Hot sauce as a discipline on the rise

Medical services have reported that they are seeing an increase in children needing treatment for burns to the mouth, esophagus and stomach caused by hot sauce, also known as “hot tongue.” With the investigation, medical services have found that ‘hot sauce’ was intentionally put / forced into the child’s mouth to punish him, mainly when the child’s misbehavior is related to the use of the mouth: responding to adults, lying , bite someone, insult, spit. , refuse to eat, etc. Variations of punishment include the use of acetic acid (vinegar), lemon juice, soap, or some other highly harmful substance.

According to the Washington Post, “‘hot sauce’ or ‘hot tongue’ has its roots in Southern culture, according to some proponents of the controversial disciplinary method, but it has spread across the country. No one keeps track of how many parents do it. , but most experts … including pediatricians, psychologists, and child welfare professionals, [are]… familiar with it. “

An associated method of inflicting pain on children is the force-feeding of hot peppers. Two child psychologists reported that this “can result in anaphylaxis or cause significant burns and damage to the developing tissues of the mouth, esophagus, intestinal walls, stomach and colon.” More information on “hot sauces”

“Hot Saucing” has been promoted on some Internet sites, in Today’s Christian Woman magazine and in a Focus on the Family book. Focus on the Family is a fundamentalist Christian agency located in Colorado Springs, CO.

McIlhenny Company, the largest maker of Tabasco sauce, considered putting a warning message on its bottles: “We oppose the use of this product as punishment for children, also known as Hot-Saucing.” In the final decision-making process, McIlhenny refused to implement such a warning for fear of retaliation that was not good for the children.

Medical contraindications to using Hot Sauce as disciplinary action:

“Hot sauce” on a child’s tongue can cause choking and burning of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach.

The tongue / mouth of “itchy” children is legally abused in Virginia.

Carleton Kendrick, a family therapist from Boston, MA, recommends not using ‘hot sauces’. He said it can burn a child’s esophagus and make his tongue swell. This can create a potential choking hazard. He said, “There are many different types of hot sauce on the market, and parents who say they know what dilution to use so it doesn’t sting, or say they only use one drop, are wrong. It’s made because it hurts. It stings. it burns. It makes you nauseous. “

Kendrick added: “There is no room for pain, humiliation and fear when disciplining healthy children. I think it’s a pretty barbaric practice, to say the least.”

Giorgio Kulp, a pediatrician from Montgomery County, VA, says that using hot sauce in children is dangerous because of the risk of bloating and the possibility of triggering unknown allergies. He points out that “the reaction of each child, physically, is different.”

Virginia is the only state that legally stipulates that putting hot sauce in a child’s mouth to discipline him is abuse. Given the dangers of ‘hot sauce’ for discipline, why then, when the stakes are so high, does society look the other way?

The answer is not complicated. People cannot empathize with children’s plight until they can honestly acknowledge abuse from their own childhood experiences and examine their own parents’ shortcomings. To the extent that they feel compelled to defend their parents and keep their secrets, they will do the same for others. By continually insisting that they “turned out okay,” they reassure themselves and divert their attention from deeply hidden unpleasant memories.

That’s why when someone says, “‘hot sauce’ is abuse,” many people react as if a door barricaded from childhood has been thrown wide open. This barricaded and unconscious door has prevented them from committing the most dangerous and unforgivable act of disloyalty imaginable, disloyalty to their parents. They fear that by opening the door to the truth, they will fall into an abyss, abandoned and cut off from any possibility of reconciliation with the parents they love. Fear is irrational. Denial – about what was done to them, and now what they are doing and allowing to be done to this generation – is the present danger and real sin.

Reconciliation and healing can only begin with the recognition of the truth. It is useless to hope that lies, escapes and excuses can somehow erase the memory and pain of past hurts.


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