Mom Forces Kid to Eat Hot Sauce: Child Abuse or Tough Parenting?

News 2011/08/24 13:00:00
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We're always astonished by the things people do in videos before they go on "Dr. Phil," knowing they're on camera.

For Jessica Beagley, a 36-year-old Anchorage woman who appeared on the show in November to sort out discipline issues with her 7-year-old son, those videos were her downfall.

After reviewing Beagley's parenting techniques -- forcing her son to drink hot sauce, take cold showers and do jumping-jacks as punishment for getting behavior notices at school -- the court has charged her with misdemeanor child abuse.

She could get up to a year in prison along with her $10,000 fine, and The Anchorage Daily News reports it only took the jury one day to decide she was guilty.

Henry Paul, a Mount Sinai psychiatrist, told ABC News, "The stun -- the shock -- the acute anxiety can also lead to [a] long-term type of post-traumatic stress disorder that we often see in criminals who are incarcerated."

Oddly, investigators didn't find any signs of abuse with Beagley's other six children.

Her lawyers claim, "They're good people caught up in a bad situation. Child Protective Services has done a complete investigation and found no evidence of abuse of the other children ... if they believed it was a dangerous situation they would have removed the children."

But isn't sending the mom to jail technically a way of removing the children from the situation?

She still has custody of all of her kids, including the one shown in the video, but we'll find out if she has to be removed herself (and if so for how long) when she's sentenced on Monday.

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  • La 2011/08/24 16:20:16
    Child abuse
    I watched the original video months ago. It was pretty disgusting. First she made him gargle hot sauce (not eat it; he wasn't allowed to swallow it, just let it burn the inside of his mouth) while she interrogated him, then made him spit it out and threw him in a shower and blasted him with cold water while she continued interrogating him/yelling at him.

    And like, that was a normal procedure for them. She'd be like *WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU WHEN YOU LIE TO MUMMY?* and he'd be like *sob sob I get hot sauce* and she was like *THEN WHAT DO YOU GET?* and he was like *sob sob c-c-c-cold shower*

    All because, I dunno, he fought with another kid over some pencils. He was like 8 years old. Unless he broke the other kids face, it was utterly uncalled for.

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  • thereal... mind-pilot 2011/08/25 18:14:03
  • Casey 2011/08/25 15:48:43
    Child abuse
    I have to give my son a swat (not hard, just enough to make him flinch) if he does something that could cause him harm, so I guess you could say I'm not against corporal punishment if it's done in a way that is not out of anger and is something to which you must resort to only because nothing else works. However, doing something that could cause permanent damage like hot sauce or something that could make them sick like a cold shower, is going way too far. He's FIVE! Five! That's way too young to treat him that way. Seriously. She's probably doing something wrong for him to not listen to her. Besides, he's adopted from Russia - perhaps being an orphan has something to do with his behavior problems? Perhaps trying to take him to a counselor may be better than abusing him.
  • hazel Casey 2011/08/25 16:03:08
    Best wait til he is about 18 to teach him
  • John hazel 2011/08/25 16:53:25
    Hazel, you really are one sarcastic S.O.B. Your little blurbs aren't half as cleaver as you think they are.
  • hazel John 2011/08/25 20:29:59
    you right they are even better than I think they are ...did mommie and daddy teach you how to swear???
  • Heywood... Casey 2011/08/25 16:22:24
    Heywood Jablomi
    I have the same philosphy about spanking -- it should ONLY be done for behaviors that are potentially harmful to the child or others, and ONLY as a means of teaching that "This behavior will cause pain."

    For other types of misbehavior, there are FAR more effective methods that a parent can employ. The discipline should always be appropriate to the lesson that the parent is trying to teach.
  • Jacob P... Casey 2011/08/25 16:27:39
    Jacob Pritchett
    My mother and father both spanked me when I was a child, but they wouldn't do it when they were angry. If I had gotten one of them worked up, they would have the other parent do it. I like the way my parents handled punishment, and I intend to use similar methods on my children.
    ...not this sadistic child torture stuff. Although, it seems like the punishment was predictable, so it could have been worse I suppose.
  • jimrthy... Casey 2011/08/25 17:07:13
    jimrthy BN-0
    It sounds to me that she was escalating up towards a counselor by going on this show.

