Dr. Phil and Parenting

Cross-Posted to The Angry Redhead

My father watches some insipid shows sometimes.  He really likes all the cheesy talk shows that happen in the early afternoon.  One of those shows he checks out on a regular basis is Dr. Phil.  You guys know Dr. Phil right?

Yeah that guy.  He’s written like 13 self-help books, which caught Oprah’s attention.  Then she got him on the show, made him famous, and gave him his own TV show.  This, to me, is not a man who deserves as much attention as he gets.  He does have a Ph.D, so he does know psychology but all he’s used it for is self-help stuff, far as I can see.  And all self-help is to me is a get-rich-quick scheme.

Anyway so my dad was watching Dr. Phil’s show today (which was a 2nd part of this molestation thing) and they had an update on what they called the “Hot Sauce Mom.”  They showed a clip from her story (which aired back in November and was called “Mommy Confessions”) where she punishes her adopted son for lying.  The punishment involves keeping hot sauce in his mouth and having him take a cold shower.

Apparently this woman was vilified for this.  Now, she sent in the video herself.  She has apparently had an awful lot of behavioral problems with this child and is at the end of her rope.  The child in the video admits to lying to his mother, because he didn’t want to get in trouble.  But just like my childhood, the punishment for lying is worse than the trouble you’d get in if you just told the truth.  And I firmly believe in raising a child like real life.  If you do exceptionally well in something, than you get rewarded.  If you do something wrong, you get punished.  Life works like that.  I hate parents that think that their child can do no wrong and never takes responsibility.  I also hate parents that never give a child encouragement.  You need a balance of both.  Obviously, we just saw one slice of this woman’s life with this child.

Now, she admitted that her techniques weren’t working as well.  And I know that when something fails, you have to try something different.  There are children with behavioral problems, true problems you need a psychologist to help you manage because you alone as a parent can’t do it.  (And I’m a fan of a combo of medicine and therapy.  While I think ADD is way over diagnosed, I realize that it is a real disease and some people do have it and need help.  No kid should be suspended from kindergarden 13 times.)  She realized this, hence asking Dr. Phil for help.

But hot sauce and cold showers does not make child abuse people.  Hot sauce, as mentioned by an “expert” on the show today, was typically used to get kids to stop sucking their thumbs.  I’ve seen it used as an alternative to soap for making children stop swearing.  Dr. Phil even asked his audience how many people had got their mouths washed out with soap as children.  That’s okay, but hot sauce isn’t?  It’s a ton less toxic, I can tell you that right now.  At least hot sauce was made to eat.  And then she puts him in a cold shower.  I took cold showers all the time as a kid (and with this heat wave it feels really nice.)  Most of the time because I had to.  Our gas got shut off a lot.  This kid is seven though, and screams like somebody’s murdering him when the cold water hits.  The whole audience gasped like they were watching a WWII documentary.

Have you ever been around a seven-year-old?  They scream like that for no reason whatsoever.  You’re not looking at them, so they’re gonna scream like that.  They didn’t get something, so they scream like that.  They got something they liked, they scream like that.  They scream like that whether they stub a toe or break a leg.  That’s the sound they make.  Some of these parents act like their children never made that noise before.  I work in a mall.  Let me tell you, yes they do and they do it frequently.  It annoys the rest of us and makes us vow to never reproduce.

Apparently she did get charged with one misdemeanor count of child abuse, which serves like no time.  There were a bunch of people, including the Russian consulate (her kid is Russian) and no one found the need to even remove the kids from the home.  So it’s obviously not that bad.  Not bad enough for them to really have to do anything

But this kind of mentality, that any sort of punishment constitutes child abuse, is getting out of hand in my opinion.  To the point where I heard about a case of a woman being charged with neglect for leaving her kids in the car to run around the side of the car to the mailbox.  This sort of case can cause a lot of problems.  Parenting is not easy, and if you believe that any sort of frayed nerves means you’re a bad parent, then you’re gonna spend a lot of time worrying about what you’re doing wrong and not enough time worrying about your kids.

Also, it puts a lot of pressure on an already overloaded justice system.  If CPS has to investigate every minor complaint of so-called child abuse, then it doesn’t leave time for them to get to the real cases.  For every one person being investigated for smacking their child’s hand, there’s one child in a truly abusive household that they can’t get to.  And the family justice system (that our taxes pay for, I’ll remind you) then has to go through the investigation and take time to determine whether or not the child should stay with their family.  We waste money on that sort of thing.  Money that can go to cases that actually need to be seen.

There was one thing Dr. Phil got right.  She had tried to seek help before, and it was only Dr. Phil who took her seriously and helped her.  That’s what angers me the most.  You’re so quick to judge her, to vilify her tactics.  But you can’t put yourself in her shoes; you can’t offer her help.  I’d like to see you in that position, doing what she does.  I bet you’d want help too.

Christ how annoying.


4 thoughts on “Dr. Phil and Parenting

  1. This person has it exactly right. No one lived in this woman’s shoes. She has for help no one helped her. All everyone did is judge her. The child obviously had problems. Again you are right America has lost site of how to parent children. I am not saying at all to abuse your children, but what happened to the way we use to be able to parent? Now it seems the children are the boss. Parents are afraid of getting in trouble for parenting. Everyone knows a child in need of help, and cps is way over worked. Thry have to investigate all cases so the actual abuse cases take forever to get done.

  2. For sure Cps is overworked with alot if reports of non chikd abuse cases. Which wastes valuable time thar could be used to help children in need.

  3. Had you watched the full episode you would have seen the severity with which this woman humiliated the child…a child she adopted and ADMITEDLY didn’t like and thought about “returning.” I don’t think she caused physical harm to this child but absolutely the punishment AS CARRIED OUT was psychological abuse it wasn’t a quick swish of hot sauce. it was a prolonged time period of holding it in the boy’s mouth. While he held it in his mouth she was nose to nose with him yelling at the top of her voice over and over again about the child lying to her about getting a bad report from school for throwing a pencil. She then stripped him down and put him in the cold shower where she continued screaming down at the naked child as he cowared. it was abuse. Do I think the child deserved a punishment that would deter him from misbehaving at school? YES! The punishment this woman used was abuse which in the long run is actually going to encourage the child’s use of lying as a survival mechanism.

    1. Actually, I did see the whole clip. First of all, I think I heard that same shpiel about lying when I was a kid. That whole “Why did you lie? Now you know what the punishment for lying is right?” And my response was the same as the kids. “I lied because I thought I wouldn’t get in trouble then.” But you always do get in trouble don’t you? Too many parents let their kids walk all over them. They don’t follow through on any punishment to their child. Follow through is what enforces the severity of what they’ve done. Every action has consequences and they need to learn it young, not when they’re out in the real world losing jobs and going to jail. When I said a dirty word, I got my mouth washed out with soap. Do you know how many people simply drink hot sauce? It is not that traumatizing. And the cold shower? He screamed like every kid screams when they’re in trouble. He would’ve screamed that way if it was a spanking or being locked in his room. That’s the scream of someone who doesn’t like the fact that life is not going their way. She was NOT “yelling at the top of her lungs” because if she was, neighbors several houses down could have heard her. And that is so not humiliation. Humiliation was my mother cancelling my birthday party at five years old an hour before it started and taking all the presents back. Is that abuse?

      And what angered me the most is that NO ONE WANTED TO HELP HER. Even though she asked. Even though she needed it. Would you have helped her if she asked? Or would you simply have called her a bad parent and told her to suck it up? YOU are the type of parent that angers me more than her at least trying to parent her child.

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