Weave for a Toddler?

Originally posted at BVHairTalk.com.

As an adult, you’re within your rights to get just about any kind of hairstyle you want. Braid it up, loc it up, relax it, get a weave. Whatever makes you happy, go for it. But what about when you’re a kid?

I’ve asked the question before, and I must ask it again: How young is too young for a certain kind of hairstyle? I ask, because this clip from popular TLC reality show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ — via Clutch Magazine — left me feeling all kinds of disturbed.

For any of you who don’t have video, 3-year-old Kayleigh gets a sew-in weave from her grandmother Joyce.

“This is the first time we’ve done this, we normally do hair pieces,” she explains as the little girl squirms and says “that hurts.”

“Kayleigh, she doesn’t realize it, but she’s a diva in training, and she’s very vain,” her grandmother says, and Kayleigh rebuts, “I’m not a diva, I’m Kayleigh.”

At the end of the clip Kayleigh says “My hair is longer. I look pretty.”

I can’t help but wish that she felt that way before she was wearing makeup and a weave. At three years old. And I can’t help but lament the things we’re teaching our children to believe at such an early age. But that’s just me.

What are your thoughts?

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Comments

  1. That is extremely disturbing. I have always been against children wearing make up. That is simply wrong. The Grandma seems to believe that she’s doing right by her Grandchild. Videos like this make my blood boil.

    • I totally agree! this is child abuse! How canyou instill this self-loathing behavior on a “baby”! What next? Skin bleaching/ Please stop this madness!

      • Shawn L. Williams says:

        Unfortunately, this “self-loathing” is deeply imbedded in the culture of African America. It’s more shocking to watch this indoctrination in process especially with a three-year old child. When adults do it, it is no less an example of “self-loathing.” In fact, Grandma is passing down what had been instilled in her. We need some serious re-education.

    • i agree she thought it was cute to post a video and pictures on this site and google. where the mom when you need. i understand that the girl doesn’t no any better because she is only three years old. some people should appreciate ,and be grateful that they even have hair on there head. some people who don’t wish they had. There is nothing to be a shamed of no mater how much hair she have. she is still a little girl at the end of the day. she needs to get a education which grandma over there doesn’t have one yet. she has been taught that its all about beauty ,and that she is not good enough and she needs to alter herself to be beautiful. i pray for her god bless her.

  2. That is just terrible! I’ve seen way too many young kids with extension braids. The little ones are starting off life with edges like Naomi Campbell! I can only imagine what this child is gonna be like at 10 years old. Her grandmother is setting herself up for a huge headache. Why can’t they teach her that her hair is find just the way it is? 3 years old is entirely too young!

  3. My daughter who is 14 has not been allowed to straighten her own mixed race hair. She has begged. Instead I have bought her books and special products geared for her hair type so that she can learn to style it herself. That has helped a little but with the constant pressure all around her it has not been easy. So sad that this little girl is being taught self hate at such a young age

  4. Michelle says:

    *sigh* At 3 yrs old this is disgraceful! Already she is being taught that she is not good enough and she needs to alter herself to be beautiful. I pray that I am able to teach my 2yr old that she is indeed beautiful, just the way she is!

  5. This story is disturbing! I wonder how many books has she bought this child to learn to read. The child is beautiful without someone’s hair from India on her head. May God continue to bless her.

  6. I’m sick to my stomach and my heart aches for that baby. The whole show is based on adorning these children like adults for pageants and the irony is that the parents don’t seem to spend any time on developing the girls as people instead of showpieces.

  7. Wow!

    I am against chemical treatment and hair alterations on children under 12. My mom did her best to have us embrace our hair and I will do the same for my children.

    This is too disturbing.

  8. If the little freshly-relaxed-8-year-old-girl in me could talk to this little girl, I’m not sure I’d be able to say she’s adorable without all that facade. Sad truth is, we aren’t teaching our little girls to love themselves as they are from this early an age. And there are too many other influences that are speaking louder. I don’t blame my mom from sparing me the tough comb vs. tender-headed child bouts by getting my relaxer. She was doing what she thought was best. This mom, well, I don’t know what her deal is.

    I hope that moms out there can foster other, more sustainable talents in their children…you know the kind that doesn’t do harm to their self-esteem. I don’t know what motivates parents to parade their children around like this. I just don’t know…uugghhh!!!

  9. This is breaking my heart. The message that naturally curly/kinky hair is “bad” starts being imparted so early. How, then, can some people deign to judge those women who wear the “Indian Hair”? This mentality is cultivated in us from the time we are babies.

    Afrobella, I hope your influence spreads far and wide. Quickly! :) New babies are being born every day and are getting those outdated, ridiculous, plain WRONG ideas as soon as they can comprehend them!

