Father's Response To His Toddler's Failed Attempt At Pouring Milk Sparks Parenting Debate

There's no crying over spilled milk in this household.

Toddler failing to pour milk into a bowl of cereal @readersdigest / TikTok

A viral video from a father shows his young son, Warren, attempting to pour liquids into a bowl. Sounds like a pretty simple and easy task to perform, right? Even a toddler should be able to do it.

Well, this little guy failed on his first attempt, and the internet went wild.

Although some jokesters laughed because Warren failed a simple task, this could mostly be attributed to a form of humor that relies on the absurdity of insulting a toddler’s inability to pour liquids more than actual anger. No, the real conversation here is the father’s reaction to Warren’s failure.


Instead of being angry with the mess Warren made, his dad was supportive when he failed to pour the milk.

Truthfully, Warren was set up for failure from the start. Despite the mess that was created, however, his father was largely supportive of his mistake — something that surprised many people in the comments of the video.



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The initial pour that Warren’s father expected from him was on a much higher elevation than he seemed used to lifting things. Not only that, but the container that the milk was being poured from was not your ordinary pint of milk — it was a water bottle that would likely be a confusing contraption for toddlers.

There were also cabinets in Warren’s way! As soon as the toddler pulled the bottle over the bowl, its path was obstructed by the cabinets and most of the milk started pouring out onto the floor in front of the counter where the bowl of cereal lay.

Thankfully, Warren was able to adjust, but only enough for the last drops of milk to land into the bowl. Warren’s father was proud all the same, saying, “Oh! Good job, Warren! Good try, okay?” while laughing a little at the clear mess he’s made. There’s no crying over spilled milk in this household.

Stacking the odds in his favor on Warren’s next encounter, he sat him in a chair with a table in front of him that he could easily reach. The water (which is less difficult to clean up) was inside of a smaller sippy cup that could easily be lifted with toddler strength and there were no cabinets in the way this time.


Photo: @imwarrenkim / TikTok

Although a few drops of water fell out of the bowl (a mistake that highly skilled servers still make at restaurants), Warren largely succeeded in his attempt. “Good job!” his father parroted once more, praising his son for a job well done.

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Praising his son for his mistake helped set him up for the next success.

Warren’s father praised him for the effort he put in and for trying. According to Carol Dweck, a psychologist and professor at Stanford University who spoke with CNBC Make It, this will help Warren develop a growth mindset. 

A “growth mindset” is the idea that abilities can be cultivated through effort and perseverance. By praising Warren’s attempt, Warren was confident that he could continue to learn, adapt, and eventually succeed thanks to the knowledge of his failure.

Not only did he praise Warren’s effort, but he didn’t get angry when Warren caused a mess with the spilled milk. Of course, getting milk all over the floor wasn’t the goal, but instead of getting angry or punishing his son for making a mess, he was calm and understanding.

Warren's father seems to do this very often too, as his TikTok page has many videos uploaded by he and his wife training their two kids together. They're exhibiting what's known as "positive parenting" by continuing to train their kids and set them up for success.




In a separate post, Warren's father challenged him to successfully complete the entire process: pouring the cereal AND the milk into the bowl. By continuing to guide and teach his kids with a positive, loving attitude, Warren's father is setting him up for success.

The comments on the original video were less calm and understanding than Warren's father. One person wrote, “I'm gonna be a horrible parent if this is good parenting,” as others commented how upset they would have been if their child spilled all this milk and made a mess.


What they don’t understand is that this toddler is learning and is likely going to mess up, so being angry with the learning process would only prove fruitless in the long run.

Instead, Warren and his father should be praised for a job well done and a lesson in how to pour cereal (the right way). Because parents should praise the effort and not the outcome.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.