Sep. 13, 2012 at 1:41 PM ET
When Lisa Christian handed her 4-year-old daughter a fake cigarette and told her "Don't forget to smoke!" on a recent episode of "Toddlers & Tiaras," she had to know the stunt would raise a few eyebrows. But it's unlikely she had any idea it would lead Nancy Grace to devote an entire episode of her HLN show to the topic.
On Wednesday night's episode of Grace's self-titled program, the former prosecutor set her sights on the mom she believes was way out of line.
"I know you were trying to have your daughter mimic the star of the 'Grease' musical, but I believe there are many other possibilities in mimicking her than having her smoke," Grace said.
But Christian still doesn't see anything wrong with her action.
"First of all, it was (Destiny's) first spring pageant, and we just wanted her to be competitive with the other girls," she explained via phone. "Um, to me, pretending is not harming her."
In fact, she insisted that Destiny "is not your typical 4-year-old. She does know the difference between right and wrong."
Grace reminded the mom that cigarettes are illegal for minors, so that message could be blurred, but Christian remained unmoved.
"It was just a prop -- nothing more, nothing less," she shot back. "It was just a piece of paper rolled up."
Grace, who also spoke to experts that supported her negative take on the prop, then asked the mom if she'd put "a fake gun in her (daughter's) hand or a fake machete or a fake machine gun?"
When Christian brought up the time honored kids' game of "cops and robbers" as a rebuttal, Grace wouldn't have it.
"Mine do not play 'cops and robbers,'" she raged. "Mine do not have pretend guns. We don't even say g-u-n because my fiancé was murdered with a handgun many, many years ago."
By the end of the hour, the two were no closer to agreeing about how to raise a tyke -- fake cigarette or otherwise.
Are you surprised the "Toddlers & Tiaras" mom is still defending the fake smoke, or do you think Grace and others are making too big of a deal about the incident? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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