An Alaska mom sent video to Dr. Phil’s show of herself putting hot sauce in her seven year old son’s mouth and forcing him to take a cold shower after he misbehaved. Once the video went viral, Alaska authorities got involved and now mother of six, Jessica Beagley, faces charges.
My take on whether I consider this abuse or proper punishment below the Today Show video:
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I hesitate to judge another mom because I don’t know what the child did and how often she’s tried to correct his behavior. Since I absolutely hate hot sauce I can only imagine the terror this child felt as it was poured in his mouth. As a TV journalist with more than a decade of experience covering child abuse and child deaths, I can tell you the fact that this boy was in a house where they could afford to buy hot sauce makes him luckier than a lot of kids.
Beagely made several key mistakes. She got angry, mistreated her child, allowed another child to videotape it and then sent it to a nationally televised talk show to ask for help. What she should have done was talk to her son’s pediatrician, teacher, child psychologist, family member, trusted friend or neighbor and asked for suggestions on how to correct his behavior. Or she should have at least asked them to watch the tape and offer their opinion on whether she should send it in. It never ceases to amaze me the things people do on camera and think that it’s “normal behavior.”
The View host Joy Behar sounded off on this “hot saucing” video this morning and said the mother terrorized her adopted son from Russia with this sort of punishment. I agree with Joy. It wasn’t just the act of how she punished her son, but I was the tone and fear she was trying to instill in him. Don’t get me wrong. I was spanked and disciplined. Nothing my parents did would have sent them to jail though. I think Beagely and the rest of her family need counseling, not only to deal with her son’s behavior, but to deal with the media frenzy and criticism that will follow them for years.
If you see or know of a case of child abuse, call Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD).