Social media shames 'Bean Dad' for making hungry child struggle to open can of beans
In the age of YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter, many Millennial and Gen X parents are taking to social media to share tips on raising children, and they often pull from their own experiences.
But when a podcaster named John Roderick boasted about the teaching moment he devised by forcing his hungry nine-year-old daughter to spend nearly six hours struggling to open a can of beans, his parenting advice was met with widespread criticism.
According to BBC News, Roderick's daughter told him she was hungry and brought him a can-opener along with a can of beans, asking him to prepare it for her.
He responded by asking her how she thought the can-opener worked and when she said she wasn't sure, the podcaster told audiences he realized "a teaching moment just dropped into my lap."
"Apocalypse dad was overjoyed," he added.
Explaining that he wanted his daughter to learn how to open a can of beans, he went on to say he watched her struggle to open it for six hours.
"She was next to me grunting and groaning trying to get the thing. I should say that spatial orientation, process visualization and order of operation are not things she… intuits. I knew this would be a challenge," he said.
Eventually, the nine-year-old opened the can and ate the beans, he explained.
His tweets were widely shared and met with condemnation that labeled the incident as an example of poor parenting.
"I feel like it's super valuable to teach kids that they're not alone in the world and that there's no shame in asking other people for help and support," wrote journalist Jason Schreier.
Another user suggested Roderick's approach was "ridiculous" - and that he should simply have fed his daughter, and then showed her how to use a can opener.
The Bean Dad story is ridiculous. He should have just FED her, and THEN showed her how to use a damn can opener instead of leaving her hungry for six hours. That's abusive.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) January 3, 2021
She's 9 years old, and some of us don't learn very well when we're hungry, regardless of age. Jeez.
Teacher here.— Apoxon (@apoxon) January 3, 2021
1. Kids learn best when they aren’t hungry.
2. Everyone learns differently and different approaches (eg. A guiding hand) are helpful, especially if/when someone’s struggling.
3. When a child is frustrated to the point of tears, you’ve lost your teachable moment.
On the other hand, some users agreed with the lesson Roderick claims he taught his child.
"This teaches independence and personal growth. He did nothing wrong and in fact made me wish I did more of this," one wrote, while some fans of his podcast suggested that the story about his daughter was written in the voice of a character on his show and therefore should not be taken seriously.
But the majority were staunchly against his methods, and some users even went on to claim Roderick was a proponent of racism, sexism, and homophobia after searching through his previous tweets.