As a parent who's obsessed with ensuring you're raising a child who will grow up to be actually happy and not the faux-positive "everything's just going to work out" type of social-media force-fed psychopathy masquerading as happiness, happy.
And that basically boils down to two things: when you should push your child to do more in a situation, or when to take it easy on them.
And depending on how you were raised and how much you work on your own personality and emotional development, the way you raise your child may be informed, in one direction or the other, based on the way you were raised growing up. Maybe with a little razzmatazz of other influences in your life.
But let's say you're an overachiever who pushes yourself to hit certain milestones in your life: whether it's professionally, physically, or just being the best friend, spouse, or family member that you can be. If you have a kid, you're probably going to want to impart the same hustle mentality to them as well. But when can you push too hard on your child, to the point where it's considered abuse?
For YouTubers Kami and Ben Crawford, it may have been when they had their 6-year-old son run a marathon with them. At least that's what many people are saying on social media, including Olympic Athletes.
It all started on May 1, 2022, when Ben and Kami posted a photo of their son Rainier to social media smiling as he gripped a variety box of Pringles in the grocery store.
The caption read that they had him run a marathon, promising him there would be Pringles around the mile 20 marker that he could munch on. However, when they got to the table area that usually held snacks for runners, it was completely bare. Rainier, tired from running 20 miles as a 6-year-old and having no Pringles to show for it, began crying.
His parents promised him a whole sleeve of Pringles if he crossed the finish line, adding that his emotional outburst was slowing them down. Rainier finished the race and his folks did indeed make good on their vow of getting him the chips.
However, there were a lot of people who took issue with not only the fact that a 6-year-old child was running a marathon, but how his parents encouraged him to finish the race.
Australian Olympic marathon runner Lee Troop didn't name the YouTubers online, however he referenced them in a post that said "everything about this is wrong" and in a follow up response to someone who commented on his tweet said that forcing a child to run a marathon could have long-term psychological effects. And this is coming from someone who runs long distances for a living.
US Olympic marathoner Kara Groucher added tweets of her own that seem to reference Rainier, she wrote that forcing a child to run a marathon "is not good for the child."
"I don't know who needs to hear this but a six year old cannot fathom what a marathon will do to them physically. A six year old does not understand what embracing misery is. A six year who is 'struggling physically' does not realize they have the right to stop and should."
The National Library of Medicine published a study that states "There has not been any significant medical injury [to children] at these events. Children who choose of their own accord to participate in marathon training should be allowed to do so as long as their social, academic, psychological and physiological development is not disrupted."
Runner's World went on to say that there is "no evidence" to suggest that adolescents running marathons will suffer any long-term physical effects as a result. However, many who've commented on the situations, the aforementioned Olympic marathoners included, do state that the psychological damage of bribing a child with Pringles to complete a marathon is a bad idea.
Kami and Ben said that about a week after their Rainier/Pringles post went up on Instagram, they received a visit from Child Protective Services. The agency informed the parents that their child was forced to complete the race "against his will."
The couple went online and criticized the Olympians for using their influence to start a "witch hunt" against them.
Kara rejected this claim, addressing Ben in a tweet online stating that the two corresponded via email and that she was only using his own words from his IG post, namely the fact that the young man was "struggling and crying" to complete the marathon.
After learning of Ben and Kami's post, the Flying Pig Marathon (the race in question that Rainier attended) took responsibility for allowing Rainier to partake in the race, but also stated that the couple were "bandits" insinuating they didn't pay the entrance fee to officially join in it.
Ben and Kami countered by stating "Every member of our family has paid for and registered for every race that we have been allowed."