Colourism – how it could affect our children

Colourism - how it could affect our children

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a show on Oprah Winfrey’s TV network about colourism. Colourism is prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.

We live in a world where discrimination and preferential treatment exists. Even though it is frowned upon, the truth is that it is very much a part of our society. This preference comes in different forms. It could be based on class, race, gender, tribe and even colour which is where colourism comes in.

Colourism has been rife in our society but only just started getting more attention. The talks on colourism were further ignited recently by “Mathew Knowles“. He said that light-skinned girls receive more commercial success than dark-skinned girls. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna his daughters Beyonce and Solange were used as examples.

He also mentioned that as a Young man(dark-skinned), he only dated light-skinned girls’ and he was attracted to his ex-wife -Tina Knowles because he thought she was white. “I had been conditioned from childhood,” he said, with his own mother telling him ” Don’t ever bring no nappy-head Black girl to my house” when growing up. This resulted in years of dating “white women or very high-complexion black women that looked white”.

Is Colourism a feminist issue?

Can Colourism be said to be more of a feminist issue? Mathew Knowles is not the only man to admit dating only light-skinned girls, a number of guys also do. Most music videos feature only light-skinned girls and whenever a dark-skinned girl is used it’s mostly for something negative. “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” a lot of dark-skinned girls have been told this before. Beauty is being attributed to skin colour and light-skinned girls get most of the attention and success. I don’t think it’s a feminist issue it’s just more common with women.

Why Colourism matters

Colourism affects Africans, East and South-east Asians, Latin Americans, the Caribean and African Americans. The danger of colourism is that it causes low self esteem. This is why some dark-skinned people bleach their skin.

Skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an attempt to lighten the skin or provide an even skin colour by reducing melanin concentration in the skin. Skin bleaching/whitening can be dangerous as some of the products used to achieve this contain toxic products that are harmful to the skin. In the UK, a Nigerian couple were recently sentenced for selling toxic whitening products.

Beauty is self-love and self-appreciation and it starts early, It is important to let our children know this from an early age. A light-skinned friend of mine shared with me how her darker daughter had told her a few times that she wished she was the same colour as her mum. She said her daughter would always want her hair done in a way that would cover her face. This broke her heart and she constantly told her how beautiful she was. She was worried about it affecting her confidence.

This is why these conversations need to be had, the narrative needs to change! Mainstream media, entertainment and social media etc need to give more dark-skinned coloured women opportunity and exposure. Whilst there are a handful of dark-skinned leading ladies, the same cannot be said of men.

Colourism and racism

Colourism came out of racism, it has its roots in slavery where light-skinned slaves were treated better than dark-skinned ones by their slave masters. This was because they were usually their family, while they didn’t officially acknowledge their offsprings from the African women, they were given preferential treatment.

In the case, of Europe, Colourism was more of a class thing. The ruling classes were perceived to have fairer skin than peasants. This was actually because they spent more time indoors while the peasants were tanned from labouring outdoors. This resulted in light skin being associated with the upper class and the elite while dark skin was associated with the lower class.

Unfortunately, Colourism didn’t disappear with slavery. Light skinned African Americans received employment opportunity offers that were not given darker ones which is why most upper-class African Americans are light-skinned. The brown paper bag test also applies here where African Americans were refused admission into different societies and clubs if they were darker than a brown paper bag.

An American Senate majority leader once suggested that Barack Obama had a political edge over other African American candidates because he was light-skinned and had no “Negro Dialect. According to Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, African-American defendants are more than twice as likely to receive the death penalty as lighter-skinned African-American defendants for crimes of equivalent seriousness involving white victims. Also, Lighter-skinned Latinos in the United States make $5,000 more on average than darker-skinned Latinos.


Colourism did not start today and it will not end if we don’t start discussing it openly. It’s unfortunate that children also see it and it affects their confidence. We need to let our children know they are beautiful no matter their skin colour, hair or appearance. It is important that they believe in themselves from an early age. Buying them toys of dark-skinned dolls as well as literature with dark-skinned heroes and heroines also helps. Luckily, there are so many books now with dark-skinned families and children and a lot of them teach body positivity.

I leave you with the beautiful song by Beyonce “Dark Skin Girl” it’s a positive message, one that we should all be telling our daughters.

Aunty Lulu

Also look at

Recommend books for children:

  1. Who do I see in the mirror.
  2. Emi’s Curly, Coily Candy hair
  3. The colour of us
  4. Riley can be anything.
  5. My brown skin.

