

Every morning I spend 30 minutes (sometimes more), twisting or braiding my 2 year old's hair. I gently detangle it, moisturize it, oil it and put it up out of the way so that it's neat and adorable. The problem is, when I pick her up from daycare, it's a frizz ball. A total, tangled mess. I have no idea what happens during the hours that I'm gone, but is there anyway to prevent this?

CN adds:
Also, how do you wrangle said child in order to do her hair in the first place? Short of using my thighs like a vice and piling up a million toys around her to keep her occupied, I'm at a loss! I can barely braid, and things get real messy when Gia's wiggling around like a worm on red bull.

Teaching Our Sons to Love Our Natural Hair

by Wendy15

I was about to do a braid out on my hair a couple of days ago and my 4 year old son came by and wanted to "help" which usually turns into a big mess whether it's in the kitchen or cleaning up. Yes, if he helps clean up... God help you... I hesitated before I said no though. It occurred to me that this was one of those "teachable moments". We focus a lot on teaching little girls to love their natural hair. But what about little boys. They will grow into men who love natural kinky curly hair and have daughters with kinky hair.

He said "Mommy can I help you?" I asked him "Do you like mommy's hair?" He said "Yes". I said "Mommy has kinky curly hair, do you think it's beautiful?". He said "Yes". That might have just been his distracted answer as he was combing through it at the time. So I kept talking. "I love my hair, kinky curly hair is very beautiful". He stopped combing, seemingly un-distracted now and says "Mommy I like your kinky curly hair, it's pretty". I thanked him for helping me and made a big deal of what a good job he did. It was a bit tangled by the time he was done as his little hands didn't have the technique, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I plan to have him help me more to teach him how to handle natural hair. When he grows up and gets married maybe he'll be the one teaching his little daughter or son about what I taught him.

Side note. I also have 16 year old who has watched me go natural. He asked me why girls put weaves in their hair. I told him that women have lots of options with their hair and weaves are one option. Apparently he sees a lot of girls as school with weaves and he's not too fond of it. He says some of them are badly done. I'm sure he has other opinions about hair, but I'm taking these opportunities to try teach my boys about the hair that grows out of the head of women, not so much to skew their opinion towards natural hair, but to teach them that natural hair is beautiful in its natural state which is different from what I learned when I got my first perm at age 7.

What are your thoughts about this topic?

Natural Hair Mommy Woes

by Angela of WiseCurls
WiseCurl Kid Little J

I'm not always the best natural hair mommy, I'll admit. More times than I'd like, WiseCurlKid Little J rocks her hair in a puff. It comes down and is re-twisted each night of course, but for the most part, that puff is there either laid to the side or posted strong in the middle. She loves it and it's an uber easy style to do for those hectic mornings getting ready for school. But when the puff has overstayed its welcome and it's time to do actually do some hair, the natural hair mommy woes commence without a hitch:

WiseCurl Kid:
• "Mommy, how long is this going to take?"
• "How many more do you have?"
• "Are you almost done, mommy?"
• "My back hurts"
• "My neck hurts"
• "Mommy, how much lonnnnnnggger!?"
• "Are you done, mommy? Mommy? Moooooommmmmmyyyy?!"
And then she has THE nerve to do this:

Jesus take the wheel!

I don't know what it is about a mom's hands, but shortly after a good wash, condition, scalp massage, and not even three braids in, little J is knocked out! Help me somebody! Sure, the interrogation has stopped, but a whole new set of natural hair mommy woes has set in:
• "Oh shoot! Can she breathe!? Please don't let me suffocate my baby!"
• "Am I hurting her ear?!"
• "Am I hurting her neck!?"
• "Is that....DROOL...on my leg!?"
• "My neck and my back! I need a backetomy!"

Finished Product

No matter how many times "keep your head still" is said or how many times I call her name, or even the drool she leaves after she's had enough during our hair session, the natural hair mommy woes are all worth it.

