Disturbing footage on social media showing parents hitting their children’s toys in an effort to get them to eat their food has sparked quite the reaction.

The videos on Twitter and Facebook involve parents offering food to their child and when they refuse, offering food to their toy.

When the toy does not ‘eat’, the parent will aggressively punch the child’s toy in what seems like an attempt to demonstrate the negative consequence of refusing to eat.

Clinical counsellor and psychotherapist, Julie Sweet, has issued a warning over the violent act that is being shared widely circulated on social media channels, suggesting it could leave children traumatised.

“The impact of doing this to a child is possibly detrimental. This trend could be interpreted as fear-based and may be traumatising for the child,” she told 10 daily.

“Both fear and trauma are not conducive in creating a secure attachment between the primary care giver and child.”

“[It] could also model aggression and violence and set up a reward and punishment framework and a punitive parenting style, which once more may evoke fear within a child,” she said.

She suggests being violent towards a child’s toys to get them to eat could also cause a poor relationship with food, and potentially even lead to eating disorders.

“Food is to provide nourishment to children and not be given under the veil of threat if its not consumed. The messaging here is all wrong,” she told 10 daily.

“I respect meal times can bring frustration sometimes for many parents, however children react better to positive reinforcement as opposed to punishment and threatening behaviour.”

Numerous videos of parents trialling the technique have attracted millions of views and outraged comments from fellow parents.

“The lessons that child is being taught here are really frightening. Violence or the threat of it should not be a tool of coercion,” a commenter wrote.

“That is absolutely sickening. How on earth will the child feel safe now?” asked another.

“Anyone who has studied psychology would know how disgusting this video is,” suggested a third.

Share your comments below

  • I think this is horrible. Scare mongering and teaching children to be rough with there toys and others


  • You are supposed to love your child and try positive action in an attempt to get your child to eat a meal, not scare them so much they are too traumatised to move. It has been discovered the little ones simply want to sit on something comfortable that doesn’t cause discomfort – e.g. pins & needles or other pain in their legs or feet. Their feet meed to be to flat on the floor or on a a suitable foot rest of some type. That has solved the problem with many little ones. Don’t put too much food on their plate / container. I have read many reports about it being overwhelming for youngsters. If a child continuously refuses a particular food maybe it is not something that the flavour is liked. As adults we don’t eat what we don’t like the flavour of.


  • Wow. I for one hope that child services are called to each and everyone of these families. That poor little boys face when she punched his toy – violently punched it. He was scared and fearful. What a way to build trust in your child and show them that you unconditionally love them. They should be absolutely enforced to go to a parenting class to learn how to parent.


  • Not a great idea. The last thing I want to do is encourage any sort of violence.


  • Seems pretty stupid to me – why not just offer a reward if they eat their dinner. My kids know that we will make them stay at the table. We will even hand feed them if necessary so they know they have to eat.


  • I’m gobsmacked!! In what world is this mildly funny? What is this teaching kids? That if others don’t do what they want them to that they’ll bash them up?? WTF!! Grow some brains for god sake.


  • This is sooooooo wrong. If my kids didn’t want to eat something I’d ask them to try one mouthful and if they still didn’t want it that was okay. It was frustrating at times but I would never use this method. I believe it would teach a child the wrong idea. Where do these idiots get these ideas from.


  • WHAAAAAT??? This is not okay. It’s demonstrating aggression and violence…. on a toy! What happens when the child starts hitting his toys and then transferring aggression onto other kids? Definitely no okay. There are so many other ways to get your child to eat. Perhaps role model good eating.


  • Teaching! Oh dear, that only disturbing.


  • Thats a horrible thing to do!


  • That’s just awful. If a child is hungry they will eat. Just don’t let them have any other treats or snacks!


  • I just take the food away and wait till he/she is hungry then re-introduce it. It’s time consuming at first but once they realise that that’s all they are getting and not the treat they hope they’ll get it seems to work out well. Good luck.


  • I think this is disgusting
    Why would you want to scare your child like that and make dinnertime even harder
    Seriously I know how frustrating feeding a child can be but punching something for not eating is only going to make it worse


  • Not funny at all. These actions are so aggressive and harmful. Trying to scare a child into eating is wicked. There are other ways to encourage children, for example, distracting them and or placing an object in front of them to hold and look at, I have found that assists them to eat, for while their focus is on the object, they will open their mouth to eat. People who are doing this to their children are irresponsible and show poor parenting techniques.


  • This is sick. What would you do if you’re the kid sitting there and your parents do that to you? Sick pple.


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