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Thursday, December 08, 2005 

Lippy kids don't deserve respect?

One thing important to me as a mother is giving my children an environment where thinking is permitted. I value free thought and free expression.

My children can say whatever they want to me, safely. By safe, I mean they do not need to fear a punishment.

If I am told, "you are mean, you big ninny!" then I say, "you have some strong feelings!"

They are, after all, only feelings.

I can't control another person's feelings. I can't even control my feelings! All I can control is my reaction to my feelings.

I don't feel my self worth is on the line with a taunt like above, so I don't feel the impulse to make someone 'pay' for their thoughts or feelings.

If I can stand back and recognize what is driving those strong emotions, I can try to get that root cause. After the strong emotions have run their course, I can talk about a better way to communicate than calling names.

I'm not perfect but when I realize that, I fix it. I apologize. I try again.

I've been reading commentary on the TV show "Wife Swap", an episode where a Christian and an Atheist household switches mothers. From a commentary on the atheist family's web site comes this description. [infidelguy.com]

Sounds like the show used some editing tricks, but this part of the commentary struck me. 'Jeff' is the Rev. Jeff Stonerock, see him here: http://www.victoryworldoutreach.org/images/pastor_jeff.gif
Jeff explains that one of his 6 kids actually "got a little lippy" with him, then laughs about how he washed the kid's mouth out with soap. He laughs more about how the kid kept saying "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care" while Poppa Jeff amped up the mouth soap punishment "worse and worse and worse" until the kid couldn't take it anymore and gave in.

I couldn't confirm anywhere else that he said this, but I did find on the ABC site his wife describing the soap punishment.

Based on this description:

Would you feel safe in speaking your mind in Jeff's house? Or do you think he treats non-family better than his children? (i.e., do you think if you got 'lippy' with him he would treat you that way, too?)

Would you want someone to do this to you? If not, is it OK to do it to someone else? What if they are younger than you, like a child?

What does Jeff think he is teaching his children?

What do you think about Jeff's congregation? What do you think Jeff preaches to them about? Would you take your child to his church?

Oh man, the fact that he was actually putting soap into the mouths of his own children was just amazing to me. I could NEVER do that to one of my kids, no matter what they said or did!!
Ack, have you seen Bible Gal's site? I was just reading through the guest book. That is some funny stuff!

Yes, he actually did say that and was laughing as he did. I found that to be the most disturbing part of the episode. BTW, I downloaded it just to see The Infidel Guy in the episode - I don't make a habit of watching reality TV. I do have to admit that this episode and the one with the 'God Warrior' have been entertaining.

Thanks Cassandra and Alan! I just signed the Bible Gal's guestbook (entry #128). I hope it doesn't get deleted! I'd love to have a dicussion about this.

Excellent questions!
I think that if Jeff tried to put soap in a persons mouth (other than one of his own children) he would get hurt.

I was really appalled when I saw Jeff treating his kids that way. I don’t know about you, but I think if I grew up in a house that did that I wouldn’t respect my father in any way. I was spanked as a child and it never did work, but my father stopped when we were fairly young and he “used his words” instead. Respect is earned, not derived from being a bully. Jeff’s just bullying his kids.

'bully' (physical aggression towards someone not able to defend themselves) is a good way to describe it. I wonder why a pastor of a church doesn't recognize it as such?

The major problem I have with letting kids just speak their mind is that it teaches them they don't have to be polite. It's possible to speak your feelings of anger, bitterness, or what-have-you and still be polite and nonconfrontational about it. By calling them on the carpet for their approach, you can teach them that, yes, it is to tell me how you feel but you need to learn how to say it in a way that promotes resolution of the problem and not add additional conflict to the situation. You can teach people skills, rather than teaching kids that it's ok to be as obnoxious as you like simply for the sake of making their point. I was always allowed to speak my mind to my own parents, but I was not allowed to be rude about it. The skills I learned as a result have led some people to tell me I'd be a great hostage negotiator. I really believe that being to speak your feelings in such a way as to not make the other person feel like they are being attacked is a very important skill to learn. (And it's sad that the soap-in-the-mouth treatment is still used; it's not one I will ever use with my own children.)

Hi Jim, thanks for jumping in. I think we are on the same page. I use a gentle, "I don't like to be talked to that way" nor do I reward obnoxious behavior.

I wrote my blog while imagining being held down while someone shoved soap in my mouth. The person that thought this is OK is a pastor. How could someone who believes that they are holy / good / moral (however he thinks of himself) do this?

Some may think soap to the mouth is extreme; but you have to teach your kids that some behavior is extremely intolerable. My wife and I have reluctently used bar soap to clean up potty mouth after a couple of warnings to two of our four children who needed it. It worked extremely well! Children are not all alike so what some people consider extreme punishments are not required by every child. As I said only two of our children needed it because they had strong stuburn personalities.

You all are AWESOME moms/parents! I agree with you all completely!

tc, someone should hold you down and shove a bar of soap in your mouth. That is cruel and inhumane! You should be reported to child welfare services.

I am a mother of 4. 3 of my daughters were very easy, Only one was in need of soap and it only took one time and I never had to use it again. today the youngest is 19 years old and all our girls are very respectful people, holding good jobs. We are very proud of them. I beleive it works!! You dont have to be hateful about teaching your kids, you just have to let them know what is not tolerated. Actually right from wrong,so many people miss that now a days they dont want their children upset. I dont beleive that we need to give our children unessesary greif, but we do need to correct them. As for Pastor Jeff, I cant say enough about a man like him. I have had the wonderful opportunity to know him and his wife and family. WoW!!!! They are exceptional. Its easy to judge people that you dont know, but it is really not fare to the people. That soap thing may have come across to some people not so good. I know for a fact that Pastor Jeff or Kelly his wife wouldnt ever do anything to damage any one in their family or elsewhere. They are wonderful parents and they do so much in our community and if you ever need someone to talk to they take the time. I think if you dont know them Please before you judge them to harshly find out who they really are. They are
awesome people.

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  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
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