or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Soap in mouth???
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Soap in mouth???

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all!

I don't regularly post here but wanted to throw a question out there and see what some GD mama's had to say.

Personally I think soap in the mouth is innappropiate when a child uses foul language or backtalks. Some other mom's disagree (which is fine) saying that when the kids is like 10 yrs. that it does get the point across. :

I'm thinking well wouldn't that just teach them don't say things within ear shot of mom? Anyway I would like to hear other thoughts and opinions from fellow GD mamas.

Thanks, Jenna
post #2 of 18
Imagine how you would feel if someone heard something you said and shoved soap in your mouth. If you think that would be disrespectful to you, then don't do it to your child. That's the way I approach ideas like that. :LOL

Having been threatened with this a lot as a child, all it ever taught me is to disrespect those who threatened this way, the way they were disrespecting me. And they never earned that respect back, even now.
post #3 of 18
it's as invasive and disrespectful towards the child as spanking. i mean you have to force it on the kid, right, or which 10 yr old will willingly open his mouth to have soap shoved inside?
i know they used to do this a lot where i come from and when i picture it, i also automatically see somebody with a rod spanking a kids butt and other "discipline" methods that go along with it.
post #4 of 18
As a kid, I would have picked a spanking.

That's a mess! How do you do that?! Wrong on so many levels...
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the thoughts.

I agree 100%. My other thoughts were if a child is backtalking or using profanity to the point of using soap (or thinking about using soap) there is probably an underlying problem bigger than the issue at hand. Plus soap doesn't rid the mouth of profanity or disrespect anyway. :

Jenna
post #6 of 18
Just reminded me....

Did anyone watch the Superbowl and see the commercial with the kids with bars soap in their mouths? It was supposed to be funny, I guess---I was horrified that the humiliation of children could be used to amuse and sell cars. But that is what I get for watching commercials :
post #7 of 18
I frequently had my mouth washed out with soap as a child. It was humiliating and very, very scary on an emotional level, and also on a physical level. (Gagging, not being able to breathe, the taste of the soap). I also got spanked and slapped, and I would have chosen those two forms of punishment any day over having soap shoved in my mouth.

Yes, I learned not to talk back to my mom very much, never swore or anything, but I behaved that way out of fear. I still have an extremely hard time expressing anger, because any expressions of anger were dealt with very swiftly in my house.

I have a hard time imagining anyone who thinks that this would be okay. I suppose if your goal is to make your kid ACT a certain way, instead of believe in certain ideals, have a conscience, etc.....

I MUST QUALIFY THE ABOVE STATEMENT WITH: My mom is my angel. I love her dearly, and she did an amazing job raising our family given the resources she had.


OT: I also saw that soap commercial and the first time I was totally horrified that they made such an abusive act seem so light and funny. I know I'm uptight about it just because of my personal experience, though......I did find it cute after the 3rd or 4th time.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by mocha09
I frequently had my mouth washed out with soap as a child. It was humiliating and very, very scary on an emotional level, and also on a physical level. (Gagging, not being able to breathe, the taste of the soap). I also got spanked and slapped, and I would have chosen those two forms of punishment any day over having soap shoved in my mouth.

Yes, I learned not to talk back to my mom very much, never swore or anything, but I behaved that way out of fear. I still have an extremely hard time expressing anger, because any expressions of anger were dealt with very swiftly in my house.

I have a hard time imagining anyone who thinks that this would be okay. I suppose if your goal is to make your kid ACT a certain way, instead of believe in certain ideals, have a conscience, etc.....