What are some of the woes you and your daughter share?

Passing Down Beauty to our Daughters

by Sherrell Dorsey of OrganicBeautyVixen

Playing dress up was my favorite game growing up. When playing had to cease I resented my mom for not allowing me to wear my Beauty and the Beast costume complete with plastic high heels and shimmery crayon-like lipstick out in public. I craved elegance, satin gloves and long curly hair. At 7 years of age my mom was standing in the way of what I believed I was called to be: a princess.

In the real world that my mom would have to bring me back to my inner princess had to be suppressed and the Mary Jane shoes frilly sock and jumpers, the awful bangs that always stood straight up on my head after a fight with my sponge rollers, and a white collard shirt were my destiny.

My mom didn’t care much for glamour as much as she cared about creating a classic look. I would watch diligently as she spread Vitamin E on her skin, filled in her eyebrows and completed her look with a gorgeous plum shade of lipstick (which I eventually would kidnap and cherish at school unbeknownst to her).

My mom taught me how to be beautiful by being me and walking with my head held high. She spent just enough time on her look to present herself well but not too much to discount what she always told me a woman was: honest, confident, intelligent, loving and in charge of her life and decisions. That to me is the beauty I carry with me each day.

For those of you nurturing the little ladies in your life whether as a mother, sister, cousin or mentor how are you feeding her subconscious ideas of beauty?

Beauty is a conversation, a lifestyle, a relationship first and then it is about how we present ourselves. Let’s pass this same philosophy down to our daughters who will watch us get dressed, listen to our advice and mimic our footsteps.

What rituals and ideals are you passing on to your daughter?

Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site, Jones Magazine, and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at and connect with her on facebook at

Are You Teaching Your Kids Good Eating Habits?

by Sherrell Dorsey of

I’ve come to the understanding that I eat the way that I eat because of my mother. She taught me how to have a full square meal with meat, lots of veggies and an occasional starch. I wasn’t allowed to have soda, too much candy or McDonald’s as a dietary staple. Although life wasn’t as fun as a kid when I had to eat at home, I’m thankful for what my mother was able to set as an excellent example for my eating habits.

Although I did have this great example, I couldn’t wait until the weekends to get to my god-mother’s house. The pantry’s were full of all kinds of goodness. Oreos, pop-tarts, kool-aid, chips and wonders and wonders of snacks that I would load up inches away from a sugar coma. It was heaven! To this day I always look forward to going over her house because I know I’ll find something good and sinful.

Unfortunately, with a cabinet stocked full of junk food, my younger cousins had cavities before the age of five and although they are pretty fit, I’m not exactly sure if they are getting the nutrition that they need. Not knocking god-mom, she always made a plate for anyone that walked through her door. Food in her house, like many of our homes and our relatives homes, was a symbol of love.

Now how do we turn this love into health? Here are a few tips for parents looking to help their children make healthier eating decisions to prevent diseases like “juvenile” (no longer called juvenile) diabetes and obesity:

1. Cook dinner at home – Whether you freeze pasta sauce or pre-plan your meals a week in advance, there is nothing like a home cooked meal that allows you to sit down at the table with your family. Make it a community event. Ask your kids to help you prepare the meal, grocery shop and learn where there food comes from. Believe me. They will appreciate the time spent together and know how to cook (unlike me who is still just learning how to throw down in the kitchen).

2. Stay away from fast food – If you have to get dinner on the go after along day of work and after-school activities, try to go for the healthier options like Subway sandwiches or pre-cooked roasted chicken from the grocery store and an organic bag of lettuce. All you have to do is put it on a plate and walaah! Instant grub and happy stomachs.

3. Let them choose recipes – Got a taste for something different? Spice things up by letting your kids choose a recipe and cooking the meal themselves. If they’re not old enough to cook in the kitchen, ask them what they want to eat, let them pick a few of your pre-chosen recipe options and allow them to be your official “helper”.

