When you’re a parent, suddenly everyone’s a critic. What you pack your child for lunch, how you handle their tantrum in the toy aisle at Target, it’s all fair game to the masses. And when you’re a celebrity? Well, just imagine that kind of criticism times 100.
The latest celebrity victim is David Beckham, who was photographed with his 4-year-old daughter Harper, walking in West Hollywood. His crime, apparently, was that Harper was seen with a pacifier in her mouth — and the Daily Mail was not impressed.
The article, released Sunday, criticized Beckham for allowing Harper to use a pacifier (or “dummy” as they’re referred to in the U.K.) past the recommended age. They quoted parenting expert Clare Byam-Cook, a former midwife, as saying the use of a pacifier at her age could “damage her teeth” and “hinder speech development.”
“After about three months,” Byam-Cook continued, “most babies should not need a comforter … It could be last child syndrome — because she is the youngest, David and Victoria could be clinging on to her being a baby.”
Needless to say, Beckham was not pleased by the attacks on his parenting choices and took to Instagram yesterday saying:
“Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts ?? Everybody who has children knows that when they aren’t feeling well or have a fever you do what comforts them best and most of the time it’s a pacifier so those who criticize think twice about what you say about other people’s children because actually you have no right to criticize me as a parent … ”
For her part, Byam-Cook told BBC’s Newsbeat that she felt “misrepresented” by the Daily Mail article and that she admires David and Victoria Beckham as parents and role models:
“I think it is so wrong for people like me to pass judgement on their parenting. His daughter wasn’t very well and it’s her comfort. However, I still think aged four walking down the street that she should get her comfort from her father’s hand instead. Maybe at home is where you should give them the comfort of their dummy, blanket or whatever.”
While it is true that the American Dental Association warns parents against prolonged pacifier use and thumb sucking, it is a decision to be made between a parent, their child, and their doctors. One photo does not lend any context to the situation, and as Beckham indicated, this could possibly be a random occurrence during a time of illness for Harper.
And who here can say they haven’t gone to great lengths to comfort their child when they are sick? Whether it’s ice cream for dinner, TV all day, or the comfort of a paci, we’re all “guilty” of breaking the rules sometimes — we just get the benefit of not having the whole world know about it.More On