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The importance of Disciplining Children

The need to discipline children
Beckley Crandley sitting next to her Son during a lesson to stop him from being rude to his teachers

I read the story of a mum who got a report from her son’s school about his disruptive behaviour and bad attitude. She (with the school’s permission) decided to show up at the school and sat beside him during his maths lesson. Not surprisingly, his name was already on the board for naughty behaviour before her arrival. The rest of the lesson went on without any event apart from the embarrassed look on the boy’s face 😄. I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice before messing around during lessons again.

“I’m not bringing him up to talk down to people, especially women, and I won’t stand for it – teachers don’t deserve it. They’re not there to parent our children, they’re there to teach and guide.

Beckley Crandley

I found the story amusing – more so because it’s an action I’m not sure I’ll ever consider but it’s a pretty good way of disciplining a child. So would you take such action? It also made me think of the different ways we correct our children, some Scold, some smack, some ground, some remove privileges.

The importance of disciplining children

Why discipline is necessary

Every parent wants a well-behaved, respectful and happy child that can function well both at home and in public. Truth is, that’s not always the reality, children are human and humans are bound to err. How do you then correct any misbehaviour?

Misbehaviour is when an action is considered inappropriate for a particular situation or setting it occurred. When children misbehave, it is necessary to set them straight. How do you know when to give mild, or severe discipline? How do you draw the line of strictness? While there’s no definitive answer, the following can serve as a guide:

Types of discipline

From my research into this topic, I found that there are 3 types of discipline:

  • Preventive: this is when guidelines, expectations and rules are established to help prevent misbehaviour. The goal is to provide proactive intervention to potential bad behaviour. Children know what is expected of them and what behaviours are acceptable and not acceptable.
  • Supportive: Rules and guidelines will sometimes be broken, no matter how well thought through they are. This is where supportive discipline comes in. Supportive discipline is where a verbal warning or alternative suggestion is given to a child that is misbehaving. Supportive discipline gives options and suggestions for correction so that there are no consequences. It is an action to accept or to avoid further punishments. Reminders, redirections and nonverbal communication (warning stare) are types of supportive discipline.
  • Corrective: This becomes necessary after failure of a child to behave appropriately after reminders and warnings. These are the consequences children face as a result of unruly behaviour. They defer and some are more effective than others. Some help children to learn and still build a connection to the parent while others could get them to obey but not learn what is expected, or it could just get them to always do want the parents want and not necessarily learn what is expected. Here are a few common methods:
  1. Using consequences:
  2. TIme out.
  3. Losing a privilege
  4. Grounding
  5. Physical punishment (smacking)
The importance of disciplining children

I also found that there are 4 main types of parenting, they are:

Parenting Styles

  1. Authoritarian: An authoritarian parent has clear expectations and consequences for their children but shows little or no affection. It’s all about obeying their rules regardless of the Childs feelings – ‘my way or the highway’. They believe rules must ve obeyed without exceptions.
  2. Authoritative: An authoritative parent has clear expectations and consequences of their child and is affectionate towards them. They engage some flexibility and collaboration with their children in dealing with behavioural changes. It’s an ideal form of parenting as it takes the children’s opinion into consideration. This fosters self-confidence in children.
  3. Permissive: A permissive parent shows a lot of affection towards their child but provides little or no discipline. It is a less effective way of parenting. Parents in this category believe that ‘kids will be kids’ and often excuse bad behaviour. They don’t stick to set boundaries and often give in after their child begs them. Children of such parents are likely to have behavioural problems.
  4. Uninvolved: Uninvolved parents are parents who have little knowledge of what their children are doing. They set few rules and children receive little nurturing and guidance. Such children tend to have self-esteem issues and struggle with work at school.

Sometimes, parents could fit into two or more of these types of parenting. The important thing is to always maintain a good relationship with your child. Find what works for both parent and child. A parent should strive to maintain a healthy relationship with their child and still establish authority in a healthy manner.


I decided to treat smacking on its own because it’s a very controversial form of discipline. Smacking is hitting someone or something forcefully and deliberately with the hand or a weapon. Many parents smack their children with the belief that it’ll stop them from bad behaviour. Most parents that believe in smacking do so because they were smacked as children and it was effective on them.

While a lot of parents smack, it is important to know that it is illegal in some countries and if you smack a Child and are arrested, you’ll be prosecuted irrespective of the fact that it was done on your Child. In the United Kingdom, under Section 58 of the Children’s Act of 2004, smacking remains legal as long as it does not cause visible bruises, grazes, scratches, swelling or cuts.

Recently, Scotland became the 58th country to make smacking children illegal. Sweden was the first country to do so, bringing in the law in 1979, while Ireland banned smacking in 2015. Other countries include Isreal, Norway, Finland, South Africa, Austria, Denmark, Tunisia, Kenya, Peru, Congo etc.

