Thursday, February 3, 2011
Have You Hot Sauced Your Kids Today?
There's a news item going around about a mother of 6 in Alaska who was at her wit's end with her adopted 7 year old son and poured hot sauce in his mouth for lying to her about pulling three discipline cards in class. She made him hold it in his mouth as she continued to berate him for lying, and then proceeded to put him under a cold shower to punish him for his bad behavior at school. Before she carried out her bizarre forms of discipline, she interrogated him in the hall and asked him why he lied to her about pulling the three cards at school. Through his sobs, he said "Because I did not want to get in trouble." Then she asked him what is the punishment for lying. "I get hot sauce." And what is the punishment for pulling cards at school? "A cold shower." I watched in horror as she not only made him hold the hot sauce in his mouth, but even told him to swish it around. Then my heart broke as I heard him cry as the shocking cold water hit him in the bath tub while his mother continued to yell at him and make him repeat what his offenses were. And all filmed by her daughter!
Did this mother ever stop to think that her unusual way of punishing her son was probably more of a cause for his behavior than a deterrent? What seven year old boy goes to school and thinks, "Now I don't want to pull a discipline card today because that means I'll get a cold shower at home. And if I do happen to mess up, I better not lie about it because then I'll get hot sauce on top of it." If that kind of terror was waiting for me at home, I'd do whatever I could to avoid it as well. Seven year old boys mess up sometimes, but one sample of this kind of discipline would make any kid start telling lies. That's all he knows to do to protect himself.
I couldn't fall asleep after viewing that atrocity last night. Yet, in a way, I was glad I saw it, as uncomfortable as it was to witness, because it made me reflect on my own parenting. I'm not trying to paint this particular mother as a monster. I get frustrated dealing with my three kids at times and I know I haven't always handled discipline exceptionally. But the image of that boy is not going to leave me any time soon, and it has made me analyze those times I've lost my temper and raised my voice and I will think twice the next time I'm facing a frustrating scenario with my kids.
As a result, my kids, especially my son, were getting extra hugs and kisses this morning.