Young kids, toddlers especially, go through periods where they're extremely finicky about food and will refuse to eat anything you put in front of them. It's extremely frustrating for parents, whose most important job in life is to keep those kids alive and thriving. There's even a humorous adult bedtime story about this common parenting problem, You Have to F***ing Eat.
Mealtimes can become a real battleground as willful kids refuse their meals and their desperate parents imagine the inevitable Child Services visit to investigate them for neglect. You gotta get creative sometimes with how you manipulate your stubborn toddler into eating something.That seems to be the sentiment behind a dad's now viral joke about how he gets his daughter to eat, but a lot of people don't think it's very funny.
In the 10 second clip, "Leo" offers some food to his daughter's stuffed animal, then makes the toy shake its head no in refusal. In response, the dad beats the toy senseless as his daughter watches with wide eyes. Then, he immediately offers the food to his kid, who immediately accepts.
It's very clearly meant to be a humorous joke, and I realize that by explaining it I have stripped it of any humor it may have had. But was it ever funny to begin with? That's the heated discussion going down in the replies on the tweet, which has garnered over 95K likes, 26K retweets and over 1,000 comments.
People who defended the joke pointed out that we are seeing only 10 seconds in this dad's life, which he put out there for a laugh, but that doesn't discount the fact others have latched onto, which is that his very young daughter doesn't necessarily see "oh, we're making a funny video for the internet" but instead sees her dad behaving violently toward a beloved toy, seemingly demonstrating what might happen to her if she doesn't eat.
This dad isn't the first parent to document this "parenting hack" to get your kids to eat. In fact, his video is basically a rip-off of one posted last year by another dad who beat up a toy Mickey Mouse after his kid refused a bite of food, after which his son promptly accepted the food.
So, Leo's joke isn't even an original one. Both videos have been labeled as disturbing by many viewers, who point to the look of terror in the child's eyes. Children also tend to mimic behavior they see adults perform, and it's probably not a good message to send to a toddler that a beatdown is a way to respond to somebody saying "no" to you.
Another father, in response to the video last year, showed a better way for using stuffed animals to get kids to eat their food. It may take a few seconds more time and may not be as "funny" but it seems just as effective without inciting terror.
After his kid refuses the nugget, he offers some to the stuffed penguin, who accepts it, then the dad uses penguin's enjoyment to encourage his kid to try the food. While that tweet might not have gone as viral as the one it responded to, I'm guessing it probably went down better with his kid, which is really the important thing, right?
Whether you think people are taking this too seriously or not, kids should not fear that they will face physical harm if they don't obey their parents. Decades of research have proved corporal punishment causes emotional and behavioral problems, no matter how many likes you may get for joking about it on the internet.