A Permissive Dad Let His 4-Year-Old Kid Eat A Hot Pepper & The Internet Has Thoughts
"Your mouth will burn out and you'll cry," the dad tries to explain to his little girl.
When you see your kid about to get into trouble, your first instinct may be to grab them and pull them to safety. But the permissive parenting model encourages a different route: relaxing the rules and letting kids explore the world — and learn hard lessons — on their own terms.
A really good example of this gentle type of parenting is going viral on TikTok. Australian Dad and pig farmer Josh Neille has almost 100,000 followers who enjoy both his extremely good wombat footage as well as his laidback parenting style with his kiddos, Ashlee and Hamish. So when his daughter expressed a wish to buy and eat whole, raw hot chili peppers, he gave her a good, solid warning, but he sure didn’t stop her.
“Your mouth will burn out and you will cry,” he tell her in the first part of the video, when the pair seem to be standing in a grocery store. “Is this going to be one of those life lessons where I tell you, ‘I told you so?’”
“But there’s not very spicy,” Ashlee answers with confidence.
“Are you honestly going to eat them?” he asks again, back in the car. “I’m trying to tell you there’s going to be very hot. But you don’t want to listen to me, do you?”
The video is captioned, “Life lesson 101 for the stubborn mini human Ashlee, this kid loves to learn the hard way, but cracks me up whilst doing it.. took it like a champ & I tried to tell here but what does dad know.”
She takes a bite... and after a moment of trying to hide her reaction, admits that they are, “a little bit spicy.”
And — this is truly a stubborn child — she then takes another bite just to really hit home that she is going to do what she wants to do. This time the bite’s bigger and she admits that they are, “hundreds of hot!”
“Did you make a mistake?” the dad asks, kindly.
“Yeah,” she admits, but with a pretty darn good attitude.
Down in the comments, parents praised his parenting know-how as well as his strong-willed and adventurous kid.
“Can we appreciate how this is PERFECT parenting,” one person wrote. “He explained the sitch, let her make the decision, acknowledge it was a mistake without ever mocking.”
“Sometimes they just need to find out for themselves, good job Dad,” another added.
“Which episode of Bluey is this,” another asked.
“She had to take the second bite to teach u a lesson Dad haha,” one said about Ashlee.
“Strong-willed queen!” another wrote.
This is far from the first time that Neille has let his kids explore the world on their own terms when other parents might lay down the law. For example, in other videos, we see Ashlee getting absolutely covered in mud and exploring wombat holes — and in one case, drinking from a mud puddle.
“Don’t worry all the Karen’s out there she is still alive and almost 4 now the muddy puddle did not kill her or even make her sick,” he writes in the caption. “Although it’s not recommended to let you child do this only country weapons can survive such ordeals.”
“Is that chocolate milk?” he asks her in the video.
“No!” she answers as he laughs.
In another video, he lets Ashlee eat a grasshopper she’s found, and he has a pretty good sense of humor about it.
“Are you eating a grasshopper?” he asks. “Go on, bite its head off! Living off the land.”
“She’s going to have the best immune system out of all of us,” a commenter writes.
Sure, this type of parenting might not be the right fit for every parents, or for every kid. But it seems like for Ashlee, her dad, and their wombat farm, it’s working out pretty well.