On Pranking Your Children

Our children need us to be someone to trust when the world can't be trusted.

Heather and Mike Martin of DaddyOFive
Heather and Mike Martin of DaddyOFive (photo: via YouTube)

A Maryland couple have become the center of an online controversy after pulling vicious pranks on their children and posting them on YouTube.

In a recent video on the dad's YouTube channel, DaddyOFive, the mom holds up a bottle of magic disappearing ink and playfully announces that she's going to squirt it all over the carpet in her son's room and blame him for the mess.

She suddenly calls her 10-year-old son (with a string of expletives) to his room and begins screaming at him. "What the [bleep]!" she screams over and over. The boy, desperate and confused, protests his innocence, yelling, "I didn't do that!" and bursts into tears. Then his older brother get some of the blame laid at his feet and soon enough he's crying as well. The dad lambasts the children in a full throated roar.

And after the insanity reaches its crescendo, the parents finally admit that it was all just a big and heartless prank. The children, however, are still too upset to think any of this is funny. The dad just says, "It's just a prank bro" over and over as if that explains it all. You see, the Dad runs a YouTube channel called "DaddyOFive" and this is how he earns his living. So he's incentivized to pull ever more vicious pranks on his children. It's sad. Horrible.

The video has some labeling the way the children are being pranked as child abuse. I can't disagree. As a father of five, this kind of thing is so foreign and repulsive to me, not just because I fear the damage this couple is doing to their children because they clearly prize the money accrued from their YouTube channel over the happiness and trust of their children but the fact that so many are defending their behavior.

I fear that we're forgetting that children are not just roommates. They're not just tiny buddies. As parents, we have a responsibility to our children. I think that gets missed sometimes. Their flippant regard for their children's trust is disturbing.

It seems to me that in time the world will take its opportunity to disillusion our children, hurt them for its own amusement. The world will punk them and prank them soon enough. As parents, we don't need to take part in it. And we certainly shouldn't be profiting from it or delighting in it. The world doesn't need us to take the lead. But our children do need us to be someone to trust when the world can't be trusted. Your children need to know they can count on you. They need to know that no matter how little the world thinks of their feelings, you prize them. We need to model God's love for them; a tall order. And there are times when we all fall short but it shouldn't be on purpose, it shouldn't be profited from, and it shouldn't be encouraged or defended.