PARENTS

Parents Support David Beckham Over Dummygate: 'People Are Far Too Quick To Judge Parents'

11/08/2015 10:22 BST | Updated 11/08/2015 10:59 BST

Parents have spoken out in support of David Beckham, after the 40-year-old and his wife were criticised in a Daily Mail article for allowing their four-year-old daughter Harper to use a dummy.

In the article, former midwife Clare Byam-Cook suggesting using a dummy at the age of four would damage a child's teeth and hinder speech development.

Beckham publicly responded to the article saying they had no right to criticise him as a parent - and many people have voiced their agreement with his non-judgemental parenting stance.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of video parenting network Channel Mum told HuffPost UK Parents: “Every child is different, and every child’s reason for using a dummy is different.

"If Harper wants to hang onto her dummy for a short while after toddlerhood, where’s the harm?"

A photo posted by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on


Freegard said using a dummy can provide a feeling of security to help reassure the child, just like having a blanket or favourite toy.

HuffPost UK blogger Zion Lights, who is author of Green Parenting completely agreed.

She said: "David is absolutely right to defend his parenting. We don't know his children, and we don't know how often Harper uses a dummy, or whether it's helping her through personal issues.

"It's no one else's place to comment. People are far too quick to judge parents, who are usually just trying to do their best. We know our children: strangers do not.

"Of course there are some things that it may be better to do or not do, but in the scheme of things, using a dummy at four is not high on the list of 'damaging parenting actions'. So I say well done for fighting back."

Sophia, editor of parenting website MilkDrunkDiary.com, said the fact Beckham referred to using the dummy when his daughter wasn't feeling well or needs comfort just shows he suffers the same challenges as the most parents.

She told HuffPost UK Parents: "It's every parent's prerogative to bring up their child in the way they feel is best, and let's face it - they've done a pretty good job with their family so far.

"David is rarely outspoken on private matters, so this must have been upsetting for him to want to respond."

SEE ALSO:

David Beckham Hits Back At Daily Mail Criticism Of His 4-Year-Old Daughter Harper's Dummy

9 Ways To Wean Your Baby Off The Dummy

Parents also addressed the issue of when children should stop using a dummy and if the article is right in assuming it would cause damage.

Dr Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of Fundamentally Children told HuffPost UK Parents: "Parents are under a lot of pressure and celebrity parents even more so.

"There’s a massive difference between an occasional use of a dummy when a child is feeling under the weather and persistent use of one.

"Even young babies can suffer if a dummy is over-used but depriving children of a means to learn to self-comfort can do just as much harm to their emotional development.

"I advocate a parent-centred parenting approach and unless there’s evidence to the contrary, the Beckhams, just like all parents should be given the freedom to make informed decisions about what’s best for their family.

"The more important issue is to make sure all parents have access to independent expert advice."

Anne-Marie O’Leary, editor-in-chief of Netmums felt that using a dummy at age four was unusual.

She said: "Most experts and the NHS agree dummies are best ditched by the age of one.

"Long-term dummy use has been linked to delayed speech, increased risk of ear and stomach infections and even damage to teeth. So while it may help a child settle and keep the peace for parents, is it worth it?

"David Beckham isn’t the first dad to give it to what his daughter wants, but if you have an older child who still insists on using one, it’s wise to work out a way to help your child drop the habit.

"Some parents go cold turkey and take it away, while others prefer to cut down use over a few weeks or even months.

"The earlier you start, the easier it is to break the habit, so your child won’t be relying on one like Harper when they are about to start school."

david beckham harper

For those who might relate to a child still using a dummy in a similar situation, Freegard offered some advice.

She said: "If you worry your child is 'addicted' to the dummy, try to limit use to quiet time and bedtime, rather than all day. That way you can gradually wean the child off as they grow up and settle better.

"When the time comes for your child to give up the dummy, there are a few clever tactics that work.

"Mums have found getting kids to give it to Santa or plant it in special place such as a grandparent’s garden work well, or you can even exchange it for a gift.

"No teens walk round using one, so rowing about what age your child gives it up is really rather dumb."

David And Harper Beckham