Dad Slammed for Filming Daughter's 'Traumatizing' Trip Through Car Wash

car wash toddlerThere comes a point in everyone's life in which they find going through the car wash cool. But until that point, the car wash is flat-out terrifying. It's a lightless, noisy machine of a room where giant floppy, sudsy monsters try to get into your car so they can swallow you whole. Horrifying.

Most kids are freaked out the first time they go through the ol' car wash, despite the fact that mom or dad go with them, and one dad, Max Gibbons, happened to catch his adorable daughter's reaction on film.

No, she didn't like it. Yes, there were tears. And yes, her parents put it on YouTube.

Check it out:

Kind of adorable, kind of ... sad? When it comes to videos like these -- videos in which a child is sad, scared, upset, drugged up -- we're a nation divided on whether it's cute and funny, or cruel and exploitative. A lot of the comments on this video are from people who find the video sweet. But, because this is the Internet, there are some of the other variety, as well.

One commentor wrote:

Why would anyone find this acceptable, the fact that this is recorded and placed on youtube reflects the mind set of the parent, who clearly knew what suffering this would cause. Is this not just cruel or are viewers happy to see a child suffer like this?

While another said:

This is not cute, she is absolutely petrified, her body is clearly shaking with fear.

And yet another remarked:

This is sick....The child is utterly terrified of the car wash and you stupid STUPID people put her in the car and RECORD her terror...what the hell is wrong with you...

I reached out to Gibbons to see what he thought of the backlash, and here's what he had to say:

As a new parent, you realize pretty quickly that everyone seems to have an opinion about the “proper” way to raise a child. Combined with the anonymity the Internet provides, I was expecting plenty of negative feedback. You just filter the crap out — smile and nod like you would if someone commented on your parenting in a line at the grocery store. It seems like those who actually know us personally absolutely adore the video.

Despite the fact that you can't win doing anything with your kids when you put it on the Internet (seriously, film your child eating a lollipop and some yahoo will threaten to call CPS on you), is this a little, well, not nice?

I don't doubt for a second that this little girl's mother and father are good parents and kind people, but I probably wouldn't film my daughter in a situation where she's scared. (Partially because it's not my style; partially because I'm a wuss). It's a different school of thought, and no, I'm by no means saying that I'm a better parent (maybe you are? maybe your kid will grow up to be tough while mine will be scared of everything?). But for me, personally, I wouldn't do it. And it's more about the filming than putting it up on YouTube. Something would just feel off to me about holding a camera in my daughter's face when she was afraid -- especially if there was no one there to comfort her, as Gibbons' wife was while he was filming. (There are plenty of videos out there like that.)

I would never write a nasty comment about this sweet little girl's parents on a blog or on YouTube, just because, as I said, this isn't something I would do. Because someone's parenting style isn't the same as mine, I'm fully aware it doesn't make them a bad parent. We're much more nuanced than that, and moreover, I think we all need to be more accepting of each other's styles (yes, including myself). Because what does make us crappy parents and bad examples for our kids is harshly judging someone every time they disagree with you.

What do you think of parents filming their crying kids and putting it on YouTube?


Image via Max Gibbons/YouTube


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AliPa... AliParker

She didn't even cry. There were no tears. And they both comforted her numerous times. They calmly talked to her and the mother gave her her hand multiple times. I think the people upset by it are being too sensitive. 

Caprice-Simone Ord

You see, in some ways i find this awful but in others ways i think kids have to, at some point or another get over their fears. Her parents DID comfort her multiple times, it is not like they just shoved a camera in her face while she was scared, yes she was shaking and yelping, but maybe that is just the way she expresses not knowing something. I don''t think her parents are bad people at all, i hate the car wash still and i'm 18, and to be honest if you put me in one right now i would probably scream and cry, but at the end of it the little girl seemed happy that she had done it and had a beaming smile on her face.

Hello07 Hello07

By the comments written in this article I thought I was going to see a child flippin' the duck out.

This was not bad at all.'y goodness people will complain about anything.


People got upset over this? I think the kid was a champ, she conquered a fear of the unknown.People chill out!

Snapp... SnappleQueen

Sanctimommies who get upset over stuff like this are morons.

Jody Alton

This ranks up there with the people who were ready to commit murder over the parent who let the toddler steer a car in a parking lot. Come on.

Christina Tracy

My guess is this is the first time she had ever been to a car wash, they may not have known how she was going to react.  The fact that the parents take the time to inform her of what is next "look there's the soap, there's the brush, we're safe in the car, it's ok" goes to show that they aren't just trying to "traumatize" her.  Her mother constantly gave her her hand letting her know everything was ok.  She has parents she can depend on to help her through "scary" moments, and I guarantee when she is older and looks back at this video, she is going to laugh at it.

Kathy Martin

there is clearly a line as to what is acceptable or not. While she was scared, she had a blanket to cover her eyes, mom was talking to her throughout, and she realized that her fear of the unknown was in fact, nothing to fear. She had a sense of accomplishment when it was over, she was so proud to have survived it. And I bet she will ask to do it again. I have grandchildren - the smallest is 2 - and I tell them that we would NEVER put them in a situation where they could be harmed. This video was not as bad as some of you made it out to be. She proved she is a big girl and while there is ""crying" I never saw tears.

rlfra... rlfrazier

I agree with ALL of the previous comments on here. I was able to find the cute in this because it is sooo obvious that her parents love her. My husband & I have recorded our babies reactions to things & it was never to traumatized but to capture a moment of their little lives. I genuinely have no idea why anyone would make a mountain out of a molehill with this video. & like a previous mommy said, you can clearly see the pure joy on that child's face when she got thru it. She feels like she accomplished something & was brave. Her parents gave that to her along with support, completely invaluable. ♡ she's adorable. ♡

Beth Rice

I had taken my youngest child. I HAVE 5 total thru the car wash a number of times WE LIVE next to the car wash. never had a problem when she was 2 we had tubes put in her ears and 2 weeks later i had to wash the car so we went thru the car wash. And she reacted the way this little girl did. Was i doing it to be mean NO did i think she would react that way NO. I took her thru a lot after that and she reacted the same way. And then I took her last week (she is now 4) and She laughed and told me this is cool all over again. Do i think the parents were trying to hurt her, NO. did they do something wrong video taping NO they were in their own car and torturing the child. Obviously the child had reacted the same way once before in order for them to think to tape. Let US PARENTS share our child's good and bad with people with out being criticized.

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