People have always disagreed on what is and isn't okay when raising children. Whether the topic is circumcision, breastfeeding, vaccination, sleep training or discipline techniques, passionate opinions exist on both sides of the issue.
For the most part, Moms and Dads of the past were free to parent in the ways that they saw best. No one really commented on each other's choices simply because, most of the time, parenting choices took place in private, and weren't shared with the world. Things changed when things like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter became common ways for moms and dads to share their parenting decisions with the world. Today, everyone has a view into how others are choosing to parent, and are able to comment on whether not they agree.
This day in age, certain moms and dads are scrutinized and judged for the parenting choice they make, and what they choose to share with the world. Many photographs of parents making controversial decisions have gone viral quickly, with people jumping in to either attack or defend the images.
The following 15 parenting pictures have all but broken the internet, as everyone and anyone weighs in with their takes on how the parents depicted are choosing to do things. The world has changed. If you have a social media account in which you share the day-to-day parenting choices you make, the world will judge you, right or wrong. Plus, you never know which photo will go viral next. It might be one of yours.
15 Danish Comedian's Bathtime Backlash
Danish comedian, Torben Chris recently posted a photo of himself bathing with his adorable 2-year-old daughter on Facebook. The reaction to the photo was mixed, with many coming to his defense, and others calling him a pervert for being naked in the bathtub with his little one. Chris is shocked with how much attention the photo has received and has since commented on people's reactions.
"There is nothing wrong with a father who washes his daughter's bottom when she's a child," says Chris. "On the contrary, it is bloody disgusting if nobody does it, and unfair if only the mother does it."
His conclusion? "Don’t dictate that this is inappropriate behavior…it’s natural to be naked with your children. It’s a natural thing to be naked, period.”
Chris's photo has sparked a heated debate on whether or not fathers should be naked with their young kids. Agree or disagree, the fact remains that each individual parent is free to decide for himself or herself how to do things with his or her own child.
14 Outie Outcry
In 2014, blogger Courtney Adamo shared a whimsical image of her daughter, sporting bright yellow rain boots, and lifting up her shirt to take a peek at her toddler tummy. Soon afterwards, her entire account was removed, due to the image being reported as inappropriate.
Adamo shared how she felt about many people's reaction to the controversial photo on her blog, “I thought it was such a sweet photo of my baby girl and her gorgeous, round belly (and outie belly button). And I love that her pride is so evident in the photo – such a sweet and innocent shot."
The mama continued, "She is a baby! It is no different than a photo of a baby wearing a nappy, or a little boy in swim trunks, and to entertain the idea that it is even remotely inappropriate is a disgusting thing in itself."
Inappropriate or not, the image offended some, which seems to be all it takes for a picture to be banned.
13 Victoria's Shocking Smooch
This past July, Victoria Beckham posted a picture on Instagram of herself sharing a lip-lock with her 5-year-old daughter, Harper. The image's caption read, "Happy Birthday baby girl. We all love you so much X kisses from Mummy X."
Almost instantly, the world was up-in-arms over Victoria's choice to kiss her daughter on the lips. Comments on the image poured in. One commenter said, "Eww sorry I'm old fashioned it looks like they making out." Another observed, "It's nice but you're not supposed to kiss you're children on the lips. I'm not trying to be rude but it's true." A third chimed in with,"That's one passionate kiss right there...Hope she gets so passionate with @davidbeckham."
Despite the haters, many also jumped in on the discussion in Beckham's defense. One mom said, "The fact that so many people sexualize a photo of a mother with her child is so disgusting. This is a beautiful photo and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it." Another commenter who took Victoria's side said, "There's plenty of things shared on social media which are 'disgusting' however, the unconditional love between a child and parent is certainly NOT one!"
To kiss your kids on the lips, or not to kiss your kids on the lips? It's a personal decision that may be right for one parent, but not for another.