I MUST QUALIFY THE ABOVE STATEMENT WITH: My mom is my angel. I love her dearly, and she did an amazing job raising our family given the resources she had.
I was going to write the exact same thing, except that instead of not being able to express my anger, I express it too much and too harshly I think this is in response to having my emotional reactions suppressed so much growing up.
post #9 of 18
My mother once shoved a bar of soap into my mouth for biting my brother. It's pretty awful. As bad as a spanking. I have heard that a good punishment for using bad language is fining them. You collect the quarters (or whatever you charge) in a jar and, when the jar is full, you donate the money somewhere.

edited to add: the best way to prevent swearing is to not swear in front of your children. they will learn from this that u disapprove of it and watch their own mouths. this is one of the good things i learned from my parents.
post #10 of 18
i can't help remembering the scene with little boy in A CHRISTMAS STORY with a bar of Life Buoy in his mouth, and writer/narrator Jean Shephard sarcastically waxing poetic on the finer points of various brands that he'd grown up savoring from time to time.

i can't imagine actually "washing" my daughter's mouth out, though i have brushed with Kirk's Castile soap (which is pure enough that you can use it as toothpaste or shampoo). i've tried the soap in mouth gag myself, and for a minute or less, it's kinda gross. but long term trauma? i'm skeptical. i think telling my daughter that 30 seconds of self-administered soap bar time if she uses a cuss word in public is fair ... but daddy and mommy have to live by the same rules!

if she won't 'fess up to using a cuss word, or won't agree to living by family standards, than the issue is deeper than either cuss words or choice of punishment. soap, quiet time, penalty bank ... it's all geared towards teaching accountability. diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. just my 2¢.
post #11 of 18
I got in trouble for posting this on another thread but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment :

Anyway, I don't condone the washing the mouth out trick but I also don't think it is necessarily a scarring experience. I had my mouth washed out with soap (Ivory I think) once or twice (and once or twice with vinegar - now that was gross!) but it never occurred to me that that was abuse.

I think a key point was that when my mom followed through on her threat ("any more backchat from you and you'll wash your mouth out with soap young lady!") she just matter-of-factly led me to the bathroom, waited for me to wipe my tongue with the soap, let me rinse it out and that was that. She didn't rage or fume or shove a bar of soap down my throat or call me names or let me gag. It was simply the consequence of me talking back when I'd been warned. I thought it was more or less a fitting punishment and certainly wasn't scared of it. Anyway, I knew perfectly well that I could avoid it by not being a snotty brat, right?

So, on the other thread I got in trouble for admitting that it has crossed my mind that that method of discipline is out there to use. Of course dd is only 2 and a long way from the kind of bratty backchat that got me in trouble. But based on my own experience (and until I read some of the posts here) I never thought it was such a big deal. I remember the few spankings I got with much greater clarity because they were downright scary! And that said, I hope I never feel like a spanking or washing a mouth out is a good idea but if I ever do I'll try to calm way down before I actually *do* anything. Anyway, I like the fining idea best, then when you have enough money you go out and get a massage right?

Peace,
post #12 of 18
I would be hard pressed to say it is abusive, in and of itself, but it is surely disrespectful, regardless of the "lesson" it teaches. It makes no sense, either, unless you are encouraging the concept of pica. I guess I just see it as something humiliating, and inappropriate given the circumstance. And for me, a cornerstone of GDing is respectful parenting. JMHO.
post #13 of 18
That Pica thread is interesting. It reminded me that my mom had always told my brother and I about her craving for Ivory soap while she was pregnant, I guess she used to lick it. So, I don't think she was encouraging pica in us but I'm sure she was thinking of Ivory as not-too-gross, maybe even tasty.
post #14 of 18
One reason I think this kind of punishment is abusive is because I cringe when I think of ANYTHING being forced into another person's body (from food and soap......to all the other horrors you can imagine). I can understand that many would think it a stretch, but in my heart I *feel* that this is a violation of a person. Punishment should not involve opening your mouth to accept something you are repulsed by into your own body. :::::shudder::::::::
post #15 of 18
well, i guess on the surface, administering necessary medicine, or using a suction bulb to clear nasal passages is abusive too. funny, but i continue to think those are necessary "evils" of parenting that i have to practice to ensure my baby's continued health (under the appropriate circumstances).

e.g., today i've had to spray saline spray in her schnoz, followed by sucking out great gobs of gooey, thick yellow-green snot which has been giving her hell (and ear infections) for months. she hates it, struggles and cries, but ... oh, boy, can she breathe (and BF) easier afterwards!

