Support » Themes and Templates » child theme/custom header travails

  • Resolved bcnbuda



    WordPress 3.5
    Buddypress 1.6.2
    bbPress 2.2.3
    Theme: Buddy


    My header currently has a black background and I want to substitute an image as a background in the header. From what I’ve seen the best way to do this is to implement a child theme which makes total sense.

    I’ve followed the various instructions at various places but I must be missing something. Basically once I’ve implemented the most basic child theme with the child style.css importing the Buddy style.css I would expect that I could visit my site and it should look exactly as before since I’m doing nothing in my child theme in terms of customization at all at this point. My intent was once I get that implemented and verified then try to implement the image in the child theme, ie stepwise approach.

    My child theme directory is at the same level as buddy and contains only the style.css file as below

    However, when I visit my site with this child theme activated my header is all screwed up as well as all my navigation and sidebars. The logo and menus are all gone. I also see the following message in the admin area.

    You’ll need to activate a BuddyPress-compatible theme to take advantage of all of BuddyPress’s features. We’ve bundled a default theme, but you can always install some other compatible themes or update your existing WordPress theme.

    When I revert to the Buddy theme everything goes back together as before.

    Here’s the contents of my child style.css

    Theme Name: Buddy-Child
    Description: Child theme for the Buddy theme
    Author: MyName
    Template: buddy
    @import url("../buddy/style.css");

    If I just change the color of the header directly in the buddy/style.css in the header section I can see my change immediately so I know that file is controlling my header but of course that is not the recommended way of doing it and I want an image anyway and want to implement that in the child theme so I don’t lose it when updating in the future.

    What am I missing?

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  • Can you post a link to your site?

    thanks for quick response

    everything looks normal right now with buddy theme

    if I were to witch to the child theme I would see “buddy” in my header and no logo, menus, etc and my sidebars would all be some default stuff

    Theme options don’t carry over to child themes — so you have to re-do those when you change themes (including to a child theme). Yeah, I know, kind of a pain, but better than losing everything upon updating.

    Ah ha! But that would be a one time fix up kind of thing? So I can examine my theme options for buddy (my parent theme), switch themes, re-implement the theme options for my child theme, and I should be back to “normal”?

    perhaps that should mentioned somewhere in the codex for implementing child themes?
    I’ll make that suggestion. Off to examine this idea and see if this resolves my problem.

    thanks, WPyogi.

    Yep on all. Come back if you run into further problems.


    thanks much. your tip got me on the right track.

    Documenting a few thoughts here in case anyone else stumbles upon the same issue,
    there was quite a bit of effort after switching to the child them to get everything put back together like I had for the parent theme:

    1) As you pointed out, all the theme options had to be restored to match my buddy theme options in Appearance>Theme Options, including my login page, logo image, etc., etc
    2) My main navigation menu was missing from header, had to go to Appearance>Menus and set my Main Navigation as before and voila, menu returned
    3) All of my former sidebar and Homepage widgets were inactive at the bottom of Appearance>Widgets and all of my sidebars were empty. I had to move all those inactive widgets back where they used to be in my standard and alternate sidebars. Otherwise on my pages all the sidebars had a bunch of default stuff
    4) In the slider on my homepage I had to check to hide the titles for each slide as I had before, otherwise the titles appeared in a black box superimposed on the slide. So I had to restore all those to their former setting.

    I think that’s about it. It took me maybe 30 minutes to go through and find everything and correct them. All in all not too bad to enable the child theme and get on the road to customizing.

    Only remaining issue and I’m not certain this is related to changing to the child theme but in my alternate sidebars that I created for my homepage the titles of all the widgets are huge and I’d like to make those fonts the same size as in the standard left and right sidebars. Where would that be accomplished? That may have already been that way and I may not have noticed until now.

    I’m marking this as resolved and really appreciate the help.

    Looks like your regular sidebars have this for the titles:

    <h2 class="widgettitle">VSA Recommends Visiting…</h2>

    and corresponding CSS:

    .widget .widgettitle {
        border-bottom: 1px solid #F0F0ED;
        color: #33363C;
        font-size: 12px;
        font-weight: bold;
        margin: 0 0 20px -20px;
        padding: 0 20px 15px;
        width: 100%;

    But on the home page, it’s this:

    <a href="">The Forums of VSA</a>

    So you could either change the template for the home page sidebars (add widgettitle class would be logical) or create a similar CSS style for that – perhaps this:

    .sidebar .h3 {
        font-size: 12px;

    (Not tested but gives you a starting place…)

    hmmm. ok, I’m obviously a noob but I added that snippet of code to my style.css and it didn’t do anything so maybe it would need to be elsewhere or maybe there is more to implementing it than that. If I change the template file wouldn’t that be lost if I later update the theme? If that is the case then a change to the CSS makes more sense if it can be accomplished using CSS alone.

    Looking at style.css I see a section for

    /* General Widget Styling */

    just wondering why all widgets wouldn’t inherit their characteristics from this css. I see code like

    .sidebar .widget li a {
    font-weight: bold;


    .sidebar .widget .current-cat > a {
    text-decoration: underline;

    followed by the section for widgettitle you cited above. Is “a” for the standard left and right sidebars and I need a “b” for my alternate sidebars?

    I am having the same problem…here is my child theme
    Theme Name: TwentyelevenChild
    Description: Child theme for the twentyeleven theme
    Author: Your name here
    Template: twentyeleven

    @import url(“../twentyeleven/style.css”);

    #site-title a {
    color: #009900;
    Downloaded directly from wordpress help of childtheme…its in my twentyeleven child them file in my twentyeleven directory. When I activate this child theme…its a mess…everything goes to the left of the page..i have no idea what to do..please help. My site is I have the twenty eleven parent theme on there right now activated.

    Moderator Andrew Nevins


    Forum moderator

    This thread has been resolved. For support on your own issues, create your own thread.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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