There are many differing opinions on the subject of dreadlocks on children.  

They usually fall in Two categories: “for” or “against”.   Each side presents strong arguments for their platform so it is easy to be swayed.  While I have a strong monetary motivation to stay on the “for” side, through my work I have an even stronger reason to be “against”. Now, I am sure many of you reading this are wondering if I have lost my (hairstyling)  mind, but let me explain my position:


Over the years, I have had parents who ask if I do dreadlocks on children.  The ages of the children have ranged from ages 8 to as young as less than 1 year. I did do dreads on a girl aged 6 but only after intense questioning of the parents and I found that her siblings had dreads too. After talking with her I found her very excited to have the same even though I warned it might hurt a bit. I mostly end up maintaining dreadlocks on children who already had them.  My concern though, were for those parents who want the child to keep them after they have fallen out of love for them.

On the few occasions when this happened, the child’s hair was left unkempt for a prolonged period and reacted badly during the maintenance.  A few times I had to tell the parent to stop making the child keep dreads and they were not receptive. They subsequently stopped coming but I think I have a responsibility to inform the parent if I feel the style is hurting the child.  Yes, the child cries because the hair is curly and was not combed, but it they cry in terror, that needs addressing.


I should note here that oblivious parents are not only like this for dreads but for braids and relaxers.  These are some of the situations a hairstylist will find parenting extremes:

  • Parents needing kids with cool hairstyles:  e.g dreads on a baby or extremely long braids with extensions on a toddler
  • maintaining the child’s hair is up to the hairstylist to treat and condition it when they do come in.
  • Parents applying relaxers whenever the hair matts instead of taking time to comb out the knots.
  • A parent leaving the hair for long periods without attention because they have too many jobs and no time.
  • The child refuses to let the parent touch the hair and the parent gives in and it becomes matted.  This mostly ends with an extreme haircut.


In case you do not agree with my opinion, please know I like dreadlocks on children.  I also like them neat and well maintained and feel it is best to let the child ask for them. This way, the child has an active role in the care and crying is kept at a minimum.

By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design

Buy my e-book:  Dreadlocks:  A Hairstylist’s Manifest (


Call (613) 789-2179 For An Appointment If You Are In The Ottawa, Ontario Area.