Gino D'Acampo has sparked a fierce parenting debate about how to discipline your child if they won't eat their food, with a parenting expert branding his words "potentially dangerous".
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The This Morning chef, who shares three children with wife Jessica, told Annie O'Leary and Wendy Golledge on their Sweat, Snot & Tears podcast that he doesn't believe in "fussy" eaters, and parents who claim their child is picky are in fact the victims of "moron parenting". Self-confessed "strict" parent Gino went on to explain his own methods for getting his children to eat – but fans have been divided about his controversial comments.
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The 45-year-old said: "When people talk to me about fussy children with food, there is no such thing as a fussy child - but there is a thing of moron parenting. I mean idiots.
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"They can't be bothered to see their children go to bed without having any food. I can."
He added: "I'm a very strict dad. I’m always up for a fight. I don’t care with whom, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it's my daughter, because I think the extra fight I’m having today, they pay off tomorrow."
Gino revealed that he has previously served up last night's pasta for breakfast instead of cereal and watched until his children have eaten every last mouthful.
Discussing his old school parenting method, he said: "You only have to do it once. Of course they will eat it, because what they don’t want is to have the same ravioli at dinner time when they come back.
Gino pictured with wife Jessica and their three children
"Not that I'm comparing a dog with a child, but you know it’s the same thing like when you have a little puppy.
"You only have to tell him off and pretend to smack him a couple of times not to do the wee on the floor, and then eventually he’s not going to do a wee on the floor. He’s going to call you to go outside. It's the same thing."
Fans were totally divided about the polarising issue, which has sparked a debate all over social media.
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One said: "Very true. Children these days have too choices & I know a lot of parents who cook several different dinners every day for different children. Once you do this a couple of times it's expected." Another commented: "Good for him - in my house there's one meal on the table eat it don't eat it there's nothing else available".
The This Morning chef doesn't believe in 'fussy eaters'
However, others pointed out things aren't always so simple. One fan commented: "Children on the autistic spectrum? Took me years to start getting him to eat a wider range of foods. And kids will go hungry, some have a will of steel as food is generally the only thing they have control over."
Meanwhile, leading children's nutrition expert Annabel Karmel MBE has responded to Gino's comments.
She told HELLO!: "As a mother of three fussy eaters and someone who has committed their life to helping children develop healthy eating habits, to say I was disheartened by Gino D'Acampo's comments this morning would be an understatement.
"'There is no such thing as a fussy child, there is a thing of moron parenting.' From my thirty years of both personal and professional experience in this field, I can confidently say that this is absolutely untrue.
Gino has served his kids cold leftover pasta for breakfast instead of cereal
"Not only is it factually erroneous but it is potentially dangerous. We should not be bashing parents as 'morons', we should be supporting them. Parents face enough pressures without heaping the blame onto them for reasons beyond their control. There are far more effective ways to deal with a fussy eater that don't demonise either the child or parent.
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"It's been scientifically shown that fussy eating can be attributed to genetic susceptibility. So, when your little one turns their nose up at brussels sprout it could be down to predisposition, as opposed to pickiness, and it certainly isn't due to 'moron parenting'!"
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