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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hot Sauce Mom; My Opinion

My daughters and I saw the Mom hot saucing her son on the Today Show Today. My oldest, age 7 says with a very confused look on her face:
"why's she doing that?"
I tell her "because he lied" both of my kids were just confused and flabbergasted. I am glad they felt this way and were not experiencing the physiological effects I felt watching this Mother disciplining her child.

In one respect I feel bad for this mother. I believe she is suffering from ignorance. I think this is the root of many problems in our society.

We do not put enough emphasis on mental illness, how it is caused, and the lasting effects of abuse and how it causes mental illness. We live in denial, and often times the cycle repeats.

As I watched this boy being screamed at in a freezing cold shower my heart rate increased. My throat tightened. My hands started so shake. I was scared. In the past I have thought about posting publicly about the child abuse I lived through. I did not want to appear whiny or gain pity. Today, I thought it was time.

As a kid I was not "hot sauced". I was not put in a cold shower, that I recall...I was, however, hit in the face, my hair was pulled, I was kicked, screamed at, belittled daily, spanked, beaten with objects. I was abused. I will not share all the methods my Mother used to abuse us. Some of it just can't be on a blog.

I wanted to make a point though, A lot of us were abused. There was a time when I would announce "I am glad my Mother hit me, it made me a good, honest, law abiding person". That statement was ignorant. At the time I did not make the connection between the countless mental and emotional issues I suffered with the fact that I had been repeatedly, systematically broken throughout my childhood. True, beating a child and screaming at them keeps them quiet in some instances, puts them in constant FEAR. This is how I felt as a child. I feared authority figures, I worried constantly to the point of migraines & full body hives in the 2nd grade. As a teen I cut myself, was suicidal, and for a time exercised obsessively. I made bad choices and hung out with undesirable "friends" who in some cases, abused me too. It's what I had been taught what being "loved" felt like. 
And that is what corporal punishment 
of any kind will teach your child too.

 It's called PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder It's what happens when you suffer trauma. I can tell you first hand it's not easy to heal from. My easiest description is this: When you suffer trauma your fight or flight mechanism amps into full effect. If you suffer that trauma time and time again your body reacts, this fight or flight gets all kinds of goofed up. The simplest of things will begin to trigger it. Your neural pathways have been burned in a wrong direction. Think of it this way:

You should have taken a turn but the turn has been plowed shut and you drive straight through the stop sign because you cannot stop. Your brakes are not working at. all. and WHAM! you crash. 

Along with this illustration PTSD does countless negative things to your neurology, physiology and It's a rough go. Look, I am no expert, but my guess is this kid that has been hot sauced & cold showered, he's got PTSD and will suffer through it for a long time. I urge anyone that considers this type of discipline to read about the lasting effects of such methods. I am far from a perfect parent, none of us are perfect, but when we can admit that we lost our temper and screamed too loud, or too long and apologize to our child (and mean it!) The lasting effects of that will be so much more positive. You don't want your child to fear you. Honestly, I know.

Please no pity comments, I am functioning well these days, I am a good parent, and I have wonderful kids. They do not walk over me in any way, they respect me, and for the most part they listen to me;) We give them a chance to own up to lying to us and  they really do so! I am proud of that. The abuse I endured as a child is not something I like to discuss much at all. It's only a small part of what makes me, me and I don't let it control my life. That said, I do NOT deny it either. You must face these sorts of things or they will continue to cancer your psyche.

I truly hope this Mother learns from this, Herself and all her children will benefit greatly if she stops using these abusive methods of discipline.

Update: 8-24-11

The mother in this video was charged with  misdemeanor child abuse, the Anchorage Daily News reports. She faces up to a year in prison and is due to be sentenced Monday 8-29-11. Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin told the Daily News that the verdict was just. The jury “concluded that it is child abuse to hurt your child as an audition for a television show,” she said.

hmm. well, there you have it. but really, only reason this got as far as it did was due to the media. Though it is terribly negative of me, I am almost positive it won't stop many parents from "supporting" these types of discipline. They just won't be sending their videos into reality TV or TV talk shows.

What can parents and HUMANS who care do to keep children safe from abusive homes?

Follow your Gut. 

If you feel something is array in a childs life, ask about it. Do something about it. Don't get freaky paranoid about it, just don't look the other way either.
They are children, they look to adults to guide them and keep them safe. Let's do that.

1 comment:

Bianca said...

I just watched this, read this, cried, and then picked Jethro up, held him assured him he would never have to endure any of that. Not like there was ever a question, but I felt like I had to say it out loud. Thank you for not containing silence. And yes, you are a great mother.