People against smacking argue that allowing smacking “sends a message to our children that hitting someone is a way of resolving a dispute, or if you don’t like their behaviour”. They believe smacking is a form of violence and violence should never be acceptable in any setting”.

My Opinion on Smacking

Smacking is not strange to me as I was smacked a few times as a child (we actually dreaded been scolded by my dad more). I rarely got into trouble as a child – not because I was such an angel but because I could talk myself out of most situations (thanks to boarding school). I have also smacked my Boys a few times but I think I threaten to smack more than the actual smacking – and it seems it works.

What I have discovered is that taking privileges works better for me. Just the threat of not getting their tablet over the weekend brings the Boys back to their senses. Smacking really is violence, my Boys threaten to smack themselves and actually do hit themselves sometimes which I believe is from the few times I’ve smacked them. Smacking may be fast and effective but could have longterm consequences. I, therefore, encourage other effective ways of correcting a Child.


The temperament of a child is important in determining the appropriate discipline. The type of inappropriate behaviour should also be considered as well as the child’s age. It helps to commend and reward good behaviour, this encourages them to continue being good. Avoid yelling (aren’t we all guilty) it serves no purpose. Yelling just gets everyone worked up and causes irrational reactions.

Most importantly, avoid criticism and comparison. Always correct not criticise, this is done by addressing the bad behaviour and not the child. Be careful with the words you use, words stay with children. If you keep telling them they’re bad or naughty they may start to believe it. Don’t condemn your child(ren). Lastly, correct in love.

Aunty Lulu


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Health Talk with Adeola – 40s – what to expect.

health talk with Adeola

Please read Dr Adeola’s response to a blog visitor’s question. The question is about changes to expect when the milestone age of 40 is reached.

Hello Dr Adeola,

Thank you for your post. My question has nothing to do with OCD but with women and ageing. I recently turned 40 and I have noticed some changes in my sight for example and a few other areas. Can you please advise on changes women/men should expect as we age and supplements that we should be using. You hear all sort of suggestions, Viet E is good, use VitC, Iron etc. Please advise on how we can take better care of ourselves. Also on changes to expect as very active and young at heart people in our 40s. Thank you

Dear Bola,

I can identify well with your need for clarification. Just recently a friend of mine and I were sharing our experiences of turning 40!  We moaned to each other about how suddenly one is about to turn 40 or just turned 40 and the changes simply drop (not creep) on one without warning. It’s clockwork, bang on time. If it creeps on people it would give some warning shots or a bit of confusion as to what’s going on but the experience is usually for most people so clear that one quickly understands and attributes them to approaching or having approached the beautiful fortified milestone.

These changes are not exhaustive but are the most common ones and the ones that most people will experience.

Period changes:

A lot of people will have heavier and prolonged periods.

Hair changes:

Less where it’s wanted  (head), with less hair fullness and/or length or loss of hairline and more where it’s unwanted. For example, some people who were previously predisposed to having excessive hair on their legs or chin area would develop more and may find this problematic to control. This is commoner in women, men seem to struggle with earlier onset of grey hair more.

Weight gain:

This can be attributable to hormonal, dietary and metabolic changes. It’s more problematic in certain areas like the lower abdomen, waist, upper arms etc. From this age onwards most people burn fewer calories so it’s advisable to eat less and healthy. It is wise to imbibe a healthier active lifestyle of healthy eating and moderate exercise ( the zeal for exercise can decrease due to decreasing fitness levels and easier fatigability but this is when to keep going ). Weight gain and difficulty with losing weight is similar in both men and women.

Digestive changes:

Lots of people complain they feel bloated easily. Bowels may become more sensitive to certain foods and toileting habits are more noticeable to vary with certain diets. Most people soon work out what suits their bellies and adjust. In women especially, bloating may become complicated with hormonal changes.

Changes in Vision:

Most people notice a change in their near vision and need to adjust reading distances to suit and may need more lighting to read or do fine tasks like threading a needle or doing a necklace clasp. Visiting an optometrist/Optician for an eye check and advice now becomes a necessity.

Sexual Function:  

Some men notice a decline in initiating or sustaining an erection and some women may notice an increased or decreased libido (sex drive). Fertility reduces in women so it may be harder to conceive but this is not a general rule as most women will still fall pregnant easily. It is advised that you should keep on an effective contraception (if you are done with childbearing) till you are menopausal which is on average around age 50/51 and you would have stopped menstruating for a minimum of one or two years and be confirmed to be menopausal. The perimenopausal period and changes start several years ahead of the actual menopause.