4. Host a weekly dinner – There’s nothing like a community dinner to get your food game on right. Every Monday night family friends host a dinner for folks at church. Everyone brings a home-made dish and joins in for laughs, love and good eating. Let people know you want the dinner to be healthy and folks will bring the best of the best. It will also take a load off of you having to cook everything.

How have you helped your child develop good eating habits? Please share your tips, tricks and even concerns on how to develop a plan.

Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site, Jones Magazine, and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at and connect with her on facebook at

Raising Children Who Think for Themselves

Do you think that children are born with the natural inclination to think for themselves?

I do. Early on, their instincts lead them to explore and express themselves without concern for how it will be perceived. Case in point, my one year old's most powerful means of communicating displeasure right now is to smack the source of her displeasure right in the face. We obviously can't tolerate that behavior as she gets older, so we are teaching her how to express herself with words. (So far, she still prefers smacking and screaming.)

We discipline our kids to keep them safe and also to guide their thinking to some extent, so that they understand how the world works. But what happens when they start to have opinions of their own? Sometimes, it's just plain annoying, right? Most of us were raised to be seen and not heard and to just do what we are told. So, I guess I expect the same thing from my kids. I have little to no tolerance when my kids attempt to protest or justify their behavior or when they try to negotiate when I've given them my final answer.

At the same time, deep down I admire their conviction. I'm not one to always speak up when I should, so I relish the idea that my kids have not picked that up from me. I want them to grow into adults who speak up for themselves. So, how do you nurture that assertiveness without creating an environment where your children are constantly challenging and questioning you?

As parents, we have undoubtedly experienced ups and downs in life and we don't want our children to repeat our mistakes. We're afraid of how they might hurt themselves if we don't tell them what to do and what to think. This micro-management may be appropriate for a one year old with a smacking problem, but for older children and teenagers, we just end up handicapping them. They must learn to problem solve on their own, to bounce back from mistakes and to accept consequences. They have to find their own truths. We are here to help them find their way, not necessarily to force them to go our way.

Consider the following:

"We need to realize the difference between discipline and thinking, disobedience and thinking, disrespect and thinking. Children are just people living through a smaller body. They must learn to express themselves, to understand who they are and grow into who they are through their own thoughts. Just because your children do not think as you do doesn't mean they are wrong."

Chime in! Were you raised in an environment that didn't embrace diversity of thought? How has that affected you? For those of you with children, how do you find the balance between teaching your children respect and boundaries while still encouraging independent thought?

Self-Concept Thursday!

lessons from the boogie monster.

by Leandra of

This past week gave me the rare opportunity to spend time with a toddler. It was a really affirmative and awakening experience. As I approach the end of my twenties, consideration to marriage and children has landed upon me quite startingly considering the slight opposition I had to them in my early twenties. It wasn’t a staunch opposition; mostly, I just didn’t quite see either for myself. For years, I’d say that down the line, I saw myself with children, but didn’t know how they got there. Lately, that’s been all turned around. Being a great mother and wife are very important to me, despite my singleness. I see myself in an amazing partnership with lots of love for each other and for our child(ren). Being 28, this change of heart isn’t unheard of, even if it did surprise me.

Last week, my oldest friend, Alicia, aka, Nikki, was in town for a few days with her daughter, Gia, and husband. We made arrangements for me to babysit oneday so they both could get some work done. This is New York City and most of my friends are single and childless; I don’t babysit often. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve watched a toddler by myself. Still, I was actually really excited.

I awoke Wednesday morning with a mere five or six hours of sleep, but up with a sense of duty: I need to trek it to Manhattan to babysit Gia. Because of her torso wiggle dance, they call her Boogie. I call her Boogie Monster. She doesn’t get the reference, but it still makes her laugh, which makes me laugh.

