David Beckham has responded to critics who have questioned his parenting skills, after his daughter Harper was spotted using a dummy. A report published on Monday warned that the four-year-old was too old to be using one, and that a dummy could cause speech impediments or dental issues.
In a rare move to address the media report, David posted a message on Instagram, writing that no one had the right to criticise him or his wife Victoria for their decision.
"Why do people feel they have the right to criticise a parent about their own children without having any facts??" wrote David.
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"You have no right to criticise me as a parent," David Beckham wrote on Instagram
He added: "Everybody who has children knows that when they aren't feeling well or have a fever you do what comforts them best and most of the time it's a pacifier so those who criticise think twice about what you say about other people's children because actually you have no right to criticise me as a parent..."
The criticism came after David, 40, and his little girl were spotted out and about in Los Angeles. Harper was dressed sweetly in a pink summer dress and matching flip flops, and had a pink dummy in her mouth.
The controversial item raised concern among some health experts, who warned that a pacifier could damage Harper's teeth or hinder her speech development.
Health experts warned that a dummy could cause dental problems or speech impediments
"You are far less likely to speak if you have a dummy in your mouth than if your mouth is free," parenting expert and former midwife Clare Byam-Cook told Mail Online. "Many dentists will agree that dummy use at this age really is not good.
"David and Victoria seem wonderful parents and I'm sure they give Harper lots of attention but, like it or not, they are role models and lots of people will see this and think that having a dummy at this age is normal when it is not.
"It could be last child syndrome – because she is the youngest David and Victoria could be clinging on to her being a baby."
David's little girl Harper Beckham is four years old
Parenting expert Sue Atkins echoed: "Some parents use them as an easy way to keep their kids quiet, and their language development is impaired by it because they don't have to talk. It delays their vocabulary if they have them too long."
However, David's fans on Instagram were quick to support the retired footballer. "Well said David x," wrote one follower, while another commented, "Harper is a princess and should do whatever she likes. God bless you all."