Toddlers With Dummies: Why All The Fuss Over Harper Beckham?

25 October 2014

Toddlers with Dummies

Certain tabloid newspapers seem to have lost their minds with incomprehension today over the startling discovery that Harper Beckham ‘still’ has a dummy. She’s three years old.

Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone (except perhaps David and Victoria) would care whether Harper has a dummy or not, but then the whole 'issue' of toddlers having dummies seems to be one of *those* topics that gets people - parents and non parents alike - all het up with opinionated fury.

And I can understand why - sort of. We’ve all seen kids walking around with dummies in their mouths well past the stage where that seems age-appropriate, and it’s certainly a bit disconcerting to have a conversation with a child whose words are completely obscured by a dummy dangling from between their (potentially misshapen) teeth. Indeed, I know people who vehemently believe that if a child can walk and talk then they’re way too old to have a dummy.

So they probably wouldn't be too impressed with my daughter. She's over a year old and she still has a dummy. Granted, we try to stick to a pretty strict rule of only using it when she's in her cot but now and again we find ourselves out and about around nap time or bed time, and when tiredness takes hold of her she 'needs' her dummy. I don't feel bad about that. Based on my experience with my older two children, who gave up their dummies of their own volition way before they were a year old, I sort of expected her to follow suit. It doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon and so, despite being a parent to three children, I find myself at a bit of a loss as to where to go from here on the dummy front. I wonder if Victoria Beckham might feel something similar.

But I don't get why we have such an aversion to dummies. Yes, yes, I know all the stuff about the possibility of speech delay and misshapen teeth but I've yet to meet a child who actually has those issues as a result of dummy use. And there are distinct advantages to dummy use too, including a connecting between a lower risk of cot death among babies who use dummies while they sleep.

Granted, that's different to the pictures in the papers of Harper Beckham being carried out of a toy store at the age of three, sucking on a dummy. But after what was clearly an afternoon of fun and quality time with her Mum, maybe the tot was tired and heading for a meltdown. She's three; that happens. Does it really warrant a national media freak out? I think not.

If only we cared about things like the fact that approximately 22,000 children die from poverty around the world every day, as much as we do about the child of a famous couple using a dummy. Never mind dummies not being age appropriate for children over a certain age; I think it's time the rest of us grew up.

Image credit: Flickr/clappstar

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