12 Michael's Bazaar Balcony Behavior
Michael Jackson infamously made headlines in 2002, after he dangled his 9-month-old son, Prince Michael II, over the fourth-story balcony railing of a Berlin hotel. Adoring fans had gathered below, and it appeared the King of Pop performed the stunt in an attempt to connect with them. Some cheered when they saw the baby; others screamed in terror, fearing for the little one's safety. Michael held him around the middle with just one arm, and kept a towel over the baby's head the entire time.
Micheal's bazaar behavior brought out some heated headlines in the tabloids following the incident. The Daily Mirror called him "Mad Bad Dad", the Sun's headline simply read, "You Lunatic," and Sweden's Expressen ran the headline "Jackson Plays With the Baby's Life."
Michael later called his actions a "terrible mistake." In an official statement, he said, "I offer no excuses for what happened. I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."
11 Banned Birth Photos
Australian photographer, Jes Jackson of Itty Bitty Photography, shared a stunning photo she snapped at a home birth in Hobart, Tasmania on Instagram. She captioned the photo: "Look at this gorgeous, squishy baby half born earth side, with amniotic fluid dripping from his nose (this photo has been flipped and cropped in the hope no one can find this offensive)."
Unfortunately, despite her efforts to keep the photo from being overly personal, it was removed from Instagram after being reported and determined too graphic to stay up on the social media platform.
Jackson's reaction? “I was furious,” she shared. “I was so angry and upset. How could someone be offended by this image? Why would someone report it? It was really hard not to take it personally."
Jackson reposted the image, which quickly received many positive comments and over 800 likes. Sadly, the image was removed once again. She contacted Instagram, hoping to receive some sort of explanation, but still hadn't received a response weeks later.
Jackson posted the image once again, feeling the photograph in "no way" went against Instagram's guidelines. She concluded, "I really feel that sharing images like mine can play a part in breaking down the negative stigma surrounding birth culture in our society.” Too bad not everyone feels the same.
10 Britney's Baby On Board
Pop star, Britney Spears sparked major controversy in 2006 after photos were released depicting the new mom driving with her 4-month-old son, Sean Preston, on her lap. No charges were filed against the singer despite the obviously terrible decision the images portray. In a statement to the press, Spears explained the reason for her dangerous behavior as follows:
“I was terrified that this time the physically aggressive paparazzi would put both me and my baby in danger," said Spears. "I instinctively took measures to get my baby and me out of harm’s way, but the paparazzi continued to stalk us. I love my child and would do anything to protect him.”
The agency who snapped the photos claim they were taken in a peaceful manner, and Britney's claims are false. Whatever the truth, the photos brought awareness to the importance of placing infants in car seats while driving.
9 Moms Blocked After Posing Bare
Photographer, Jade Beall is known for capturing the beauty and grace of motherhood in her gorgeous images. In 2015, a picture she posted on Instagram of women with their babies was removed after being reported for containing graphic content. The caption for the photo read: "Happy International WOMEN'S Day, beloved sisters!May we continue to practice RADICAL self-love so that our lives thrive and we role-model LOVE for our children, so that our sisterhood grows, so that we live the lives we dream of living, so that we enjoy these precious bodies that dance our souls NOW!"
This photo is actually one of Beall's more mild ones. In many of her photographs, mothers are completely nude. She has had images removed from Facebook as well, and shared her outrage with Cosmopolitan.com. Beall stated, “Do I think it’s silly that men can have exposed nipples but women cannot as a rule for this platform? Sure. But that’s a cultural thing, not simply a Facebook thing."
She continued, "I would love to post my nude breastfeeding mothers without blurring the nipples on Facebook, but what I would love most is for Americans to redefine their relationship to a woman’s breasts and to praise and celebrate the nude, varying body shapes without having to label them ‘disgusting’ or ‘unhealthy.'”
