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Warning Over Viral Videos Of Parents Punching Toys To Get Kids To Eat

Disturbing footage has surfaced on social media, showing parents and carers viciously punching their children's toys in an effort to get them to eat their food.

The videos --- shared 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 carer 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.

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"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.

The clip that instigated the trend was posted by Twitter user, Rudy Hernandez, earlier this month, who claims he used the tactic when his nephew didn't want to eat his food.

The video, captioned, "When kids don't wanna eat... this is what you gotta do #I'mDead", currently has 304 000 k likes and 116 000 retweets.

Users were quick to comment, with the post accumulating over 6,000 comments, many labeling the trend as "psychological abuse", "disgusting" and "traumatic".

"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.

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"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.

A second viral video posted by Facebook user and registered nurse, Yvette Fikes, showing the 35-year-old using the technique on her son, has has 325 000 reactions, 1.1 million shares and 234 000 comments.

She wrote that she wanted to try the technique and can be seen to be laughing in the video when it "works".

"Anyone with kids that's doing this is in my eyes no kind of parent at all. This is traumatising for the child your leading them to believe if they don't eat that you as the parent are going to beat them," a user commented.

"The parents need a visit from child protective service. If I was to see this kind of parenting in public rest assured I would have a few choice words for you."

In response to the feeding technique, Twitter user, Christopher Duett, posted his own take, demonstrating a calm and positive technique to get his son to eat his food.

He captioned the clip with, "Hey dumb f***ers using stuffed animals to exhibit negative reinforcement to get your kids to do something, watch this..."

"Wow it's amazing what an extra 5 minutes of clam, patient, positive reinforcement can do! And look, your kid isn't terrified and he doesn't hate you!" a user said.

"Now this is parenting I can get behind. I was big mad when I saw the dude getting his child to eat out of fear of being hurt like his stuffed animal. THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!" added another.

Julie Sweet from www.seawaycounselling.com.au. Image: Supplied

Long-term, Sweet 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."

Featured image: Twitter/Facebook

Contact the author vtodoroska@networkten.com.au