After four hours of watching Boog by myself, a friend stops by to tag team the babysitting process with me not long before Nikki and her hubby return. I spent 13 hours with her before going home and sleeping for 13 hours after that. The next day when I saw them, I joked that Gia was a higher human being who knew how to consume human energy, while the rest of us feeble humans needed food. Really, after that night, I gained an even greater respect for my friend who works mostly from home and has her daughter with her most of the time. Where does she get the energy? How does she have so much on her plate and make it work?

It’s always interesting to hear why people want to have children. One common reason is to teach, which is an imperative I can understand and relate to. What’s intersting, though, is that there’s so much to learn from children. One of the biggest epiphanies I’ve had came from observing this 13-month old child reaching for any and everything. Babies don’t know what’s good for them or bad for them, and they don’t care. Really, they want what they want. When you intercept and say “no, that’s not good for you,” they cry and have tantrums. Sometimes, it’s a wail of cry from deep down. They’re really invested in what they want and how dare anyone get in the way.

Then I thought about myself. When I don’t get what I want, I may not have a physical tantrum, but I may have an emotional one. My attitude can instantly turn pissy as I experience my fit of frustration. Just like a child’s. Just like a 13-month old baby. But I’m an “adult”. Acting quite similar to a child. Maybe what I want and don’t get is something I don’t need. Or something I’m not ready for. Perhaps what I really need is something I don’t want at all.

The Boogie Monster taught me that I need to grow up and be patient. As a baby, she’s allowed a phase for tantrums, but that period for me has long since passed. To purport to believe that everything has a purpose and then to act out because I don’t get what I want is incongruent.

As much as I like to fancy the idea of children right now, those 13 hours were pivotal in letting me know how much I’d like to get done before I have to make that sort of lifetime commitment. Children are amazing and as much as possible, I really want to be ready. And mature. Having the time, money, and energy to dedicate to implementing the vision of parenting I have is now of the utmost importance. I have to grow to grow up.

Can you relate? Weigh in!

Reasons Not to Relax Your Daughter’s Hair

by Sherrell Dorsey of

I mention all the time the Just For Me story that too many of us recollect. That dreaded moment of sitting in our mama’s kitchen saturated with the creamy crack waiting for the burning to begin before she would wash it out. A ritual that’s been practiced in the black community that has dire consequences I’m sure that if our mama’s knew then what we know now about chemicals, especially the harmful effects of relaxers, they would have skipped the kit and just given me my Cleopatra braids from the jump.

Thank God that we’re waking up as a community, going natural, teaching each other how to go natural and creating products that cater to our natural hair.

If you’re still not convinced to leave your child’s hair alone here are my top 4 reasons why you shouldn’t relax her precious mane:

You’re Lazy

Yes I said it. Parents that relax their children’s hair because it’s more “manageable” haven’t taken the time to learn what products and techniques can help them best maintain their child’s hair. Brands like Curly Q’s, Curls, Kinky Curly Kids, Mixed Chicks and Carol’s Daughter Princess Collection cater specifically to children’s hair. You can find detanglers, shampoos, conditioners, curl enhancers and everything you need to tame the “un-tameable”. If you’re not that interested or have the time to invest, do like my mom did and enlist the help of an auntie or hair salon.

It Can Kill Your Daughter’s Self-Esteem

When we relax our children’s hair, what is it that we are really saying to them? That your hair is so bad we have to completely change the texture! Why isn’t it cool for them to rock their afro loud and proud? I officially went natural the first time in elementary school. I rocked twists and braids and you know what? I had more hair on my head than most of my friends with relaxers. Being of African decent we should be proud and honored of what grows naturally from our head. Not change it to fit into a European image of beauty. Think deeply about your own subconscious ideals about beauty before you make an impact on your little princess.

You’re Exposing Her To Long-Term Health Effects

We all know that relaxers no matter if they’re made for kiddies, no “lye” or olive oil. They are still toxic! Not only do you risk scarring your child’s scalp but there have been studies linking long-term use of relaxers to breast cancer in African American women who’s products are dominated with estrogen-containing chemicals. Please tell me: Is it worth it?