  10. This is so wrong on so many levels!!so disturbing

  11. I absolutely would NOT put a weave in my toddler’s hair. As a child’s parent, I have a responsibility to make sure my child is healthy, including her hair. My mom braided up my hair all through elementary school. In middle school, I wasn’t allowed to wear it out. In highschool, I wasn’t allowed to get a relaxer or color treat my hair. My mom always told me that I had beautiful hair and to do any of things would destory it. Now as an adult, I relax my hair, got a highlights a time or two, and now I’m taking my hair health seriously (with my mom saying “I told you so!” LOL

    Can you imagine a toddler getting weaves all the time? When she grows up she will have serious damage to her hair and would take her a very long time to get it healthy. And besides all that, she has to learn how to love herself exactly how she is – hair and all so when she grows up with a strong sense of self, she will love herself regardless of whether she chooses to rock a weave or not!

  12. Sigh. Too young.

    • Shawn L. Williams says:

      If you ask me, everyone is too young for this madness. How sad that so many women believe that someone else’s hair looks better on her head than her own.

  13. I can’t watch shows like this because its wrong on so many levels… from the hair, to fake teeth, to makeup, to swimsuit competitions…. I refused to watch stuff like this. And for them to put it on tv and make it seem ok for this to happen… I’m sorry, but makeup on a 3yr old is ridiculous, I don’t care what you say.

  14. Ugh, how sad. She is way too young. She should enjoy the natural beauty of youth. I was under the impression that having a tight weave for too long could lead to permanent hair loss (correct me if I am wrong about this). So that makes me think that this hair style at such a young age will cause her damage over time. I hope not. I agree with other posters about the makeup also. I really don’t like to see makeup on children at all. Things are so different now. When I was young I got to enjoy being a kid.

  15. Utter crap! Doing things like weaves, straightening, hot comb or flat iron DAMAGES HAIR EVEN MORE WHEN DONE AT SUCH AN EARLY AGE. Just wash, condition and use CHILD FRIENDLY PRODUCTS. Gentle brushing, no tight hair ornaments. This is just torture!

  16. I’m wondering, I know its a pagent and parents are in a competition to make there kid look as ” dolled-up” as possibe, I have seen this show before and the caucasion children almost ALWAYS have weave/wig/ some sort of hair enhancement in there hair , and I really haven’t heard any debate about this, but why because the child is African American that its a topic, Im actually very very curious as to why it brought up now?

    • Bri…that’s an interesting point. There’s already inherent creepiness in the whole child pageant thing, but now that you mention it, there’s another facet that’s introduced when you see a child of color in the competition. Maybe it’s the feeling that the child’s mom is sewing in the weave to make the child have more of a caucasian look (long, straight, and NOT AT ALL the child’s natural texture).

      Children aren’t born thinking this way about themselves. They learn it somewhere…

    • SweetThang says:

      I don’t think any child regardless of race need to wear all that makeup and fake hair.

      The grandmother could have went to Beads, Braids, and Beyond, Happy Girl Hair or any of the various children’s hairstyle blogs and found some cute hairstyles for that little girl to wear.

  17. “Diva in training”…that’s what its about for some folks. Another generation of kids who can’t see their own beauty for the trees. How sad! I’m crying.

  18. Phi Sister says:

    I don’t think weaves, etc. are good for kids. But these people are competing in a pageant. She would have had a hair piece in either way. She couldn’t compete with her natural hair because our hair will not comply to what is necessary to create “pageant hair”. The judges are most likely not racially sensitive enough to judge her based on her natural hair. NONE of the other kids had 100% natural hair.

    I’d rather they leave her hair natural and sew in the temporary weave than hot comb her hair. It’s probably way more damaging. Also, I have grown my hair out using weaves and done quite well. It’s very obvious that the grandmother isn’t doing it any tighter than she needs to to create the looks needed for that weekend. I don’t condone it, but I understand that they have to handle their business in the best way they can manage.

  19. Jeanine says:

    I agree with the previous poster. It’s for a pagent. People take those events super serious.

    Unfortunatley, the judges don’t see that natural hair is attractive.

    We as a race haven’t fully accepted the fact, so why should we expect that from another race?

    As a parent that pulled my daughter out of the, I can see both sides, and not only does the mind set of the pagent circuit need to change, but so does our perception of our natural hair.

    • Shawn L. Williams says:

      That’s a good reason why African Americans should not compete in these pageants. Why compete in a contest that his based on standards that say we are naturally deficient. (Actually, no one should have their daughters participate is anything that teaches her that her physical appearance is her greatest attribute.)