8 Alyssa's Breastfeeding Frenzy
Alyssa Milano got a lot of people all riled up after posting images of herself breastfeeding her daughter, Elizabella more than once. Each time, haters have responded to her posts with disgust, calling the images inappropriate. Milano spoke up on the subject in an interview with US Weekly.
Milano stated, "I realize there are much larger issues going on in the world. And I don’t want to turn this into a bigger issue than it is but I will say this … breastfeeding my children has been one of the greatest joys of my life."
The mother of two spoke out again to ET, sharing, "Everyone's fine with [Miley Cyrus'] nipples being out. I think people are more comfortable sexualizing breasts than relating them to what they were made for, which is feeding another human." She continued, "When you have these babies, that connection is so meant to be and so profound. You look at them and you go, 'Oh, this is why. This is why I went through everything in my life."
Despite the controversy Milano's photos have instigated, one thing is certain: she's definitely a boss when it comes to defending herself.
7 David's Drunk Cheeseburger Debacle
Former Baywatch babe, David Hasselhoff took some heat after a video surfaced of the actor sloppily attempting to eat a Wendy's cheeseburger. Why is he having a hard time consuming the fast food fare? He's completely and utterly wasted, that's why. The most disturbing part of the footage? The person filming is his daughter, Taylor Ann, who was in her teens at the time.
During the course of the video, his daughter begs him to stop drinking. She states she fears he will lose his job. He isn't very nice back. At one point he tells her to shut-up and offers up some other choice words. After the release of the tape, Hasselhoff temporarily lost custody of his two adolescent daughters.
Hasselhoff has since said of the footage, "When I found out about the tape, I was overcome with an amazing sense of calm. God was basically saying, ‘It’s time to stop’. I knew why Taylor did it: she was afraid for me. I said, ‘That’s pretty cool that my daughter loves me to say, ‘Dad, this is what you look like. We’re scared’. End of story.’"
We're glad this incident was a wake-up call for David. we hope he's learned his lesson and now avoids cheeseburgers when he's tipsy.
6 Shower Shake-up
Artist, Heather Whitten shared an image of a precious moment in her parenting life on Facebook, feeling she had captured the beautiful bond between father and son. Her son, Fox, was sick with salmonella poisoning at the time the photograph was taken. His father spent hours with him in the shower, attempting to lower his fever, and rinsing away vomit and diarrhea as it came.
Whittington shared of this sweet instance, "As I sat in the shower with the two of them I was just overwhelmed with the scene in front of me. This man. This husband and partner and father. He was so patient and so loving and so strong with our tiny son in his lap. His whispers of reassurance to Fox, that he would be ok and that Thomas would take care of him were so steady and so honest.”
The picture got over 43,000 reactions on Facebook, and was shared over 8,000 times before it was removed by the social media site. Some said it was too graphic to be shared, others felt it was an exquisite depiction of a father's love that should never have been taken down.
5 Ryan's Babywearing Bungle
A photo actress, Blake Lively posted of her dapper husband, Ryan Reynolds toting his tot in a baby carrier garnered over 336,000 likes, but also caused a major outcry. Many fans took to the comments to advise the new parents that their daughter James was not being worn properly.
Concerning the photo, Ryan told Matt Lauer on a visit to the Today Show, "The baby's not properly secured in the vessel that I'm wearing there...I'm a first-time dad, and that is not the first mistake I've made. I can guarantee you it won't be last. I'd never used that particular carrier before. Every other time has been perfect."
The photo has helped bring awareness to the fact that baby-wearing is a wonderful practice, but can also be extremely dangerous for a little one if not done properly. All parents make mistakes, even famous ones. The caption Blake attached to the photo that got so much negative attention is just adorable: "Since the day our baby was born, I've felt so strongly in my heart that you were most likely the father. #ILoveYouSoMuchItsSilly."
This is a good reminder that every parent is just doing their best, and learning as they go It's admirable that Ryan was willing to publicly admit his mistake and own up to the fact that no one is perfect, though he's pretty darn close.
