Saturday, June 18, 2011

Natural Hair Discussion: Dreads on Children, yay or nay?


Until recently, I didn't know children with dreadlocks was so common. I was on Facebook and stumbled across and natural hair page filled with pictures of children with sisterlocs and dread locs or locs. While the styles were cute and the children seemed to love their long hair; seeing children with locs made me uncomfortable.

Although, locs are not the same chemically as a relaxer, the style is still in many ways just as permanent. There are currently only 2 ways that I know of to get rid of locs. You can comb locs out, which takes days and may even take weeks depending on the size and quantity of locs the person has or you can grow them out and cut them off. Neither one of these sound appealing when it comes to children.

www.etsy.com/shop/KeraVadaI simply think dreads are too much of a "permanent" style for children. Teens and young adults are a different story because, they can actually voice their opinion and have the ability to sit down for however long it may take to comb the locs out or re-twist the locs.

Another startling thing about locs is some (please notice I said some) people believe the only way their hair will grow is if they get locs. I know of quite a few people who have gotten locs because, they weren't able to properly care for their natural hair in it's loose state. Could people be applying this same concept to children? Yes, they could and I think locs, as I said earlier, is too much of a "permanent" style to just slap in your child's head because you don't know how to care for their hair.

Let's also not leave out the maintenance aspect. Dread locs or traditional comb or rolled locs are simply tighted or refreshed by re-twisting the root. This process can take hours, that's too long for a young child to sit and get their hair fixed. I have seen locs on children as young as 3! They might like the end result but, I know they aren't enjoying the process. I'm not even going to talk about sisterlocks....those definitely take too long to put in.

The bottom line? Locs in my opinion are for young adults/teens and adults. Not for children. The maintenance and take down is just too much for a child. For the record I feel the same way about microbraids, weaves, and some braided styles.

What do you think? Dreads on children, yay or nay?

I got a "Yay" from Q here is her comment:
"I say yay. It def depends on the child. My 10 year old has them and she loves them and so do I. It wasn't a decision made on a whim either. We talked about it, she talked with my friend who has locs, we looked up info online and I told her it was permanent and she wouldn't be able to wear her hair straight or in styles like her sister. Her response was, "that's okay, I like being different." She comes to me all the time and tells me how much she loves her locs. She's even learned to style them her own. I think the decision should be well thought out and discussed but I have no regrets and neither does she. Actually she smiles when she has to watch her sisters endure the wash, condition, detangle and style process because she doesn't have to endure all of that. The hardest decision she has to make is whether or not to do curls or let them dry straight. Q"


After reading her comment, I can see how having dreadlocks can be a great choice for some children. Seems like her daughter enjoys the locs and she showed me a few pics and her daughter's hair is so adorable!

Thanks for your perspective Q!



14 comments:

Mike and Katie said...

Some one suggested locs for Amanda. I felt the same way. It seemed too permanent. I have considered it for Christiana because her hair is a different texture and she's a different kid. But after my research, what rang in my mind was the statement someone made about dreading your child's hair without having experienced dreads yourself. Experimenting on my child seemed wrong. Besides my hubby doesn't like the look.

I do think well done and well cared for dreads can be very pretty and vesatile.

Queeny20 said...

I say yay. It def depends on the child. My 10 year old has them and she loves them and so do I. It wasn't a decision made on a whim either. We talked about it, she talked with my friend who has locs, we looked up info online and I told her it was permanent and she wouldn't be able to wear her hair straight or in styles like her sister. Her response was, "that's okay, I like being different." She comes to me all the time and tells me how much she loves her locs. She's even learned to style them her own.

I think the decision should be well thought out and discussed but I have no regrets and neither does she. Actually she smiles when she has to watch her sisters endure the wash, condition, detangle and style process because she doesn't have to endure all of that. The hardest decision she has to make is whether or not to do curls or let them dry straight. Q

DIY Hair Care Blog said...

@MikeandKatie- I feel similar. I think you can handle C's hair. I do think it may be a challenge but, with the right amount of knowledge I know she will have some nice healthy hair!

Mama Violet said...

I say yay. Probably because my 9 month old has a few freeform locs growing. My hubby and I both have locs and want the same for our child. We hadn't planned on starting locs for her we're just letting her hair do what it wants to do.

DIY Hair Care Blog said...

@MamaViolet- 9 months?! Well, I respect that. I guess to each his or her own. Since, you have locs I'm sure her locs will be fine.

*My Healthy Hair Journey said...

Yay and nay...

Yay because childhood is a time to experiment and even though locs are very high maintenance, I believe the are still simpler to care for than long loose hair. I`m sure busy moms would benefit from that.

Nay because locs are notorious for talking out the hairline. Not everyone with dreds experiences it but many do. So thats probably bad for the child`s growing follicles

I`ve seen a lot of cute kids with dreads...my little cousin had them. I know a teenage girl with tailbone length dreads and they fit her style perfectly.

LaNeshe said...

I guess it depends on how young the children are. Both of my boss's kids have locs, and they requested them, because their dad has locs and their mom use to have locs, she's not a short lose natural. Because it is such a permanent style I think children should be at least old enough to request the hair style.

