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Extreme discipline?

"CBS Early Show" this morning is discussing the examples of extreme discipline that have come up online and on TV lately. 

 On Dr. Phil, I had seen the little kid whose mom used hot sauce in his mouth to teach him not to lie (?!?) and cold showers as punishment. One of the older kids had taped her doing all of this.  I wanted to reach into the screen and smack her.

The other recent story about the teenager with the sign showing his lousy GPA had sort of made it into my peripheral thoughts, but I did not see the direct story on it until today.  Looking at how grown he was, I felt it was probably the wrong tactic, and too late to really straighten him out much. 

This morning, the reporters brought to light an online auction (I guess on eBay) with a photo of two crying litttle boys, who are being made to sell off some toys they evidently used/played with, and chipped the family's bathtub. The ad made it clear that their piggybanks only held  $125, which was being confiscated, and the estimate for repairs was $500.   

Angry bidders had run the price up to a million dollars, to ruin the auction.  I am thinking this mom thought she'd get someone who felt sorry enough for the boys to give her the money.  It worried me on some level that two kids could be alone in the tub enough to chip it this badly and no one overheard the noise from teh activity.  I did not sit over school-aged children while they were bathing, but I kept an ear on them in case they needed help, didn't you?

I looked at this pitiful pair this morning, and thought back to Lisa's Valentine's card photos of her three darling boys.   Those were the other most recent images I'd seen a parent make of their children.   The contrast is startling, and I guess, really represents the specturm of American parenting - and at that, only the public representation that people want to make of their own skills at it. 

I think people really underestimate how much damage they can do to theri child, or at least to their relationship with their child, when they shame them in public.  We've probably all witnessed parents loising it in a store or restaurant, but now it's being done (and recorded and published for all time) in front of the whole world. 

Just wondered if you had seen these examples, and if you have opinions on extreme discipline?  With video os easy to upload now, it has got to be something we will be confronted with more and more. 

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4 Replies
Lisa Prater
Senior Contributor

Re: Extreme discipline?

I appreciate being thought of as a good mom, but of course I'm human and have my  moments that aren't so great.


I saw the clips of the crazy woman with the hot sauce. She also made her son take a cold shower, and he was just screaming his head off the whole time. I can't imagine what she was thinking!


I have given my kids the occasional soap in the mouth for naughty talking or biting when they were younger, but it only took a time or two and they learned to stop. (I admit I had visions of Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" coming back years later and claiming he was blind because of "soap poisoning.") 5 seconds with a bar of non-toxic baby soap on their tongue is a far cry from a mouth full of tabasco sauce, but I'm sure there are people who would disagree with what I did.


I hadn't seen the story about the toy-selling on eBay. That's just awful. Parents have to be responsible at some point for what their kids do. I remember vividly accidentally throwing a baseball through a window in our house. I was probably 6. I lied to my dad about it, and got spanked ... for lying. He told me that if I ever did something wrong, I should tell him about it up front and he'd go easy on me, but if I lied about it or tried to cover it up and he found out, it would be ten times worse. He kept his word and I learned that it's better to 'fess up and deal with things head-on. That was a valuable lesson.


I agree that the most alarming thing about this story is that the kids had to be making quite a bit of noise to damage the tub like that, and apparently nobody checked in on them. I never left my kids alone in the tub until they were practically in kindergarten. Even now, I make them leave the door open so I can hear them from the kitchen.


Parenting is tough, no doubt, but wow ... it's hard to believe people could be so cruel, and to think they're doing the right thing.

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Re: Extreme discipline?

Lisa, i think if we are honest, every mom has moments she wishes she could take back.  Then, there are some we wish we could live over and over again, every day for the rest of our lives.  In between, we had the humdrum and monotonous ones, too. 

Somehow, all of that strings together and makes a life for a family, doesn't it? 

My girls each gave me gift cards to my favorite booksoter for Christmas.  I finally felt well enough to go to town this moring, to stock up on staples at Sam's, which means I got to browse the stacks at last.  One parenting title that caught my eye was Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace


 I didn't want to use my freebie privileges  for it today, but I did just order it and another title off of amazon, to fill out a minimum order for free shipping.  I'll let you know if I think you fit the description when I get to read it!  (Actually, I think the subtitle says it all, don't you?)

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Senior Contributor

Re: Extreme discipline?

Everyday,  it looks like we need to require a license to be allowed to have a child.   


Reminds me of  true story.    Children's Message in our church., mother's day.    The volunteer of the day asks,  "How does your mother show that she loves you?".   The classic answers come out.   But, then Jeremy says,   "She takes your toys away!".   Mom turns several shades of red.   Rest of us moms look at her and  go  "way to go mom".   Taking away toys for what ever happens all the time.   However,  to publicly proclaim your idiocy to the world..  

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Re: Extreme discipline?

I do not know who came up with the idea for Children's Church, but any kindergarten teacher could have predicted much embarrassment for even the best of parents  


Young children miss or have difficulty recreating an accurate repetition of a lot of the nuances of adult language and expression.  Couple that with a remark taken out of context, and bring all up in front of the whole community, and it's a recipe for disaster to me. 

Good for all of you for supporting that mom.  In less than an hour in Sam's Club today, I wished three or four times for someone to have enough courage to discipline their bratty child. 

Whatever happened to taking a few minutes to walk a kid who needed correction back to tth car for  a chat and a chance to re-set their attitude?  I never actually had to take any of ours there, but I did offer to escort them each once or twice. 

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