A mother and her boyfriend were arrested in Florida after punishing the mother’s 8-year-old daughter by making her “eat soap” for saying an obscene word.
“The girl, who police said suffered an allergic reaction, has been removed from the couple’s home by the Department of Children and Families, along with her 18-month-old sibling.”
“Wilfredo Rivera, 41, and Adriyanna Herdener, 32, were charged with neglect of a child and child abuse after police were called to a home in the 2300 block of Shenadoah Drive to investigate the incident ….”
“ ‘It caused the girl’s mouth and throat to swell. But they didn’t provide immediate medical care,’ said Yvonne Martinez, spokeswoman for the Palm Bay Police Department.”
What’s not completely clear from the story is: If the mother and boyfriend were arrested because they didn’t get the child immediate medical care or for the actual act of making the child eat soap.
Washing the mouth out with soap is a pretty common punishment that lots of parents have used through the years. We all remember the scene in “A Christmas Story” when Ralphie was forced to suck on soap for saying the mother of all bad words. I’ve also heard of mothers giving their kids splashes of Tobasco sauce on their tongues for offenses.
I’ve never done any of that. It just seems mean. It would never have even occurred to me that there could be an allergic reaction to the soap. I guess at least with the Tabasco Sauce , it’s something that’s edible.
What do you think: Is punishing a child by making them “eat” soap a reasonable punishment? Is it cruel? Should it be illegal? Should a parent be charged with child abuse for doing it? Would Tabasco or any other hot sauce be a better choice to use or is it just as mean (kids do have much more sensitive taste buds)?