Lock University said...

A definite yay. i see too many small kids with alopecia at a very very young age because they spend most of their childhood in micro braids and fake pony tails. The parents don't want to "deal" with their natural hair. Other alternatives are relaxers which many parents turn by the time their kids are teenagers. Relaxers have to be cut out, but locs on the other hand can be taken down. Locs are a nice option because they are attractive and very flexible.

aisha king said...

I say yay. My 7 year old has wanted them as long as can rember. No one in her family has them but her godfather. Well i kept putting it off and she never let it go. So we decided she knew they were permanent she knew the long upkeep process and she still wanted them, so we let her get them. She loves them. I take her to natural meetings and everything. I think it's a great idea but should be a decision made by the child and parents together.

aisha king said...

I would say yay because my 7 year old has them. She has wanted them forever and I nor her sisters have them. I kept putting it off and she kept asking. Her texture of hair is VERY curly so the locs just worked out perfectly. She loves them and doesn't mind the upkeep process. She also styles them herself. It was all her decision and her father and i just agreed once we knew she was old enough to understand they are permanent.

Kalena said...

Yay. My now 6 year old daughter asked for local for a full year until I went ahead and locked her hair at 3. She loves them and ask any little girl to choose 90 minutes in one sitting versus 45 minutes every day and they'll probably choose once per week. She has no qualms with having to cut them off and that makes me happy knowing my daughter is not attached to her hair. I have locs too. I'm hoping she cuts them in middle school to have her teen years to experiment with natural hair styles. Good article. Great points, just contributing my 2 cents.

Brit said...

I say yay. 1. I have had dreadlocs on my own hair, so I know what it's like to have, comb out, and to cut them out.2. You do have to take the child into consideration and if old enough (I would say 4) let them voice their opinion. My autistic 8 year old sister has kinky hair and cries and screams when getting it done literally because the slight tugs on her scalp and the sound of the comb going through her hair scare her. She does however love looking in the mirror at her pretty hair when it's finished - tears, red eyes and all. So, for her, locs are a great idea. It rids us of the need to comb her hair (which takes hours) and allows her to still have the long flowing braids that she thinks are pretty (granted they'll be locs now but you get my point). Everyone really needs to look at their child and decide if the benefits would outweigh the negatives because EVERY hairstyle has negatives. And yes, combing them out will take a very long time if she ever gets to a point where she can decide to do so, but it's really not something that has to be done all at one time. I literally took a week to comb out my 89 locs and I was able to go to worked, hung out with friends and just did normal daily things while in the midst of the process. I didnt feel ugly because I took the time to strategically take down and then style my hair according to where I was in the process. So to any parents still considering it, it's mostly about whether you have the patience to put them in, the patience to comb them out, the patience to help your child through the 'ugly phase' where everything is poofy and kids may make fun of them, if you can handle the amount of drying time and wash time needed to keep them clean, and if you can keep them well maintained so that their teachers dont complain about their hair being a 'distraction' in class. Since you are parents, I would hope that all the issues of patience wouldnt be a problem seeing as thats needed to be a good parent. Otherwise, I would go as far as saying that if you dont want to 'deal' with your childs hair, they shouldn be in locs. End of discussion.

Brainssidekick said...

Permanent , is such a hard word when it comes to hair....might as well put it in the same category of parents ear Peirce , eating habits , and religious beliefs. ...all chosen by the parent. . But at a certain age the child gains a voice abd chooses thier path...

My daughter has been locd since 2, not by lack of knowing what to do with her hair or wanting her to be like me.....i realized how devastating the process was for her and on me! Lol... Shed cry scream and she eveb tried to cut it off.... That day was the day i put in box braids if her hair and never took them out......once every 3 weeks i do her hair and it takes about 45mins wash n style....and the stress level is at a 2 ...because who really likes there hair done? Lol...

Though i made this decision, i occasionally ask her would she like me to comb them out, or cut them.....her response " do not comb my hair it hurts, i like my locs"....at one point she wanted "straight" hair...and i said ok and began to comb ...and she nearly had a break down lol....

So yay, for the right child, nay to it being time consuming and permanent and a cop out..

Brainssidekick said...

Permanent , is such a hard word when it comes to hair....might as well put it in the same category of parents ear Peirce , eating habits , and religious beliefs. ...all chosen by the parent. . But at a certain age the child gains a voice abd chooses thier path...

My daughter has been locd since 2, not by lack of knowing what to do with her hair or wanting her to be like me.....i realized how devastating the process was for her and on me! Lol... Shed cry scream and she eveb tried to cut it off.... That day was the day i put in box braids if her hair and never took them out......once every 3 weeks i do her hair and it takes about 45mins wash n style....and the stress level is at a 2 ...because who really likes there hair done? Lol...

Though i made this decision, i occasionally ask her would she like me to comb them out, or cut them.....her response " do not comb my hair it hurts, i like my locs"....at one point she wanted "straight" hair...and i said ok and began to comb ...and she nearly had a break down lol....

So yay, for the right child, nay to it being time consuming and permanent and a cop out..