Increased risk of health problems:

One should now be aware that the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast, prostate, gynaecological problems etc increases somewhat and one should endeavour to look after one’s health by eating healthy, having  regular exercise, adequate sleep, health checks, responsible alcohol intake, stopping smoking, and seeking medical help if one notices any changes that one is unsure of.

General symptoms like aches, pain, tiredness etc are more noticeable after what previously would have been a doddle.

Age-appropriate multivitamins usually contain most of what is needed to enhance good health. Without advertising for any company in particular, I have found centrum for men and women generally tolerated and preferred amongst my clients. However, I must add that these are meant to supplement rather than replacing a healthy balanced diet of low-fat food, foods rich in fibres and grains, fruits and vegetables etc.

The changes described are not exhaustive, this is just a snapshot and the list could go on and on. Whilst they can be normal age-related changes in most people they could be a sign of ill health in others. Therefore, when uncertain about any changes it’s always better to check with a professional.

I do hope you find this helpful Bola,

My very best wishes,

Dr Adeola


Wedding party 3 – to be or not to be?

I recently watched the wedding party 2, the sequel to the wedding party movie that was released in December 2016. The wedding party is a rom-com produced by Ebony life films, Ink one production and Konga Films. The movie was recently released on Netflix.

On a Saturday night that was looking boring, I decided to let off some steam and unwind by watching it. It was released in 2017 to a lot of pomp and pageantry. It also came with mixed reviews, some people were of the opinion that it fell short of its prequel. I was however still eager to see for myself and determine my feelings about the movie

The wedding party to me is a holiday blockbuster as it is usually released during the Christmas holidays. Christmas period as we all know comes at the end of the year and it’s a time most people tend to slow down, let down their hair and take a break after a busy year. It starts at the end of November (Thanksgiving) and goes on to the first few days of the New year.

wedding party

The atmosphere is usually cheery, jovial, light and definitely celebratory. Writing this is already giving me full nostalgia of many magical Christmases long gone back home in Nigeria. Anyway, Christmas blockbusters are usually light, funny and feel good, just to reflect the mood of the season which is usually a time for family, friends and food… the wedding party ticks all the boxes here.

Though I’m not a movie critic, I do know a good movie when I see one. So how do I grade WP2, or even 1? All I’ll say is it’s an enjoyable movie. It scores high on the things I like to see in a Christmas blockbuster- Fashion, romance, comedy and good music. Come-on it’s the end of the year, who needs movies with plot twists and too much action let’s keep it light, simple and funny. A little fashion and romance won’t hurt the eyes either😉 .

So please Aunty Mo, Ebony Films or whoever is listening, I’d really like to see the irresponsible rake ‘Sola’ get hitched. It won’t hurt to get to know his family too, bring a few new characters to the movie. It’ll be nice to see him settle down especially since WP 2 was already pointing us towards the direction of the feisty Yemisi. It’ll also be good to know Yemisi’s story as well and in a twist, the writers could even get him to settle down with the sultry ‘Rosie'( Beverly Naya’s character) let them tame each other. Yemisi can go with the groomsman we never get to see (the one that was in an accident). Don’t even say I’m getting ahead of myself 😁.

There is so much that can be done with this story, they can even get to 5 or 6 instalments if the game is played right. By that, I mean getting really good scriptwriters. As much as I enjoyed the movie I must say the dialogue sometimes made me gag 🤐 not forgetting the eye-rolling-worthy Cheesy lines, oh and also some very unnecessary comedy scenes 🙄. Other than that, it’s a great holiday movie and certainly lifted my spirits yesterday.

It took my mind to some romance novels I read years back. They are different stories of a group of friends finding love, it was always good to catch up with all the couples in each story. This could be done with the wedding party.

So please Ebony TV, what are you waiting for? Get yourselves some badass writers and let’s marry Sola off, please. If approached well, this could be the best of the Wedding party movies. You’re sitting on something big so do some magic with. We are patiently waiting… ⌚


It’ll be nice to see our favourites – The Onwukas 1,2 and 3, the Cokers (please tell Alibaba to behave a little bit more like a millionaire and stop embarrassing Yoruba millionaires 🙈). Also, save us the agony of scenes like that of Ay and Saka – too painful to watch. Make the comedy light and sensible, please! Harrison and Tinuade are perfect madam and those chauffeurs that become family however, it shouldn’t be overdone. Thank you.

Aunty Lulu.


