While parents may think it's harmless, the shocked and distressed children end up eating mostly out of fear of having the same thing happen to them.
Ask any parent what the most difficult part of their routine is and most of them will say that it's getting their toddler to eat. It's tiring, exhausting, and it makes you try every trick in the book just so that your child eats up their meal on time. Now, parents are trying out a new trend that has raised quite a few eyebrows. Videos of parents trying this new trick are making the rounds on the internet.
When their child refuses to eat their food, parents first pretend to feed the child's favorite stuffed animal and then beats the toy up, which in a way makes their child think that there will be a brutal punishment that follows when they refuse to eat.
In the videos shared by parents, most of the kids look visibly shocked by what they just saw their parents do and end up eating the food out of pure fear. Quite understandably, many have called it 'violent' and 'traumatic'.
One man posted on Twitter and said, "When kids don’t wanna eat... this is what you gotta do..."
Calling it "disturbing", an early childhood consultant, Julie Romanowski said that the trend is “more of a psychological punishment.”
“To have anybody beating anything for any reason is a hard ‘no’ when it comes to children,” Romanowski told CTVNews.ca. Children, especially at a very young age, soak up the words and actions that they see their parents and older siblings do around them.
“Kids absorb everything,” Romanowski said and added, “I would think that a majority of children would probably think, ‘Oh gosh, that’s coming to me next or one day.’”
The last thing that a child would want to perceive about their parents is that they would be willing to be violent, especially to them or anything that they hold dear in their young, early days. Little ones share a simple, loving relationship with their stuffed toys; they go to sleep cuddling their toys and want to sit next to them during play time. Seeing those very stuffed animals that are dear to them being attacked can be quite traumatic.
Although parents might get their child to comply for the moment, it could be counterproductive in the long run and hamper their development. They may think that they're not laying a finger on their child, but sometimes, you can hurt your kids emotionally without even touching them.
We wanted to try out that stuffed animal truck that made babies eat their food. 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/pL5InFiLVH— Sehnya 🤟🏾 (@Sehnyaa) June 19, 2019
Romanowski, who understands the frustration a parent might feel while feeding their kids, also said, “Children learn through positive role modelling, repetition, being guided -- not forced or punished.”
He had the doll do exactly what the kid did then beat the doll. So now the child thinks if they don't eat he will do what he just did to the doll to them. He didn't hurt the kid but it was still in a way a threat. There's better ways to try and get your child to eat.— Sheriden⚧ (@_LittlexBlue_) June 21, 2019
It's best to make children positively understand why food is essential for them, letting them know that even if they don't like it, their health depends on it. Positively reinforcing their child's behavior after every meal would also help. However, using methods like torturing your child's favorite teddy can even develop aggression in the child. What it's teaching children is that “If you don’t do what I say, something bad is going to happen to you, your teddy or whatever,” Romanowski explained and added, “The long-term effects are huge and it’s a very negative impact.”
The child can grow up to use similar violent methods to get what they want and make them exhibit aggressive behavior. It could be the “foundational basis of bullying.”
While some parents decided to try the trend on their own child, others were completely against it. Karen Ingala Smith, CE of charity supporting women subjected to sexual and domestic violence, who also runs CountingDeadWomen, said, "The lessons that child is being taught here are really frightening. Violence or the threat of it should not be a tool of coercion."
No but he's going to behave in a way right now that will result in him fearing for his safety; having less trust in the people raising him and that will have effects on his current development. Just because you don't remember your early childhood doesn't mean it doesn't count— Kaoruko Apologist (@the_greatbard) June 20, 2019
Not only that- dad just beat up the baby's mate Mickey, for no reason. At that age i thought my toys were alive. Pretty sure i wasnt the only one. This behaviour is sick and extremely idiotic, kids don't think like adults do!! Everything is bigger and sharper in a child's mind— Awkward Tarsier (@Alien91) June 21, 2019
You can see his face and he’s absolutely terrified. Also what happens when this kid starts going to school and sees something that just reminds him of this? Either going to be crippled by it or become super violent— Dr Flapjacks (@putterjoe) June 21, 2019