It’s difficult to decide what’s more unsettling: a parent beating up their child’s stuffed toys to get them to eat, or posting a video of it to get laughs on the internet. We’re fine with concluding that they’re both equally nauseating. We get it, mealtimes can be especially frustrating, but resorting to violence? Not the answer … Obviously. After a video of a man punching his nephew’s stuffed Mickey Mouse to coerce him to eat went viral, other parents are trying out the tactic.
In the video, which has over 16.2 million views, the man is seen trying to feed the toddler, who refuses. He then tries to feed the Mickey Mouse toy and when the toy also “refuses”, he punches Mickey repeatedly. The toddler is clearly stunned, then takes his food with no hesitation. “When kids don’t wanna eat… this is what you gotta do,” user @rudyhernandez_ captioned the video along with laughing emojis.
— wild cherry 🍒 (@rudyhernandez_) June 20, 2019
It’s intended to be funny, but this method is obviously extremely harmful. Not only could children become fearful of their parents (because they think they’ll be beaten if they refuse their food), but their emotional development could be threatened. Not to mention the damage this could do to a child’s relationship to food. Other adults joined in on the scary viral trend, but many are calling out its dangers, with some even labeling it as “actual child abuse.”
Christopher Duett, a 35-year-old father of two, decided to take a stand. In a response video, Duett is seen “feeding” his two-year-old son Warren’s stuffed penguin, who “enjoyed” the food. Warren then tried it for himself. Duett tells Buzzfeed News that he wanted to “show that there are other effective methods to having a child comply without the potential of causing any damage to their emotional development.”
Duett ends the video with a giant thumb’s up to the camera, as if to say, “Look! Parenting without introducing violence. What a thought.”
Hey dumb fuckers using stuffed animals to exhibit negative reinforcement to get your kids to do something, watch this… pic.twitter.com/sLmL5NM5qS
— Christopher Duett (@BethuneTheory) June 23, 2019