You Could Ruin Their Hair Before It Get’s A Chance to Grow

Kids are still new to the world with their skin and hair being very fragile. Adding chemicals to their hair at a too early age can damage their fresh new hair. Just like braiding too tightly. Let your child decide at an older age if they want to go the relaxer route but don’t press it when they’re strands are already delicate.

Remember, you can always straighten her hair and allow her to rock different looks. Instill in your daughter early that there is nothing wrong with her natural hair and she is beautiful in all different types of styles.

How do you feel about the child hair relaxing issue?

Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site, Jones Magazine, and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at and connect with her on facebook at

Show and Tell- The Curly Baby Edition

Hola Chicas,

It's that time again... a virtual play date to celebrate the beautiful, curly babies in our lives! Click on the images to enlarge them:

My sons Landon (5 years) and Chace (2 years). I style their hair with water and Shea Moisture's Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie.
This is Madison rocking her first wash and go with Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme.
Twist Out, Fro'd Out
Meet my 1 year old son Dorian. Here he is playing right before his 1st Birthday Party! His hair is finally growing back from his cradle cap. On his hair I use Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head-To-Toe Wash & Shampoo and coconut oil.
Here is my daughter Teya on her first day of Kindergarten! She wanted to wear a twist-out so I moisturized her hair with SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, sealed it with some Wild Growth Light Hair oil, cornrowed the front half and added beads and set the twists with Jane Carter Wrap and Roll. She loved it and couldn't keep her hands out of it!
Here's my 7 month old, Liv, rocking a frohawk. I use a water and coconut oil spritz on her hair.
My daughter Jamiah (8) at her mother and daughter breakfast with fresh twists. I used the Design Essentials line (shampoo, conditioner, leave-in and stretching cream).
This is my 3 yr old daughter Adriana Bella
We were taking pictures while she was brushing her teeth :)

Plenty of sunscreen - making sure she doesn't get burnt :)

Send in your favorite picture with a caption (complete with product recommendations) to [email protected]

I'll post several every other Friday, in the order I receive them.
Be sure to use 'Curly Baby' as the subject line! **We need more ASAP!!!**

Curly Tweens: Overcoming the Pressure to Straighten

by of

Soon enough, your curly pre-teen will be stepping off the bus, asking if she can borrow your tools, and then begin to straighten her hair. Or, maybe she already has tried to do just that due to some new peer pressure from friends or schoolmates. If either of these is the case, and you want your child to stay naturally curly, choose the path of least resistance.

Middle school years can be even more challenging than those of high school. Why? Children, pre-teen children, are usually exposed to a little more independence in school at this age. They are given some space to grow, not to mention there are some major chemical and physical growth changes during these years, too!

Some kids will go wild with their newfound space, while others will take baby steps to test the waters. Most of all, kids want to see what they are capable of doing with the challenges offered to them on a daily basis.

Straightening her hair may be just one of these challenges. Your child may be bothered by some girls who stare at TVs and glossy magazines portraying straight-haired models, and will want to fit in. Forget homework, they’re looking at the slickest, straightest ‘do Angelina Jolie is rocking.

If your child begins to ask for hair straightening tips, be prepared and don’t put up a big fight. Remember, the path of least resistance is going to take you the farthest.

