One thing that every parent can agree on when it comes to discipline is that not all methods work for all households. Some people spank their children. Others use time out and later grounding. There are almost as many methods of discipline as there are families in the world, and many of them are based along the same lines of withholding or punishing for inappropriate actions and rewarding good behavior. But what is a parent to do when all the most common methods of discipline just don't work? One parent recently mentioned "hot saucing" to me as an alternative form of discipline.
At first I thought hot saucing?!
And then I thought, hmmm hot saucing?
So I decided to do what every parent should do before trying a new discipline method and do a little research. It was part research and part curiosity.
What is hot saucing?
Hot saucing is using a hot sauce (like Tabasco Sauce) on your child's tongue as a punishment for inappropriate behavior. Once I started looking into it, I realized it was really nothing new. After all, when I was growing up, I actually remember the pediatrician recommending putting hot sauce on my brother's thumb so that he wouldn't suck it. My mother disagreed and decided that he would probably stop long before he headed off to high school so let him outgrow it. But what about his teeth, the doctor said to my mom. Well, he can always get braces. Of course he stopped sucking his thumb by the time he started kindergarten and the brat had perfect teeth.
Those who think hot saucing is hot and those who think it is not.
There are different "methods" of hot saucing as discipline. Christian parent, author and homeschooling mom, Lisa Whelchel, (Blair from the hit TV show "The Facts of Life") talks about using hot sauce as a method of discipline in her book "Creative Correction: Extraordinary Ideas for Everyday Discipline." She seems to consider hot saucing as a cause and effect method of discipline. For example, lying or biting hurts someone so now you will feel a little of the pain your mouth caused. Other advocates agree and say hot saucing can be quite effective if done the right way. I guess just like a spanking can become physical abuse, hot saucing can be taken too far, too.
Such is the case with a mom in Alaska. The "Hot Sauce Mom" Jessica Beagley, was recently convicted of child abuse for hot saucing her child and making him take cold showers to punish him for his behavior. Beagley, a mom of six children, says this child just didn't respond to any other discipline so in an effort to show off her parenting technique, she made a video of herself hot saucing her son and sent it in to Dr. Phil. Apparently she was never told that it was supposed to be a drop of hot sauce on the tongue, not a partial cupful of hot sauce and then tell the child "You better now swallow it or spit it out" but instructed him to hold it in his mouth.
Hot saucing is one hot topic.
In my research, I found that hot saucing was a very controversial subject among parents. However, most experts agree that it is nothing short of abuse, punishment, or torture. In an interview on The Joy Behar Show with the Super Nanny, she says that hot saucing simply breaks down the relationship between parent and child and doesn't foster an atmosphere where children learn from their mistakes and where parents can guide them through the learning process.
Now I remember getting my mouth washed out with soap. It tasted pretty nasty, but it was a lot better than getting a spanking. Did it teach me not to say the words I said? No, it just taught me to not say them in front of my parents.
So, the question is to hot sauce or not to hot sauce? Yes, my kindergarten-aged daughter has a "mouth on her." It's not the words she says, but quite often simply the way she says it, snarky, sassy or mean. I know why she says things the way she says them, she is the baby and wants to be heard. But for this family I'm going to have to say, "Pass on the hot sauce unless it's on my food, thank you very much."
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