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.

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“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

  • These “parents” are instilling fear in their children. Would this be considered psychological abuse?


  • I’ve seen this done with pets too, just not right


  • As a parent how do you even come up with something like this? What is going through this mans head?!

    • It is actually quite sickening! Maybe parenting classes would be a better solution?


  • Wrong on so many levels and the role modelling is beyond disturbing.
    Violence is never ok and threatening and intimidating behaviour from parents is wrong in every way .


  • Not funny at all!!!!!


  • Acting with violence and creating fear by kids when they don’t eat is so wrong !


  • This is ridiculous!!


  • Never the right way to teach kids to eat by punishment and violence. They will just imitate this behaviour in other activities


  • wtf is wrong with people. How is getting an emotionally immature brain(aka child) to do something under fear or threat a good thing. Seriously, as an adult have you ever enjoyed being threatened into doing something you didn’t want to do? Do you have a positive relationship with someone who threatened you when you said no?!
    I could say more but it isn’t positive and possibly triggering to some, but to keep it simple, your child trusts and loves you, doing this introduces fear & coercion in trusting relationships as ok. This is not something you want as your child grows.
    Please. show your child a proper loving, trusting and respectful relationship and as frustrating as it can be, teach them to make their own good choices including food, without violence.


  • Violence towards or near kids is always wrong and will always do damage.


  • I don’t want to watch the videos. Showing violence as the answer isn’t something I believe in, with kids.


  • I have never even heard of this until today. How terrible!


  • This could really damage a child, and teach them that violence is ok. They look so terrified the poor little things


  • Talk about psychological abuse these parents need some lessons on how to be a good parent


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