From bribing them with dessert to enthusiastically praising them for finishing their veggies, there are many strategies moms and dads employ to get their kids to eat—and since having a picky eater is such a common parenting problem, we all love hearing about clever hacks to make it happen. One parent's method, however, is gaining attention for all the wrong reasons.
In a video posted to Twitter on June 19 by user @rudyhernandez_, a dad is seen attempting to feed his baby, the user's nephew, who is sitting in a high chair. As the man raises a spoonful of food to the baby's mouth, the child shakes his head no multiple times.
Then the dad turns to the child's Mickey Mouse stuffed toy that's laying on the table in the foreground. Holding up the doll, the dad attempts to spoon food into its mouth too, and shows the child Mickey has refused to eat as well.
That's when things took a turn for the worst.
"Rejected" by Mickey, the dad suddenly puts the toy down, and starts repeatedly punching it.
Seeing all of this violence go down, the child accepts the food during the dad's next attempt to feed him.
Describing the video, @rudyhernandez_ wrote, "When kids don’t wanna eat ... This is what you gotta do 🥴😂💀 #imdead."
Although the clip, which currently has over 16 million views, was initially posted to elicit laughs, others found the footage to be disturbing.
Twitter user @MontanaDawn2 wrote, "Yeah, emotional abuse is so funny." Another user, @JulieBorowski, commented: "This is instilling fear which may make the child be afraid of the dad and mealtime. Not funny at all."
In response to the backlash, the original poster of the video tweeted the following, defending his cousin's methods and assuring them his nephew is OK.
wait so when your child chooses to be picky or when your child chooses not to eat when it’s “food time” you’re gonna ignore and not feed a child ? 🥴 yikes that’s the problem— wild cherry 🍒 (@rudyhernandez_) June 21, 2019
My nephew saying “cheese” to all your negative comments on the video. He eats normally and is loved by his family. Mind your business and move on if you’re hurt. 😌 pic.twitter.com/CM0Nj7T6b9— wild cherry 🍒 (@rudyhernandez_) June 20, 2019
The little boy may be loved by his family, but the tactic is nevertheless disturbing and unnecessary. The fact that anyone could think of this potentially traumatizing method as a laughing matter is completely beyond us.
Sadly this type of clip is not the first of its kind. In late May, an Ohio mom posted a video to her Facebook account of her using the same strategy with her child, because she found it hilarious.
If you're struggling to get your kids to eat, one dad reminded us all that there's a gentler alternative.
Feeling disgusted by the video of the dad beating his son's Mickey doll, Florida father Christopher Duett responded by posting his own version, but showing positive reinforcement. In his clip, uploaded on June 24, he sweetly convinces his son to eat a chip by feeding his son's stuffed penguin first, and pretending like the doll enjoyed eating it. And it worked liked a charm.
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
Despite the cruelness of the stuffed-animal-beating method, we're glad that there are some people out there, like Duett, who aren't afraid to call parents out about it. We just hope that the next parent who comes across these videos recognizes the potential trauma that this "technique" can cause.