Parenting

Washing a kids mouth out with soap? Child abuse?

Heated debate on our local morning show. Brought on by a dad who is pissed at his wife for washing their 8 year olds mouth out with soap because he dropped the f'bomb after hearing dad and friends say it while watching a football game. Justifiable punishment? Child abuse? Special snowflake?
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Re: Washing a kids mouth out with soap? Child abuse?

  • I don't think it is child abuse.  I can't currently see myself doing it, but I have learned to never say never about parenting stuff.  Do I think there are better uses of CPS's time than investigating a mother who simply wants her child not to cuss?  Absolutely. 
  • I probably wouldn't do it, but I don't think it's abuse. Plenty of kids have had soap put in their mouths at one point or another in their life and still manage to feel loved and supported by their parents.
  • it's mean but I wouldn't classify it as abuse.  Abuse, in my mind, are actions that harm.  Soap tastes gross but it isn't harmful. I doubt that kid will end up in therapy due to getting his mouth washed, the kids who are repeatedly hit, denied food, molested, burned with cigarettes, locked in closets...that's abuse and that's what we need to focus on preventing.
  • I think the dad is using the term "child abuse" very loosely. I got the impression he called the radio to discuss his situation, not CPS.
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  • I don't think its very nice, and I don't think I'd do it, but I don't think its abuse. My mom used to pump liquid soap in my mouth as a kid (I had a very sassy mouth) and I don't think it scarred me for life or anything. It also didn't make me any less sassy, so I don't think its very effective


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    Annelise 3.22.2007 Norah 10.24.2009 Amelia 8.7.2011
  • I would consider that an abusive act.  how could any sane person not? 

    If your husband washed your mouth out with soap?  Would that not be abuse?  But it's different when it's aon an 8 year old right?  Confused

    Christopher (June 2006), Sara (October 2008) and Kate (May 2011)
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  • image Zenya:

    I would consider that an abusive act.  how could any sane person not? 

    If your husband washed your mouth out with soap?  Would that not be abuse?  But it's different when it's aon an 8 year old right?  Confused

    It's absolutely different. My husband would be abusive for putting me in a "time out" for talking back to him, but it's completely acceptable to do to a child.

    Children being treated with the same consideration as adults has spurned the current generation of children that demand respect simply because they exist. They have no concept of fairness/respect/attention being EARNED.  We should not treat our children like adults. Being treated like an adult is something they EARN as they grow and exhibit more adult behaviours.

  • image Stellasmom:

    Children being treated with the same consideration as adults has spurned the current generation of children that demand respect simply because they exist. They have no concept of fairness/respect/attention being EARNED.  We should not treat our children like adults. Being treated like an adult is something they EARN as they grow and exhibit more adult behaviours.

    While I agree that the rules are different for children and adults.  You cannot honestly compare a time out to washing a kids mouth out with soap.  come on now. 

    Washing someone's mouth out with soap is abuse.  Consciously inflicting pain on someone is abusive.  I don't understand how people defend shitlike this.  I really don't.

    Christopher (June 2006), Sara (October 2008) and Kate (May 2011)
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  • First, I would have jumped all over MH for using that word in the presence of our children.  (Oh, and I have.  I have to tell him to watch his mouth all.the.time).  How's that for husband abuse?

    I don't ever see myself washing my child's mouth out with soap but I don't think its abuse.  I myself had my mouth washed out as a child.  And felt (still feel) my actions where wrong and the consequence was justified.  No hard feelings against my mom...who I still adore. 

    I see far too much REAL abuse at my job.   Calling CPS would be a waste of time and resources...

    Turning 3!!!
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  • image Stellasmom:

    It's absolutely different. My husband would be abusive for putting me in a "time out" for talking back to him, but it's completely acceptable to do to a child.

    Children being treated with the same consideration as adults has spurned the current generation of children that demand respect simply because they exist. They have no concept of fairness/respect/attention being EARNED.  We should not treat our children like adults. Being treated like an adult is something they EARN as they grow and exhibit more adult behaviours.

    I agree with this 100%! 

