Parent Spotlight: Q&A with Dulce Candy

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First 5 California had the opportunity to interview YouTube star Dulce Candy about her journey into motherhood. As a young wife, mother and army vet, Dulce is a role model for an up-and-coming generation of women. She has been featured in Seventeen, The Stylist, Regard Magazine, People Style Watch and also won L'Oreal and W Magazine's "I Am Worth It" contest. She was also named one of Latina Magazine's "Latinas of the Year." 

1. The world today knows you as a YouTube beauty sensation with more than two million subscribers and the author of The Sweet Life. Can you share a bit about your background that most people may not know?

Most people are surprised to find out that I immigrated to America from Mexico when I was 6 years old with my mom and two sisters. At 18, I joined the US Army and became a Power Generation Equipment Repairer (mechanic).  I did a tour in Iraq in 2006. From there I was deployed to Bagdad for 15 months where I worked as a Humvee driver for a convoy team that would escort high-ranking officials between military bases, Camp Victory and the Green Zone. 

2. Do you have memories of how talking, reading, and singing played an important role in your childhood?

Since I was a little girl, my mom would always play a lot of music. My sisters and I would gather around my mom to sing and dance. Those are some of my fondest memories. We've always been a very united family because of moments like that. These moments are what define having a perfect childhood for me, personally. In the afternoons growing up, we would go on long walks around the field in our backyard and talk for hours. It was a good time to communicate, share our feelings, and learn.

3. Tell us about your journey into motherhood. How did that change you?

Everything I do is influenced by my son, Izek. I aspire to have my son see his mother as a strong role model and be someone he can look up to and to be like one day. When I work on myself personally, I do it with him in mind. When I first became a parent, I was a loose cannon with my emotions, but I've learned how to control myself in an effort to set a good example for him and to be sure he is always feeling loved. One day I hope he’ll say, "I want to be successful like my mom." 

4. Now that you’re a mom, what advice can you share with other parents who want the best for their kids?

It is important to pay attention to your children’s wants or needs, and not brush them off as if they do not really know what they want. Kids have big feelings, even at very young ages. It's up to us to listen and interpret those feelings to help identify appropriate solutions. Also, try to have a lot of patience! 

Communication is everything. It's important to have two-way conversations, and when you are talking with your child, be sure to have plenty of eye contact. Ask questions and really listen to their responses. Put yourself into what they are saying in that moment. 

Another great way to spend time with your children is by not relying on just watching TV and movies together. If you want to truly connect and bond, what I've noticed from personal experience is when we "unplug" and have our devices put away, that is when we connect the deepest and are most engaged. When we are playing, talking, reading or singing is when we truly bond. It's not just about spending time together, but what you do with that time together!

Check out Dulce's Talk. Read. Sing. videos in collaboration with First 5 California!

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