4 Alicia's Mouth-to-Mouth Mothering
Alicia Silverstone is known for being a "crunchy" mom. She sparked controversy when she posted a video on YouTube of herself feeding her son, Bear Blue, in an unconventional way. Basically, the video shows her chewing up food and spitting it into her small boy's mouth. Yum! Many attacked the actress, saying the practice was unsanitary and disgusting.
Alicia responded to the backlash in a Question and Answer session that followed a screening of Clueless. Silverstone explained, "People have been feeding their kids that way for thousands [of] years. It’s a weaning process. Honestly, when I posted the video I was not thinking, so maybe I was like Cher [her lead role in Clueless]! I think it’s adorable and it makes me laugh every time he does it."
She continued, "He attacks my mouth and I think it’s adorable. He also knows how to use his hands and he also eats regular food so when babies are weaning, he still breastfeeds. Some people think that’s disgusting too which is insane,”
To each their own. This practice has been determined to be dangerous for children by some medical professionals, as mouths contain many different types of bacteria, and feeding children in this manner could be a way to spread disease. Not judging; just saying.
The late Steve Irwin, a.k.a The Crocodile Hunter, never had a problem facing dangerous predators. Things got a bit more controversial when he didn't seem to have a problem with his one-month-old baby boy facing the gaping jaws of a hungry croc either.
In 2004, images were released of Irwin feeding a huge crocodile with one had, and cradling his baby boy, Robert with the other. Many called his behavior reckless and outrageous and questioned whether or not he was fit to be a father. After all, it's one thing to choose put your own life at risk, but quite another to risk the life of an innocent infant.
Irwin was spoken to by Australia's department of children's services, but no charges were brought against him after the incident. Little Robert, also known as Bob, went on to feed crocs frequently in the same enclosure pictured above after his father's death. Irwin tragically passed away in 2006 after being stabbed in the chest by a sting ray barb.
2 Breastfeeding Unrest
Melissa Jean Wilbraham is an Australian photographer. Her business, Melissa Jean Photography, specializes in shooting images that depict the beauty of motherhood. Instagram removed her account after she shared images of mothers breastfeeding.
Jean took to Facebook after her photos were taken down, sharing that the incident happened just in time for National Breastfeeding Week. She posted, "How ironic that the very day 'World Breastfeeding Week' began, my business was removed from Instagram. There will always be sad humans who report my images but I will NEVER let this stop me celebrating & normalizing the miracle of life heart emoticon #bringbackmelissajeanbabies #bringbackmelissajean."
Jean didn't back down, and eventually got her Instagram account reinstated. She also helped to start a conversation about the stigmas surrounding breastfeeding and giving birth. As with many who are brave enough to continue to post photos despite backlash, she is one woman who is helping others see the beauty in the love a mother has for her child. She is also assisting in putting a stop to the notion that giving birth and breastfeeding should be kept out of sight.
1 Baby North's Eyebrow Outcry
Kim Kardashian, Instagrammer extraordinaire and reality show diva, came under fire after various pictures of her daughter, North, caused fans to question recent changes to the child's eyebrows. Many speculated Kim had waxed, tweezed or lasered her baby's brows.
Older pictures depicted North with a slight unibrow, while more recent ones revealed brows that seemed to have been tampered with. Kim vehemently denied the accusations and spoke out on the subject with the following: "Do people really think I would wax my daughters eyebrows so young? Come on, I'd wait until she's at least 2 1/2! I'm kidding!!! Its pretty sick for people to insinuate that I would wax my daughters eyebrows. They are thick, natural and amazing!"
Next time you are tempted to judge another parent, remember that all of us make mistakes. Being a mom or a dad is the most difficult job in the world. All parents do dumb things. Some do controversial things. Just remember to think twice before posting pictures on the internet. You never know who's watching, and what the next picture will be that has the parenting world up-in-arms.