    I don't believe that cold showers or hot sauce are dangerous. It seems a lot more likely that a squirming, struggling kid might wind up getting swatted somewhere dangerous.

    There are obviously lines that parents must not be allowed to cross. But I'm not clear on who gets to decide where those lines are drawn. And I don't think this is even close.
  • Fenabarb 2011/08/25 15:43:58
    Child abuse
    sad and misguided - 100 days of good parenting practise and in reading, behavioural counselling for her child
  • Scovi 2011/08/25 15:40:49
    Tough parenting
    It' s child abuse I meant to click it...but she need to be redirected on how to parent, the child is only 5! I get what she is going with her disipline with the child but it was just too much.
  • jimrthy... Scovi 2011/08/25 17:00:53
    jimrthy BN-0
    Who gets to decide where that line's drawn?
  • Scovi jimrthy... 2011/08/25 17:07:35
    Who gets to draw the line? The law and their political correctiveness, being "not ethical or up to their standard code of conduct on qany matter in this society! They are the judge of that, regardless if it's your child. Freedom right? Read the constitution I've abalyzed it, and I was in my term for being a lawyer,I really can't stand politics! That's why I'm a Mental health practioner instead! lmao
  • jimrthy... Scovi 2011/09/08 02:59:21
    jimrthy BN-0
    It sounds like you're the first person I've run across on here who might have a clue to a right to have an opinion about "The Right Answer."

    I've only just now had a chance to watch the video. That looked like a *lot* of hot sauce the kid spit out. Assuming the poor guy wasn't puking up whatever might have been in his belly at the same time.

    I don't see where the Constitution applies here. I'd appreciate it if you'd can find the time to help clear up my ignorance.

    I haven't run across any parent who's ever been issued anything about a "standard code of conduct". The doctors just sort of hand the baby over and basically tell the parents "Good luck." Maybe it's different for adoptions?

    All the issues seem so complex...if you have a kid who insists on lying to you, how far is a parent to go?

    I get the impression that she was asking for help from Dr. Phil (which seems stupid to me). But she was at least trying to turn to someone who she considers a "Mental health practitioner." Do you think that these kids (and her others) will be better off for "enjoying" time in foster care while she serves her sentence?

    I don't have a clue here. This is one of those examples that make me *really* glad I've never chosen to try raising children.
  • Scovi jimrthy... 2011/09/25 07:10:15
  • JTsHoneyMomma 2011/08/25 15:38:09
    Child abuse
    Now I am all for not having people how to reaise my kid, but this was PAINFUL to watch! The hot sause was extremely questionable (at best) but the cold shower is downriight cruel. Not to mention, possibly dangerous. And just listen to that kid crying, screaming..it's cruel.
  • jimrthy... JTsHone... 2011/08/25 16:49:32
    jimrthy BN-0
    Cold showers dangerous?!

    I can't watch the video, but that seems like a silly thing to say. Do you have anything solid to back that up? The only thing I've been able to come up with is that they can cause a spike in blood pressure leading to a heart attack--probably not a danger to a 5 year old. That was from someone anonymous on yahoo answer's "alternative medicine" forum: take it for what it's worth.

    My parent's answer to crying over piddling little punishments like these? "If you keep that up, I'll give you a reason to cry."
  • Nancy 2011/08/25 15:37:01 (edited)
    Child abuse
    i think the hot sauce is child abuse as she could be causing him severe pain, and as a child's throat is very sensitive she could cause long term damage.
    omg she's soo mean :'(
  • jimrthy... Nancy 2011/08/25 17:00:05
    jimrthy BN-0
    Note that this was not written by a doctor, but a few replied in the comments:

