Parents Are Beating Their Kids' Stuffed Animals & One Dad Is Taking a Stand
By Maressa Brown
June 25, 2019
Every parent has dealt with this common, patience-testing moment of parenthood: You prepare a meal or snack, and then, your little one downright refuses to eat it. Is this frustrating as a mom or dad? Of course. But does it warrant violence? Absolutely not.
But sadly, some parents have started relying on a strategy that's anything but a positive parenting method when it comes to picky and stubborn eaters: coercing their children into eating by violently beating up their stuffed animals. Yes, really.
The first video to illustrate the upsetting method was posted to YouTube in November, according to BuzzFeed News. Similar clips have gone viral more recently, like one posted to Facebook by a mother in late May who wrote, "I had to try this....OMG IM DEAD."
Now, a dad named Christopher Duett is making headlines for his response video. In his clip, the 35-year-old father of two from Orlando, Florida shows his son refusing a chip. The dad then pretend-feeds his stuffed penguin, which leads to his L.O. successfully enjoying snack time.
Duett told BuzzFeed News that he "couldn’t understand why so many people could find such a tactic humorous or acceptable behavior for a parent to engage in towards a young child. ... The initial videos are problematic, because they create the illusion of effectiveness. But what’s going on behind the scenes of that is that a child of that age is laying the foundation for learning empathy and emotional association, and they are observing behaviors and will mimic them."
In turn, 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. I just wanted parents who were influenced by the other video to consider the approach that I used."
Check out his method.
Since sharing his video on Twitter on June 23, Duett's clip has been viewed over 900K times and retweeted more than 24K times.
Twitter user @ThatOneChick997 summed up the supportive replies: "Wow, it's amazing what an extra 5 minutes of calm, patient, positive reinforcement can do! And look, your kid isn't terrified and he doesn't hate you!"
While seeing violence enacted against a stuffed animal is obviously not the same as paying witness to domestic violence, it still bears noting that kids exposed to emotional volatility and incidents of aggression are at a higher risk of developing a range of emotional and psychological problems. That said, fingers crossed the Florida dad's viral moment has a wide-reaching, positive impact on parents who might think there's merit to the original, truly unnerving videos.