  • image Zenya:

    Washing someone's mouth out with soap is abuse.  Consciously inflicting pain on someone is abusive.

    I had it done as a child and it was not painful at all. It just tastes disgusting. Not sure how you think it's painful.

  • image Zenya:
    image Stellasmom:

    Children being treated with the same consideration as adults has spurned the current generation of children that demand respect simply because they exist. They have no concept of fairness/respect/attention being EARNED.  We should not treat our children like adults. Being treated like an adult is something they EARN as they grow and exhibit more adult behaviours.

    While I agree that the rules are different for children and adults.  You cannot honestly compare a time out to washing a kids mouth out with soap.  come on now. 

    Washing someone's mouth out with soap is abuse.  Consciously inflicting pain on someone is abusive.  I don't understand how people defend shitlike this.  I really don't.

    You're obviously entitled to our opinion. I was just pointing out the logical flaw in your initial argument.

  • image emilykristene2006:
    image Zenya:

    Washing someone's mouth out with soap is abuse.  Consciously inflicting pain on someone is abusive.

    I had it done as a child and it was not painful at all. It just tastes disgusting. Not sure how you think it's painful.

     

    this mirrors what i feel too.  putting soap in someone's mouth is mean, it tastes bad,it does not injury the person or cause pain (emotional or physical).  again, i don't agree with it as a discipline method, but it isn't abuse.  

  • image emilykristene2006:
    and it was not painful at all. It just tastes disgusting. Not sure how you think it's painful.

    when I'm talking about pain I'm referring to people who defend spanking as a conscious method to 'teach' children.

    Christopher (June 2006), Sara (October 2008) and Kate (May 2011)
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  • image Zenya:

    I would consider that an abusive act.  how could any sane person not? 

    If your husband washed your mouth out with soap?  Would that not be abuse?  But it's different when it's aon an 8 year old right?  Confused

     

    As a sane person I recognize that my husband and I are equal as adults.  Therefore he does not discipline me.  My child is a CHILD, not my adult and therefore I have authority over him. 

  • I feel like I should also add that I do not agree with it as a form of punishment as of now. Who knows how I will feel in 10 years.

    It's not painful, but it may teach the child what humiliation is. With the way some of these children act, they should be humiliated by their own behavior. They seem to have missed that lesson in life.

  • image Zenya:

    image emilykristene2006:
    and it was not painful at all. It just tastes disgusting. Not sure how you think it's painful.

    when I'm talking about pain I'm referring to people who defend spanking as a conscious method to 'teach' children.

    But you are comparing washing a child's mouth out with soap to spanking? One is painful and one is not. By your own definition above, abuse=pain. Can you see how some of us do not consider washing a child's mouth out with soap as abuse?

  • image Stellasmom:
    image Zenya:

    I would consider that an abusive act.  how could any sane person not? 

    If your husband washed your mouth out with soap?  Would that not be abuse?  But it's different when it's aon an 8 year old right?  Confused

    It's absolutely different. My husband would be abusive for putting me in a "time out" for talking back to him, but it's completely acceptable to do to a child.

    Children being treated with the same consideration as adults has spurned the current generation of children that demand respect simply because they exist. They have no concept of fairness/respect/attention being EARNED.  We should not treat our children like adults. Being treated like an adult is something they EARN as they grow and exhibit more adult behaviours.

    I could not agree more. I have seen the damage done to kids in the past several years from parents who are more concered about treating their child with respect and making sure they are liked. I am honestly scared of the generation that this mindset is rasing. My DH was abused as a child and there is a HUGE difference between slapping a child on the butt and beating the daylights out of a kid. I am not anti-spanking never have been and never will be, it is not something we use for our kids, but I judge those who let their kids run the show a whole lot more than those who spank, and I believe spanking does far less damage in the end. Washing mouths out with soap is not something I see myself doing, but I am a behavior therapist and have a lot of tools and resources that others don't.

