31 answers

Washing the Mouth Out with Soap - to Young?

OK - We are experiencing some less than pleasant words at home. When added to the attitude the boy gives me and the number of times he tells us NO - I am considering washing his mouth out with soap. Hey it worked in "A Christmas Story". But he is only 4 is that to young?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

For TashaC and the 5 moms who agreed. I was asking for advice not condemnation. I am a very strict parent, that is why his behavior is so difficult for me. I refuse to threaten something I am not willing to follow through with. I won't threaten him with violence, time out isn't working, taking away toys or TV isn't working. So at the end of a long day (for both of us) when he is being sassy, my initial reaction is to yell and spank his butt. I will not be that kind of parent, so what are my options? THAT is why I come here. Some parents say "love them into good behavior" while others say spank and use soap. My opinion of a good parent is one who can use BOTH pieces of advice and do what is best for their family

Featured Answers

seems to me like if you are considering putting soap in a kids mouth and you HAVE used vinegar as a punishment, then you need some parenting help!!! you dont use things such as soaps and spicey/hot things on kids!! what is wrong with the world today?!

7 moms found this helpful

I would not even consider that approach. You need to find other ways to set boundaries at home. That's not the answer.

4 moms found this helpful

I don't think there is an age old enough for that, so no.

And I think you need to get parenting advice from something more reliable than old movies. I've found "1-2-3 Magic" to be very helpful reading, especially at 4 years old.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

This is an awfully hard things for parents to hear, but generally the tone of voice a child adopts when pissed is the tone the parents use on him when they're pissed. It's just a very childish imitation, and parents so hate being sassed back.

But consider the source. Do you (or your husband, a grandparent or caretaker) find yourself saying things in a sharp or even sarcastic voice to him, like, "You get your little butt in here right now, young man," or "What do you think I'm made of, money?" or "Not another word out of you!" or "Do I have to say it again?" or "Stop that whining this instant!" or "No, I already told you no, didn't I?" or "Boy, are you in trouble now!" or "Don't you dare talk like that to your mother!"

Voila – that's the source. It doesn't take very many such parental messages to make a big impression. Kids, being little tape recorders, learn first what we do, and only later, with much struggle and often much punishment, do they learn to separate out what THEY are supposed to do that is different that the example that was set for them.

Parents are not really to blame for this – until we become aware it's a problem, we are simply playing back the messages and tones of voice that came out of our own parents' mouths, as they were taught by the generation before. Hey, we turned out all right. But could we have turned out better?

The way it's always been done is not the only, nor the best, way to raise our own kids. There are bright and wonderful alternatives, and some fabulous books to help us learn them. My all time favorite, which I've used with my grandson since he was 2.5, is the practical How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish. So isthe book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, and the concept of Emotion Coaching, another term you can google for lots of useful information. (Here's one good link to get you started: http://www.education.com/reference/article/important-pare... .)

These are all an investment of time and effort. And an investment that repays itself many times over in reduced stress and increased happiness.

With my grandson (and earlier, with his mommy as a child), I was always careful to use a polite voice, complete with please and thank you. And this is what they learn. Soap never entered a mouth, nor was it ever needed. We look for ways to find a "yes" that work for everybody, so instead of a phrase like "No, you cannot play with the remote," we'd instead keep the remote out of sight and have a dead cell phone available as a special toy. Instead of "No cookies before dinner," we'd set out two cookies and say, "Yay, you can have these just as soon as you've eaten a good dinner!"

I've actually seen two generations of really terrific kids in my extended community who have been raised without punishment, in the usual sense of the word. They get to experience the consequences of their mistakes, they get corrected consistently but gently, they get treated with real respect and as much equality as is safe to give them. They have all (with the exception of a couple of littles with ADHD-type problems), been polite, cooperative and delightful members of their families and of the larger community.They live up to expectations, and the expectations are that they are good, responsible, and complete humans with amazing capacities and plenty of natural common sense.

If I am making an erroneous assumption about how you talk to your son, please don't take it personally. It is more often true than not, and other moms may read this and think, "Oh, wow, I DO talk to my child that way!"

9 moms found this helpful

seems to me like if you are considering putting soap in a kids mouth and you HAVE used vinegar as a punishment, then you need some parenting help!!! you dont use things such as soaps and spicey/hot things on kids!! what is wrong with the world today?!

7 moms found this helpful

If your child were to put a bar of soap in his mouth on his own, you would take it away from him, would you not?
So why would you deliberately put soap in his mouth as punishment?

7 moms found this helpful

Ugh, why would you do that to your son.
There are so many other effective ways to correct your child.
You need to find the energy to teach him better ways.

Good Luck.

5 moms found this helpful

Soaps in today's world are full of harmful chemicals. I don't want that junk on the skin of my children, much less in their little mouths.

Movies aren't real life. Washing his mouth out with soap will make him resent you, not respect you. You need to do something that will have an impact on the issue itself.

Consider taking toys away, like Krista P said. Time outs work well, but what works even better it putting them up on a kitchen counter (they're mostly afraid to jump down), "trapping" them with your arms (one on each side of them on the counter) and talking to them about how inappropriate it was. Tell him he can only get down when he understands WHY what he did was wrong. Then stick to your guns and talk it out.

5 moms found this helpful

Not only too young, but extremely ineffective and ridiculous.

Do people really still do this?

What words is he using? Where is he hearing them? At home, school?

At 4, he is more in a "repeating" mode than "intending to use the word for its meaning" mode. I really think you should find out where he is hearing these words and go to the source. Also, make sure he knows they are bad and WHY.

I have a 7year old and a 6 year old. They both still think "stupid" is a bad word. They don't sass us, they have NEVER told us "no". Not once. I don't think it is because my children are angels and never do anything wrong (I have seen some eye rolls from my daughter!!). I really think it is all in the way DH and I talk to THEM. We discipline them and they know what is expected of them.

We don't tell our kids to shut up, scream at them, etc. So, they don't talk like that to us. I am not saying this is what is going on in your home - my point is, go to the source of the bad words and sass. He has to be learning in someplace.

4 moms found this helpful

He will always be too young for that. No one should have their mouth washed out with soap. Kids do what we model. Try to listen to yourself and DH for how often your son hears the word 'no'. I would try saying yes more - 'yes, we can play outside as soon as we clean your room together', yes I will read to you, just as soon as I finish the laundry - let's fold together'. etc. I found that making things fun and being on the same team made my life (and I assume DS's as well) much more pleasant at that age. We raced just about everywhere - wow, I bet I can get to the bathroom first to brush teeth (you have to let him win). The toothbrush talked in a funny voice ' oh, says the toothbrush, I really want to eat those bacteria on your teeth, pleeeease'. Also the 'do over' was a life saver. DS - no, no I don't want to (insert anything here), followed by crying and yelling. Me- would you like a hug and we'll start over? DS (most of the time) gulping air, 'yeeees", followed by a hug and after a moment the original question - almost alway things went better.

Four year olds are learning the power of words. They don't really know what they mean - they know they get a reaction. All we did was say - that's a mean/ugly/not nice word and we don't use it, then move on to something else. They will find 'bathroom' words funny for a while (witness Judd Apatow movies) and we just told him where he could use these (in his room or the bathroom). We were not punitive about it. We did finally have to explain to him how to correctly pronounce 'fart' since he kept saying 'furting' and I couldn't handle it any longer.

4 moms found this helpful

I would not even consider that approach. You need to find other ways to set boundaries at home. That's not the answer.

4 moms found this helpful

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