Yesterday, Donald Trump Jr. drew a lot of criticism on Instagram after he posted a video of his two younger children kids, 5-year-old Spencer and 3-year-old Chloe, shooting him with Nerf guns. To most, the video just looks like a little bit of fun between father and kids. But commenters dad-shamed on Donald Jr. because in the video Chloe was wearing shorts but no shirt. Honestly, as much as we’d like to dunk on Donald Jr., people need to relax.
The Internet age has empowered a new world of parent shaming. And, while it’s far more pervasive in mommy communities, more than a few famous dads have caught heat from irritate or pretentious commentators who feel the need to remark on how they raise their kids. Commenters, for example, castigated singer John Legend with rude remarks like “She needs no legs then,” after he posted a photo that showed him carrying around his one-year-old daughter Luna in his arms. Motocross rider Carey Hart also got an earful after posting a picture of himself idling on a jet ski with his baby son.
On Don Jr.’s post, the comment section was filled with such remarks as “Teach her modesty. Not too young to start,” “Very cute, but daddy put a shirt on your little girl,” or “All that money … dress your children.”
This video shows Don Jr. spending time with his kids, with all parties seeming thrilled. Nothing that’s happening in this video is remotely sexual. While there are plenty of good arguments for not putting pictures of your naked kids on social media, those reasons are safety based and have nothing to with modesty or money. In fact, between the ages of two to around four years old, kids feel practically zero shame about being naked or what they look like in general. Chances are any lectures on modesty are going to go right over her head, so yes, it is too early to start.
The guy is in the midst of an extremely public divorce with a soon to be ex-wife. While he very much deserves the ire from his wife (he cheated on her. A lot) that ordeal is definitely way harder on his kids than any exposure one of them would get for being topless in an Instagram video at the ripe old age of three-years-old. Divorce is particularly traumatic for kids over three but younger than eleven. Moreover, one that results in less contact between family members, as is likely the case when you have a very busy and high profile father like Don Jr., can make kids feel like they’re missing a piece of themselves.
Now, there were some parents who defended Don Jr.’s post.
“The little girl is three years old. I bet you let your child without a shirt on around your house. She is comfortable in her own home and she is covered with the nerf gun,” wrote one parent. “Seriously you all don’t have anything better else to do than belittle a little girl in her own house.”
Others pointed out that they themselves have had trouble getting their little ones to put on clothes as well. “They are dressed,” wrote a different parent “Anyone who has or had a daughter at that age that’s the deal with them. Mine did it and they turned out perfect.”
In the end, Don Jr. was simply showing a candid, fun moment with his kids. So pump the brakes on the dad-shaming. Besides, there are plenty of other gripes to have with the guy.