Holly Willoughby and Ant Middleton clash over parenting and whether kids can cry

SAS hardman Ant Middleton met his match on This Morning as he clashed with Holly Willoughby over whether it was okay for kids to cry.

The 38-year-old former Army man had suggested that the country was becoming "mentally weak" by pandering to children but it riled Holly, who had a different view on parenting.

Father-of-five Ant had told his 10-year-old son Gabriel that he couldn't cry at school, much to Holly's disgust.

Speaking to This Morning hosts Holly and Phillip Schofield, Ant said: "The other day my son came home from school crying and he said that everyone at school had called him a cry baby.

"And I said 'Listen son, keep your emotions in and come home and cry on me. Tell me about it. I’ll help you out and tell you what to do'.

"It's important that we do control our emotions, if we went around crying every day and being pampered… It's that resilience that is being docked out of us, it's important we have that bit of resilience.

Mother-of-three Holly, 38, was not on the same wavelength. She hit back: "The other way of looking at it would be to tell the other children to stop calling him a cry baby, that would almost be a better way of looking at it."

Ant agreed to a certain extent: "Of course, but you know what kids are like in the playground.

"There’s no right way of parenting. As long as you feel in your heart of hearts that you are doing the right thing by your son, and my daughter, and my children."

Ant's comments follow on from those he made during an appearance in Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast.

On there, Ant controversially said: "I try and make sure he controls his emotions, I do say to him 'Son, you're a little man now, have a stiff upper lip'.

"I avoid eye contact because the moment he sees me eyes he will start crying, but if it was my daughter I would probably run over to see if she is okay."

Ant was more specific though when clarifying his thoughts on crying, insisting to Holly and Phil that he was speaking about when his son is involved with Muay Thai fighting.

Ant insisted: "When Mummy takes him and he looks over to her, she pampers him and he breaks down in the ring.

"When I take him, he does a lot better. He feels a lot more energised and he wants to go back in the ring. And that’s because I teach him to control his emotions.

"People will take advantage of your weaknesses. Especially kids, they can be so cruel.

"I don’t teach him not to cry, because we all cry, I cry… But you need to hold back emotion to get the job done.

"As a parent, I try to do what has served me well and instil that into my children."

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