Just stumbled across this article in the Washington Post, about parents who use hot sauce, such as Tabasco, on their children’s tongues as a form of discipline/punishment. It notes that Tabasco themselves are somewhat alarmed at this, but it has been a practice in the South for some time, and is spreading around the country. I personally am somewhat alarmed at the fact that the article links Christians with this practice, partly because the suggestion appeared in a Christian parenting magazine a couple of years ago (it’d be interesting to know what denomination the magazine primarily appeals to). The parents who use this method say that it works, they only use it as a last resort, and there appears to be no downside but it makes me very uneasy, and some parenting experts interviewed in the article recommend strongly against it.

So far we haven’t really had to use any discipline on Toby – the biggest behavioral challenges usually are if he throws food around or puts his feet up on the dining table when he’s in his chair at mealtimes, and usually if we speak to him sternly and make it clear that we’re serious, and take actual physical corrective action such as moving his feet or taking away his fork, that seems to be enough. He typically gets the idea and will either scream for just a moment or have a rather downcast, frowny expression. The combination of talk and action seems to be the key so far, and we’ve been reading that saying thinks like “we don’t do that”, or “that’s not the rules” works too, as it means he can’t blame us specifically, and we try to be consistent – he’s never seen either of us throw our food around. However I know that there will be challenges down the road, and it’ll be interesting to see how effective time outs and things prove to be.

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