Health Talk With Adeola – OCD.

health talk with Adeola

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The reports of suicide in the news in recent months has brought my attention back to mental health problems and I picked OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) as one of the common but less well-publicised mental health problems which is associated with an increased risk of suicide.

The worldwide prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is approximately 2% of the general population. It is thought that 1-3 in 100 people have some form of OCD behaviours or traits.

What is OCD?

A disorder is defined as an illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health problem. Symptoms typically include recurring thoughts and repetitive actions in response to the recurring thoughts.

Health talk with Adeola - OCD

What are Obsessions?

Obsessions are unpleasant thoughts, images or urges that keep coming into your mind. Common obsessions include:

  • Fears about contamination with dirt, germs, viruses (for example, HIV), etc
  • Worries about doors being unlocked, fires left on, causing harm to someone, etc
  • Intrusive thoughts or images of swearing, blasphemy, sex, someone harmed, etc.
  • Fear of making a mistake or behaving badly.
  • A need for exactness in how you order or arrange things.

Obsessions can be about all sorts of things. Obsessive thoughts can make you feel disgusted, anxious or depressed. You normally try to ignore or suppress obsessive thoughts.

Health talk with Adeola - OCD

What are Compulsions?

Compulsions are thoughts or actions that you feel you must do or repeat. Usually, the compulsive act is in response to an obsession. A compulsion is a way of trying to deal with the distress or anxiety caused by an obsession.

For example, you may wash your hands every few minutes in response to an obsessional fear about germs. Another example is you may keep on checking that doors are locked, in response to the obsession about doors being unlocked. Other compulsions include repeated cleaning, counting, touching, saying words silently, arranging and organising – but there are others.

The Impact of OCD

In popular culture and frequently within the media OCD is mistakenly portrayed as a positive trait and personality quirk, but in reality – for those that suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it has a devastating impact on their life. The obsessions that you have with OCD can make you feel really anxious and distressed.

The severity of OCD can range from some life disruption to causing severe distress. You know that the obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. However, you find it difficult or impossible to resist them.

OCD affects people in different ways. For example, some people spend hours carrying out compulsions and, as a consequence, cannot get on with normal activities.

health talk with adeola

Some people do their compulsions over and over again in secret (like rituals). Other people may seem to cope with normal activities but are distressed by their recurring obsessive thoughts. OCD can affect your work (or schoolwork in children), relationships, social life and quality of life.

OCD can be so severe that it can seriously impact on some or all areas of a person’s life, sometimes disrupting or completely ruining: Education, Employment, Career development, Relationships with partners, parents, siblings and friends, Starting a family.

Also, some of the behaviours that people do to cope with OCD (including compulsions) can also have devastating effects, for example, Substance abuse (self-medicating with alcohol or other substances or harmful drugs)

Who gets OCD and why?

The cause of OCD is not clear.  Anyone at any age can develop OCD but it usually first develops between the ages of 18 and 30. Up to 2 in 100 children are also thought to have OCD. If you are concerned that you may have OCD, you should see your doctor and explain your concerns. Is there any thought that keeps bothering you that you would like to get rid of but cannot? Do these thoughts interfere to the extent that you respond to them with some compulsory actions so much so that it interferes with your daily activities by taking a long time to finish them or not even being able to perform your daily activities or function?

A detailed assessment is needed for OCD to be diagnosed. This may either be carried out by your doctor or by a specialist mental health team. The assessment will look at any obsessional thoughts and compulsions that you have and how they affect you and your daily life. Children with OCD may be referred to a specialist mental health team which is experienced in assessing and treating children with OCD.

What is the treatment for OCD?

The usual treatment for OCD is:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT); or
  • Medication, usually with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medicine; or
  • A combination of CBT plus an SSRI antidepressant medicine.
health talk with adeola

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of therapy that deals with your current thought processes and/or behaviours and aims to change them by creating strategies to overcome negative patterns, which may help you to manage OCD more effectively.

Recent studies suggest that people with OCD are 10 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Actively thinking about suicide (sometimes called suicidal ideation) also appears to be relatively common among people affected by OCD.  This risk can be further heightened when an OCD sufferer develops depression because he or she is unable to relieve themselves of the disabling symptoms of OCD.

The take-home message is to seek help early when suffering from symptoms of OCD or indeed any mental health problems. We all have a role to play in reducing the suicide rates in our community. Being aware and supportive of people with mental health difficulties goes a long way to relieve their distress and prevent the rising rates of suicide.


OCD UK, WHO, VeryWell mind, Time to, NHS Self Help therapies. NHS Cognitive behavioural therapies.

Suicide Risk in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Exploration of Risk Factors: A Systematic Review. (PMID:29929465)

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