Hot Saucing: Cruel and Unusual Punishment?
February 1, 2011
I am one of those people who grabs a bucket of popcorn and settles in when I hear an announcer say, "warning: the following footage might be disturbing to some viewers." But I was unable to watch this clip of Anchorage mom of 6 Jessica Beagley hot-saucing her 7-year-old son the whole way through. It's almost unbearable.
In case you don't know, hot saucing is just what it sounds like—a disciplinary action that involves a parent forcing hot sauce into a child's mouth as punishment. In the video, you can hear Beagley telling her little boy to "swish it." Ouch. She then sends him to take a cold shower while she reminds him, as he screams, that that's what happens when you lie in her house.
Beagley voluntarily sent the home video of the hot saucing to the Dr. Phil show, but is regretting it now. She's been charged with child abuse—a misdemeanor—and Russian officials are investigating the case as well, since the boy was adopted from Russia. If convicted, Beagley (whose husband is a police officer) could get up to a year in jail. If she does, do you think she'll realize that torture is not effective parenting? Forget about how much it must suck to swish hot sauce, imagine the long-term effects of this unusual punishment. I bet it's also damaging for Beagley's 10-year-old daughter, who is filming the clip.
The puzzling thing is that on a TODAY Show poll 33% of moms said hot saucing was fine. So while Beagley has been singled out, she may be representing a large group of people who are doing the exact same thing in their homes. In fact, The Facts of Life's Lisa Whelchel promotes the parenting technique in her book Creative Correction.
I think this is deplorable, but obviously this woman is not alone in thinking this is an appropriate punishment. Is hot saucing abuse or strict discipline? Have you ever hot sauced your kids?