    Mom to Emma 9/4/06 and Jackson 11/24/08 M/C Dec 11 and M/C twins feb 2012. BFP Thanksgiving! EDD Aug 4, 2013 M/C at 5 weeks.
  • We can just agree to disagree! 
    Christopher (June 2006), Sara (October 2008) and Kate (May 2011)
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  • image emilykristene2006:

    But you are comparing washing a child's mouth out with soap to spanking? One is painful and one is not. By your own definition above, abuse=pain. Can you see how some of us do not consider washing a child's mouth out with soap as abuse?

    I think deliberate conscious humiliation like that is also abusive.  Not just pain. 

    Of course I realize there is a spectrum of harm here.  But I'll admit to being pretty shocked that so many people here seem to think it's OK. 

    And FTR I am very strict with my kids.  I cringe when I see parents let their kids get away with stuff or make excuses for them.  AND I can totally see someone losing their cool and lashing out at their kids.  It's deliberately inflicting pain or humiliation/discomfort on a child that seems sadistic to me. 

    It's nice to share thoughts and agree to disagree. 

    Christopher (June 2006), Sara (October 2008) and Kate (May 2011)
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  • I wouldn't classify it as child abuse per se, but it's still a sh!tty thing to do to any person regardless of age.
  • I have put a bar of soap in both of my kids' mouths.

    I have spanked both of my children.

    Honestly, I think the yelling that I do is FAR more detrimental to them in the long run than either of those things mentioned above.  IMO, it's FAR more belittling the way I yell at them than putting a bar of soap in their mouth.

    That said, I don't agree with the mom in this situation.  Putting soap in a child's mouth for repeating what the father said is a bit of a stretch.  I don't put soap in my kids mouths for repeating cuss words...just doesn't seem very fair.  I put soap in their mouths when they were repeatedly sassing me, and after a # of warnings (probably too many), I put soap in their mouth.  I don't deal with blatant disrespect and if putting soap in their mouths gets that message across, that's what I will do.

  • I think it is pretty mean and I think that with an 8 year old there are much better ways to teach them about inappropriate language.  I do not think it is abuse but I'd never do it.
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  • I wouldn't do it and as a former CPS investigator it is not child abuse.
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  • I don't agree with it but hesitate to call it child abuse. Idk. My problem is that the child obviously heard his *parent* say the word and repeated it. The mom should be upset with the dad and washing *his* mouth out if she wants to do that. There are many other ways to teach a child something is wrong or inappropriate. Perhaps the first thing should be their example ... and this is coming from someone who can curse like a sailor.
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  • is it possible that it depends on the child?  I mean if I put soap in Christopher's mouth he would be HYSTERICAL and compeltely traumatized.  The way you guys are talking about it so nonchalently is so weird to me.  I literally have a pit in my stomach just thinking about it.
    Christopher (June 2006), Sara (October 2008) and Kate (May 2011)
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  • I don't think it's CPS-worthy, but I can't see ever pumping soap into my kid's mouth. I mean, we spend forever telling them not to touch the cleaning stuff under the sink and then we pump some in their mouths? Weird.

    How do you get them now to swallow it? I can't see putting something in my 4-year-old's mouth and not having him swallow it. Gross.

    A bar of soap doesn't seem as mean. More "A Christmas Story" like. Almost funny. I think DS would crack up if I told him to hold a bar of soap in his mouth. He'd probably think I was poisoning him if I put liquid soap in his mouth.

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  • Abuse does not always mean physical pain, there are all kinds of abuse that don't involve one person even touching another.

    I agree 100% with Zenya. I think it's an archaic and abusive way to discipline a child of any age.

  • I agree 100% w/ Zenya.  IMO, intentionally humiliating a child is emotional abuse. Period.  My child knows there are consequences to his undesirable behaviors--he respects me, my husband, our parents, his teachers, etc, without ever having been spanked or having had his mouth washed out w/ soap.  

    I tend to disagree w/ the idea that it is a child's responsibility to earn my respect.  My child has my respect, 100%.  It's his to lose depending on how he responds to the situations in his life as he grows up.  I think raising a child to believe that they have to work to earn your respect from the get go is really sad.  

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