David Beckham’s four-year-old daughter Harper was photographed with a pacifier in her mouth last week. All hell has since broken loose, because people love to criticize parents for things like pacifier use.
The Daily Mail published an entire article speculating about the variety of ways Harper’s life will be ruined because her parents made the life-altering decision of allowing her to suck on a pacifier for a few minutes. The article was titled, “Why does Harper, four, still use a dummy? Experts warn David and Victoria Beckham’s little girl may end up with ‘speech or dental issues’ if she continues to use one.”
Oh my god. I was briefly concerned about child poverty and our vanishing polar ice caps – but I think I’ll worry about Harper’s possible future need for dental work instead. How will her family cope?
Beckham struck back at the ridiculous article on his Instagram account:
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 …
“Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts??” Indeed. Why do they? It’s easier to judge the parenting of celebrities because they are constantly in the limelight. But an entire article featuring a four-year-old’s pacifier use is low, even for The Daily Mail. The tools you decide to use to make parenting easier are nobody’s business but yours — even if you happen to be a mega-celebrity.
The article included quotes from a variety of parenting “experts,” making brilliant statements such as this one: “After about three months, most babies should not need a comforter. Children at the age of four really don’t need a dummy.” Really? We’re going to judge parents for not teaching children to self-soothe by three months? That’s absurd. There are other “experts” who argue if you take away a pacifier before your child is ready, she’ll just use a replacement – like her thumb or shirt collar.
Why do we constantly feel the need to point out when parents are doing things “wrong?” I’ve never seen a child go off to college with a pacifier in her mouth. Or clutching a teddy bear. Or dragging her blankie behind her. Let’s let parents decide how long it’s appropriate for their own children to be soothed by items that comfort them – and stop all the judgement.