  • Nancy jimrthy... 2011/08/25 17:20:19
    hhmm that's interesting. i'm sure chillies do have health benefits. however not everyone is used to them, and for me anything hot is painful. i think for a 5 year old it could be worse. it also says that having too much can cause the body to be traumatised or summin like dat.:)
  • hazel Nancy 2011/08/25 20:31:15
    your just silly
  • sherry 2011/08/25 15:36:21 (edited)
    Child abuse
  • Studied 2011/08/25 15:33:19
    Tough parenting
    The jumping jacks and cold shower are okay with me, but the hot sauce goes overboard.
  • maria 2011/08/25 15:32:20
    Child abuse
    Why did she feel she had to tape this ?Does she feel like a big shot ,because can do anything to a little boy ,who by the way is not her blood line.I would like to get my hands on her, bend her over shove a funnel up her aaaassss, and put hot sause in it.
  • Mack 2011/08/25 15:30:46 (edited)
    Child abuse
    She did the crime. She should be made to do the time!!!
  • Any 2011/08/25 15:25:03
    Child abuse
    I wish there was an "undecided" option on this article - I think that her methods were far too rough but I do not think that it warrants harsh punishment for the mother. Harsh physical intimidation should not be used to discipline children - like others have said - violence is learned in the home.
  • jimrthy... Any 2011/08/25 16:41:12
    jimrthy BN-0
    What do consider an appropriate punishment for, say, a little kid who does something that's just plain suicidal that causes others to risk their lives to save him?
  • Michele Bachmann 2011/08/25 15:23:50
    Tough parenting
    Michele Bachmann
    Not to far at all. Fear in a child at age 5 is much better than a Juvenile Delinquent at age 15. More parents should get tough with their kids, the world would be a much better place. The hot sauce nor the cold shower does any harm except to a inflated ego.
  • Nancy Michele... 2011/08/25 15:41:38
    there is something in between you know. and he's only 5, he probably doesn't understand what he's doing wrong properly. do you also like hitting children with that belt thing that hangs behind a door?
  • jimrthy... Nancy 2011/08/25 16:37:19
    jimrthy BN-0
    That's sort of the point: to teach the kid what he's doing wrong and prevent him from doing it again. Or from escalating and doing worse.

    I haven't run across many parents who actually enjoy spanking their kids. Sometimes, it's the most appropriate deterrent. I think the "wait 'til your father gets home!" anticipation was worse.

    There's a world of difference between an appropriately administered spanking and actual abuse.
  • hazel Michele... 2011/08/25 16:04:09
    You are so correct
  • G'Ma 2011/08/25 15:21:15
    Child abuse
    PUT THIS LADY AWAY...7 is definitely not her lucky number...she's a nut case!
  • Philthy 2011/08/25 15:14:23
    Tough parenting
    Eating hot sauce as punishment is child abuse..? I guess getting your mouth washed out with soap would be punishable by death by these idiots... At least hot sauce is eatable, and not potentially toxic like soap... Times have certainly changed in this country, and the downward spiral is clearly notable...
  • hazel Philthy 2011/08/25 16:04:51
    yes turn on the news
  • Lisa Philthy 2011/08/25 16:16:45
    The woman was in a rage! She was being cruel and abusive. He's a child! They make mistakes. This was all over a little argument with another boy in school about pencils! he didn't kill the family dog! She tortured that little boy! Did you watch the video?
  • PapaBC 2011/08/25 15:13:07
    Tough parenting
    I would not force my kid to drink the stuff. Use to put it on thumbs nails to make the kids stop sucking them but the kid caught on too fast. They would use a different finger or run water over the hand. At that point I stopped using the stuff PLUS PLUS didn't want them to rub it in the eyes.
  • Nancy PapaBC 2011/08/25 15:43:18
    to stop my sister biting my nails, my mum used a clear nail polish that tasted really skanky, she soon stopped biting them.
  • Pat Pace 2011/08/25 15:10:35
    Tough parenting
    Pat Pace
    Instead of Hot sauce, she should have just spanked his butt.
  • Studied Pat Pace 2011/08/25 15:28:32
    Can't do that either anymore, the kid will call the police. Not allowed to hit your kids.
  • pcasper59 2011/08/25 14:58:54
    Tough parenting
    It's hard to know what to do at times and this was probably to the extreme trying to discipline to make a point . I do feel she warmed up the wrong end ! The Mom should have warmed up the kid's bottom as we were many times growing up!! A good spanking leaves a lasting impression..
  • Pat 2011/08/25 14:58:31
    Child abuse
    I felt so bad for that child when I saw the video. And she has other children too! Children learn abusive behavior at home and then will go on to be an abuser as an adult. That's why we have so much of this going on now. I would say that this woman should have hot sauce poured down her throat as punishment but I suspect she already did have this done to her as a child. Who do we punish of that?

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