I grew up in a time when it was normal practice to wash your child’s mouth out with soap, and my mom used this form of punishment on several occasions. If you have children now, you may have grown up in that same time frame. I have three children of my own now, and I have never considered washing my kids’ mouths out with soap. Have you considered doing so? I will give you five reasons why you should never wash your child’s mouth out with soap.
#1 It fuels anger
When my mother washed my mouth out with soap, I felt very mad. It didn’t teach me a lesson because I was too angry to apologize or learn a lesson from it. When trying to teach our kids a lesson, we don’t want to fuel anger since it is counterproductive.
#2 Kids may feel violated
When my mouth was washed out with soap, I felt violated. Perhaps it was the manner in which it was done since it was forced in my mouth as I fought for control. Still, I didn’t gain any respect for my mom from this form of punishment. As parents, we want our children to respect us and learn from their mistakes. We should aim to punish them in a calm manner, showing no anger.
#3 It can be dangerous
Soap was not made to be put in the mouth, and doing so can prove to be dangerous. Ordinary soap is made with lye, an abrasive chemical that is not meant to be put in the mouth or swallowed. In addition, it contains coloring agents and fragrance that should not be consumed.
#4 You may go to jail
A couple in Florida landed themselves in jail after a mother washed her daughter’s mouth out with soap for 10 minutes, while her boyfriend stood by watching. The child got sick, resulting in her vomiting. When this happened, the boyfriend took the 8-year-old girl to the hospital, and this is when the police were called by those who worked at the hospital.
#5 There are better forms of punishment
There really are much better forms of punishment than washing a child’s mouth out with soap. Older children like to talk, so take away their cell phones when they talk disrespectfully or use foul language. They will dislike this punishment and still keep their dignity and respect for you as a parent. Younger children may benefit from losing the privilege of watching TV or having to write down that they will not curse 100 times.
The bottom line is that soap is for washing, not for eating or going in the mouth.
More from Rebecca Bardelli:
5 Things Every Child Wants and Needs
5 Ways to Deal with a Disrespectful Adolescent
5 Tips to Help Your Child Overcome Separation Anxiety