  20. sunsail says:

    I second Bri. While I’m with most of you when it comes to chemically altering children’s hair at a young age, stuff like this (weaves, fake tans, fake eyelashes) are par for the course in beauty pageants, and ALL girls, regardless of race, go through this “beautifying” process to some extent. Now, if we want to have a debate on what these pageants do for the self-esteem of young girls, regardless of race, then that’s an entirely different conversation. I think it’s unfair to single out this video clip, in this context, as a Black/White issue because IMHO, it’s not.

  21. Personally, I think pageants for young children should be banned. I wonder if a CPS worker should be assigned to each event. The kids are emotionally pushed. Pageants are big business–especially in Texas. From what I hear from friends that had their kids in pageants–the bigger the better.

  22. I’ll echo what the posters above mentioned. Yes three is too young, not just for an African American child, but for any child to go through pageantry like this. They are children not show dogs.

  23. Wow! How old is the grandmother? She should know better than that, but then again for some older black women natural hair is not an option. This child is going to grow up with some major issues and for what? Just to live out someone else’s dream or to benfit someone financially. Shame on you for doing this to that baby.

  24. Stephie says:

    I do agree with most of the posts, however, my mother hot combed my hair at that age and my hair was not damaged by it. So I will have to dis-agree with what alot of you wrote not to mention that I had hair down my back as a child well into my teenage years and my hair began to break off only when my mother started letting me style it my self.
    3yrs old is much to young for a weave but it is a pageant and as long as she wearing it strickly for that reason I guess its ok

    • Shawn L. Williams says:

      That fact that your hair did not break off does not contradict the fact that pressing, perming is not good for the vast majority of black women’s hair. You should also consider that the damage could be cumulative. That is, he maybe your hair began to break later as a result of the history of treatment given to your hair. Either way, an exception does not disprove the rule. The bottom line: the Creator did not screw up when he/she/it created black folks’ hair.

  25. I was watching the show today and two different 6 yr old contestants explained that they liked their casual wear because “it shows their stomach” and one added that she could “shake her butt”

    • I was like (0_o) whaaaa?? and I’m like I hope these mothers look at the show and begin to question what they are teaching their daughters

  26. crystal g. says:

    I dont think the hair weave is a big deal at all; but that doesnt mean i agree with pageants. The thing i dont like about pageants is how they sum up a childs physical appearance, personality, character, talents etc. that was molded to the parents liking that will be judged by vain people who can care less about the child; THE FACT THAT THE CHILD BELIEVES THAT THEIR WHOLE EXISTENCE AND PURPOSE IN LIFE CAN BE JUDGED IN JUST 5 CATEGORIES ON STAGE WITH BRIGHT LIGHTS, WILL EFFECT THE CHILD IN THE LONG RUN, NOT THE WEAVES. My mother always dressed me up like a doll with: weaves, hair accessories, lip gloss, nail polish, sometimes fake nails, purses, and an array of beautiful clothing and a clothing accessories… but she never made me feel that what i wore or how i looked was my whole identity, NEVER. In grew up in a strict christian household, so i always knew spirtuality was the center of life. Nonetheless my mother is a hat designe- she can take $3 worth of material and design into into a $300 piece and it will

  27. crystal g. says:

    (con’td) sale easily; thats what she does and thats where i came from. So seeing her always do her thing and knowing how to make me look like a million $’s on the dime when i was a child she taught me how to never be scared to take my look and fashion to the next level and that all fashion is manipulation; have fun with it. I’ve always been the girl who wasnt scared to make u look at me. Im a plus size 24 yr. old who has tried EVERY style with confidence. Many of my style choices werent glamorous or graceful, but confidence comes when thinking outside the box and letting go of fears of what others may think. I’ve been natural for about 10 yrs now bcause i wanted to. I got perms and all types of weaves when u was very young (and it was mainly because i wanted them, believe me or not), but i know for a fact weaves dont make a little girl vain; thats ridiculous!!! People need to get a grip on whats important and stop blaming tangible things for spiritual misguidance. Hope i didnt write too much :-D haha

  28. paradisebird says:

    This makes me shiver. I found it extremly disturbing to doll up a toddler like this. I would never, ever expose my daughter (or son) like this. It is not only the weave and the pictures we put in our daughters heads it is also this rude exposure of a vulnerable, precious person.

  29. That is horrific. This is the reason women develop body dysmorphia and eating disorders because we polute their brains from such a young age. I don’t think at 3 years old young girls should be forced to wear make up or weaves. That is just plain ridiculous. It saddens me to see things like this.

  30. Silver Pearls says:

    Hmmmm…. I think its up to the mother. Regardless of what we think, we can’t tell people how to care for their kids. Just because we are all black doesn’t mean we have identical values or was cultured the same. Heck even our skintone and hair textures varies. And, heaven knows that all the African tribes are not nor will ever be one or united in any way. So, it is what it is. And, its been going on my entire life. I, personally would not perm a young childs hair because I wouldn’t want to stress outer beauty at a young age. I would be more concerned about her character and her spirit. When she’s older and understands the process and have a better ideo of who she is, then she can help make that decision. But, not before age 12-15 based on maturity. I have have the same problem with ears being pierced too soon as well.

  31. A toddler with weave? What is wrong with the world? This is the age when children shouldn’t be concerned with anything but being a child. She should be playing with other children not trying to mold herself to fit into anyone’s image. What’s wrong with having natural hair, especially at that age? Its time to teach young black girls that natural hair is normal and its ok to have it.

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  32. That is beyond wrong. Seriously, that parent would do better saving up for therapy for that child rather than new weaves because she is setting that child up for life. Who exposes their child to that at such a young age.

    As an adult we choose to wear our hair in various styles for a number of reasons – if the reason in this case happens to be that the mother is encouraging the child to think she will only be regarded as pretty with long hair then that is disturbing.

  33. flygyrl72 says:

    As the mother of a 7 month old little girl, this just breaks my heart. What the hell people?! For a child in her formative years to be subjected to all this shallow tomfoolery is just WRONG! Wow, oh wow.

    And on the same note, last Friday morning, on La Brea & Coliseum, on my way to work, a sister was crossing the street with her 2 little girls in tow. One in a stroller & the other, probably no more than 3 or 4. And what did this child have in her head? Weave! Granted, it was braids, but why oh why was the weaved hair burgundy red?! What the helly is goin on?

    Now that I have a daughter of my own, I feel more obligated than ever before to wear my own hair, so she’ll always know that being natural is beautiful & that her own God-given texture is as wonderful as anyone else’s.

    Good post, but tragic…

  34. Itsmeagain says:

    What really bothers me about some black women, is that a lot of us won’t even take the time to learn how to beautify our children’s hair. In this little girl’s case, she is learning to associate “beauty” and “glamour” with long, flowing weaves, while grandma allows her natural hair to remain dry, un-combed and unruly and treated as if it “needs something done to it”.

    That really aggravates me. I’m all for grown women experimenting with different styles, but children need to learn (a baby in this case)that their own hair (texture, length) is THEIR default beauty. Not something to be altered in the pursuit of glamour or acceptance.

  35. I have been to quite a few pageants in my life and their were a few little girls whose hair was natural and one of the girls placed 2nd (my niece at age 4 she was natural at that time), but I dont understand why parents and guardians fail to realize that yes they are causing severe identity crisis at that young age it doesnt matter what race beacuse when those little girls go on that stage they have prove themselves to a bunch of judges that dont care about them and wear clothes,hair and makeup; perform talents to please others while on the inside some may like it while other girls dont like it because they feel that they are not pretty enough on their own merit. My other issue is pedophilia, because with taking all these different picutres and posting them on the internet undiscovered pedophiles have an easy access to pictures of these dolled up babies and only God knows what they could be doing to themselves while looking at these babies pictures.

  36. OMG this is very sad….I am a 15 yearold girl nd I believe that is taking the world beauty to a whole new level. There is no way that this girl at the age of 3 should feeling like she is pretty because she has long weave in her hair. It can cost serious damage to her hair (speakingfromsomeonewhoithappento). Nd I feel for this little girl.

  37. I agree that it is up to the parent to decide. But I must voice my opinion and say this really disturbs me. If a pageant requires that 3 year olds wear all that make up and fake hair then that pageant isn’t for me and in my opinion shouldn’t be for anyone. These little girls should be judged on their talent and natural beauty. What message is this sending to these babies? And these girls aren’t in these pageants because they want to be. They are doing it because their parents want them to.

    My daughters dance and my youngest is in the competing company. At competition they have to wear make up etc but our dance school keeps it age appropriate. It doesn’t matter what the other schools are wearing. If they can’t be judged on their talent and skill then the girls have no need to be there. Yeah, they wear costumes, heavy make up and even those (gulp) fake pony tails. But they keep it age appropriate (the younger ones don’t wear the pony tails and none of them wear risque costumes). And my daughters have natural hair and no one has required that I press or do anything to their hair as long as I can get it in a neat dancers bun.

    I have a REAL problem with taking things to this extreme with a 3 year old. But I have a problem with this industry when it comes to younger girls.

  38. arleneac says:

    This is such a shame…..this why we as black women don’t think we’re beautiful. No one should be putting a weave childs head and slathering their faces with make up even if it is a paegent. My daughters (who are adults now) went natural this year and now they both regret ever getting perms.

  39. Roger Kleven says:

    You are my inspiration , I own few blogs and occasionally run out from to brand.

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