i know someone's going to say, "that's not punishment, that's medical care," but the invasive quality and the apprehension that my 17 month old exhibits are the same.... someone has to be the parent, and that person is either me or DW. we signed on the dotted line,... the job is ours.

sorry if i'm sounding strident. i'm a little peeved at the suggestion that sticking that suction bulb in Lillie's nose was "abusive." (see: dw's thread in Toddlers, where everything seems like we're abusing our little princess. we know it's not, but....)
post #16 of 18
David,

I read your dw's post. Wow. You two really have your hands full. I can't imagine going through all of the illnesses that you are dealing with. I commend you for making it through the day (and without a breast, too!)

Sunmama, ITA! Your post also reminded me that this type of punishment is also sending a subtle message about respecting rights of body/touchign boundaries.

I think David raised a valid point, however, that sometimes it is necessary to be invasive with our children.

I disagree with David in that the reactions for the child are the same. I'm sure you (as I, when in those situations) try to gently explain to your dd the reason that you must snuck out the snot and try to make it as easy and gentle as possible for her.

I can't imagine making washing a child's mouth out with soap with loving and caring words and cuddles. That would just be insanity! Does not compute: I'm sorry, dear, I have to punish you now, but I really love you and it will be okay when it's over. Do you want to play with this toy while I punish you with soap?

Punishing a child with a physical invasion also has the potential of causing your child to feel confused when you NEED to do a physically invasive thing like spray up the nose and feel that she has done something wrong and is being punished.

There is a difference between logical consequences and phsyical punishment. If you use certain words, you will spend time by yourself for 5 minutes....vs.....If you use certain words, you will have to put this bar of soap on your tongue for 30 seconds. This difference amounts to physical restriction vs. physical invasion.

I'm just having a hard time understanding your viewpoint on this David. It seems like you think this is an okay thing to do, as long as it is done with love and gentleness(?)

I'm also confused about your comment that someone has to be the parent........the job is ours. I don't know the emotions behind this one? Are you feeling like some of the things you have been reading on GD are too extreme to the point of no discipline at all? If so, do you feel like this particular discussion is going in that direction, and washing mouths with soap is a way of establishing parental power?

Trying to understand.
post #17 of 18
My parents threatened to wash my mouth out with soap when I was a kid, but it only happened once, when I was older, and my dad made it clear that letting me lick the dry side was better than the wet side. I remember being punished as a kid (spanked, etc.) but I do not remember any of the crimes I committed. I didn't feel violated, I just remember the punishement and not the crime.

I think washing the mouth out with soap is the same as a spanking. It's not the most effective way of disciplining a child. It may stop the behavior, but it is damaging in the long run. When children do inappropriate things, there is often a reason why they are misbehaving. Punishment does not address the underlying reason - it just stops the inappropriate behavior. I think it is far better to get down to the underlying reason why the child is misbehaving and address that. By doing that, you are keeping the lines of communication open and teaching the child to communicate appropriately when something is wrong. Otherwise, the child can just stuff emotions and you may have a well-behaved kid, but I'd be really worried about that pressure getting released during the teen years or affecting my relationship with my child later in life.

Obviously my ds is not old enough for such discipline yet, but after reading many posts here and thinking long and hard about my experience and thoughts on punishment, that's the conclusion I've come to. Punishment may work, but it is a short-cut that may backfire later on. I will work very hard to address the underlying issue rather than just spanking my child. And after my own experience with washing the mouth out with soap, that's not a tool you've find me using - EVER! Yuck!
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by davidspalding
"that's not punishment, that's medical care,"
THe difference is huge, IMO. If the medical care is important enough to force on the child, then you simply have no choice. I have been in this situation, and it stinks all around. And, yes, I have made the decision to do what needs to be done for my child's health--explaining and comforting as best I could the whole time.

In the case of punishment, however, you clearly have choice. There is no emergency, no medical imperative, and plenty of much, much better ways to enforce your standards.
Why choose to violate a child's body?
And what message does it send that the parent is willing and chooses to do so?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Soap in mouth???