  1. Think back to when your child was just 5 or 6 years old and you said, “Don’t open the frig,” or “Don’t use this by yourself,” or, “don’t (insert absolutely anything here).” All it takes is the word “don’t,” and they will do the opposite of what you say.
  2. Sit down with your daughter before you pull out the absolute, “No way!” Ask her why she wants to do this, where learned about it, why she thinks straightening is a good choice. She’s getting older, smarter and more curious. Have an older, smarter, more curious conversation with her.
  3. Let her know that, like a lot of things at this point in her life, straightening can be considered an “experiment.” Tell her about the pros and cons, and help her list them out. Maybe she wants to grow her curls out some more? Maybe a new curly haircut would show off her curls a little better? Does she want to try out some new headbands or fancy clips? Show her photos or websites of famous actresses and models—all sporting their curly locks. Find quotes from icons she may look up to who talk about beauty and making good decisions. Then, allow her to make her decision.
  4. If she gives you some good reasons or you simply just feel like allowing her to try straightening, then do so, with some help. It may be hard to be mom and hair stylist at the same time, but it could be fun for both of you to try on a new role!
  5. Remind your pre-teen that she should protect her hair whenever she uses heat. Help her choose the right heat protection products for her natural hair. You can play the role of “teacher” too by showing your child what happens to hair when it has too much heat, or heat damage. That’s right, pull out those pre-big chop photos!
The Curly Pre-Teen Experiment!

“I get so many compliments when I straighten my hair,” says Alexis, a 13-year-old middle school student. Alexis has just started learning about straightening her perfect curly locks. Her mom is not happy.

“I don’t know why she needs to do this. I tell her how beautiful she is with the curls she has and how just about everyone on the planet would kill for her curls.” says Alexis’ mom.

This interaction is a pretty common pattern between pre-teen curly girls and moms, everywhere. So, as part of an experiment, some of Alexis’ peers, teachers and instructors told her that her straight hair was “different,” instead of pretty. They used the terms “pretty,” “cute,” and “beautiful” for descriptions of her appearance and her clothing, but to her straight hair, only “different.” They commented on her “different look,” and how did Alexis respond?

“I like when people say I’m pretty, but they said I looked ‘different,’ and I thought it really wasn’t worth all of the time I spent straightening my hair just to hear that.” said Alexis.

Since then, Alexis has done a lot less straightening and spent a lot more time on other things she actually enjoys doing, like dance class and yoga.

Everyone loves a compliment, whether you’re a preteen or adult. But if your child can get past the compliments, which are really only words, and rely on her own decision-making ability and build her confidence, rest assured that straightening her curls may not be on the top of her priority list.

It’s a tough one, but it can be done.

Show and Tell- The Curly Baby Edition

Hola Chicas,

It's that time again... a virtual play date to celebrate the beautiful, curly babies in our lives! Click on the images to enlarge them:

My adorable Buddha. She was 9 months in this picture.
This is my 9 month old son Henry Jr. rocking his curls. I shampoo his hair with Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo every other week and hydrate his curls daily with coconut oil.
Christian on her 1st birthday rocking her bush. She even picks it out herself.
Chantelle at 8 years old, attending her 2nd grade awards night.
This is a braid-out that was done with my version of Kimmaytube's leave in.
Here is a pic of my 7 month old Zoe, although she was only 5 months at the time. We had just came home from church and she looked so cute. Love the site, thanks for all the great information.

Hey Nikki! This is my baby Scarlett. She just turned one. This picture was taken after I took her twists out.
Me and my baby sister Destinee on an early morning both loving our curls.
Jemar is 5 and currently sporting a mohawk and Jehaan is now 7mos.(pic @ 5mos) she just started growing her hair back, she had really bad cradle cap. I use coconut oil (its great for cradle cap) water and EVOO on them both and I also use Hello Hydration conditioner on Jemar to help detangle.
This is 2yr old Loliah after I removed her braids. No product in hair for this photo, but we love Cantu Shea Butter leave in conditioner!
Crmy Coco
My son Julian and his Kinky Curly Twists!
Here is my 2 year old out to play. She is rocking a week old twist-out, but I think it's still cute. I use Nature's Gate Aloe Vera Moisturizing conditioner, a blend of water, olive oil and castor oil on her hair. I twist with shea moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.

Send in your favorite picture with a caption (complete with product recommendations) to [email protected]

I'll post several every other Friday, in the order I receive them.
Be sure to use 'Curly Baby' as the subject line! **We need more ASAP!!!**

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