Christopher Duett of Orlando shared a viral “positive reinforcement” feeding tactic in response to several popular videos showing parents beating up their children’s stuffed animals to trick them into eating.
In the video, the 35-year-old father of two shows his son Warren how his toy penguin enjoys eating the food by pretend-feeding the toy, leading the little boy to want to try it himself.
Hey dumb fuckers using stuffed animals to exhibit negative reinforcement to get your kids to do something, watch this... pic.twitter.com/sLmL5NM5qS— Christopher Duett (@BethuneTheory) June 23, 2019
Duett told BuzzFeed News that 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.” Though he hadn’t tried the method before, he was certain there was a way for parents to get their children to eat without using violence or fear in any way.
The video Duett is talking was originally posted by @rudyhernandez_ on Twitter nearly a week ago, where it racked up over 300,000 likes and 16 million views. In it, an uncle beats up a Mickey Mouse doll in front of his stunned nephew to shock the little boy into eating his food. “When kids don’t wanna eat… this is what you gotta do,” @rudyhernandez_ captioned the video, alongside a laughing emoji.
Thousands were disturbed by the video, calling it “very disturbing“, “disgusting,” “not f—king normal,” and “child abuse,” to list a few. One woman wrote, “My baby niece was barked at by a dog. It meant no harm, didn’t hurt her, but even now 6 years later, she’s terrified of dogs. Because children’s worlds are small, and events we think of as unimportant hold significance to them. Please think about that.”
But others still think the video is funny, arguing that the baby’s stomach was “still full” and that that the man in the video “didn’t hurt the baby at all.” Some even made memes out of video screenshots.
Duett was in the former group, telling BuzzFeed News, “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.”
This isn’t the first time a video encouraging parents to try this feeding “technique” has gone viral across social media. About a month ago, a woman shared a similar video on Facebook, where it was watched over 63 million times and shared over 1 million times. “I had to try this….OMG IM DEAD,” the video was captioned.
I had to try this.... 🤷♀️🤷♀️OMG IM DEADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😛😛😛😛😋😛😛😛Posted by Vet Fikes on Tuesday, May 28, 2019
“I’m far from a psychology expert but a little bit of reading and common sense can easily help any parent understand why it’s wrong,” Duett told BuzzFeed News.
In the meantime, people all across Twitter and Facebook continue to debate the effectiveness and potential psychological and emotional harm this feeding “hack” might cause.
Also I’m getting a lot of attention and credit for this, though this should be the standard & not the exception. Truth be told, my wife and I are privileged to raise our kids together. Without my partnership with her, I wouldn’t be as good of a man I am now. Be good to your kids!
— Christopher Duett (@BethuneTheory) June 23, 2019