Outcry as ‘bean dad’ forces hungry child to open tin can

A dad in the US who boasted about his parenting skills after telling his hungry nine-year-old daughter to open a tin of beans or go without food has caused outcry on social media.

After six hours the child successfully opened the tin and was finally allowed to eat, he said in now-deleted tweets.

The dad, a podcaster, claimed it was a victory for “good parenting”.

But other parents accused him of neglect, while some suggested he invented the story to get attention.

Twitter users nicknamed the father “bean dad” as the incident caused another heated debate on social media, where parenting methods are a frequent cause of disagreement.

John Roderick, who is also a musician, shared the story on Saturday on Twitter, explaining that it began when his daughter asked him to make baked beans.

After she brought him a tin-opener and can of beans, he asked her how she thought a tin-opener worked, he said.

When she said she didn’t know, he said he realised “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 tin of beans, he said she tried 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 she opened the tin and ate the beans, he explained.

The tweets were quickly shared widely as other users condemned the incident, suggesting it was 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 Mr Roderick’s approach was “ridiculous” – and that he should simply have fed his daughter, and then showed her how to use a can opener.

View original tweet on Twitter

A handful of users agreed with the lesson Mr 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.

Mr Roderick did not reply to media requests for comment but did defend himself on Twitterbefore later deleting his account.

“Six hours is the length of time between meals. Lunch at noon, dinner at six. They’re literally saying child abuse,” he wrote. He added that the backlash was “astonishing. My kid is fine everybody.”

But a woman who said she was a teacher suggested it was a poor way to educate children.

“Kids learn best when they aren’t hungry. Everyone learns differently and different approaches (eg. A guiding hand) are helpful, especially if/when someone’s struggling,” she said.

View original tweet on Twitter

And author Racheline Maltese said that the lessons the child probably learnt were negative.

“Things you taught your kid: food must be earned; disordered eating in the forms of food hoarding and punishing herself by not eating; asking for help is futile,” she wrote.

Some users also accused Mr Roderick of racism, sexism and homophobia after searching through his previous tweets.

However, his podcast co-host Ken Jennings defended Mr Roderick, calling him “a loving and attentive dad”, adding on Twitter: “There’s no axis where any anti-Semitic screenshot represents any actual opinion I’ve ever heard from him.”

On Sunday the podcast My Brother, My Brother, and Me said it would no longer be using Mr Roderick’s music.

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