TV presenter Ant Middleton, who puts hopefuls through their paces on gruelling reality show SAS: Who Dares Wins, has defended comments he made about teaching his 10-year-old son not to cry
He denied saying his son shouldn’t ever cry, but said resilience is being “indoctrinated out of us” by modern society.
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Middleton raised eyebrows earlier this month when he appeared on Giovanna Fletcher’s podcast Happy Mum, Happy Baby and said he is teaching his son to have a “stiff upper lip” by avoiding eye contact to discourage him from crying.
Speaking on This Morning, the 38-year-old former soldier said his comments on the podcast were “misconstrued”.
He added: “I teach [my son] to control his emotions, and people will take advantage of your weaknesses. Kids, they can be so cruel, so I just teach him to control them.
“I don’t teach him not to cry – we all cry. I cry. I teach him to hold that emotion to get the job done.”
Middleton said he would rather his son cry at home, rather than being seen in tears by peers who might call him a “cry baby”.
He said it is important not to “go around crying every single day and being pampered”.
“That’s why I talk about that resilience that’s slowly being indoctrinated out of us”, he added. “It’s important to have that bit of resilience.”
Host Holly Willoughby asked if it would be better to encourage other children not to use the term “cry baby” when others showed emotion.
He replied that “you know what kids are like in the playground”.
Middleton said: “There’s no right way of parenting, as long as you know in your heart-of-hearts that I’m doing the best for my son, and my daughter, and my children, then I install what’s worked for me.”
SAS: Who Dares Wins has run for four series on Channel 4, with the most recent the first to feature women.
A recent celebrity edition in support of Stand Up to Cancer saw famous faces including Wayne Bridge, Jeff Brazier and Victoria Pendleton take on tough challenges.