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‘Hot-saucing’ couple to pay damages to their kids

TT/Rebecca Martin · 1 Jul 2011, 14:22

Published: 01 Jul 2011 14:22 GMT+02:00

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“As this is a case of small and defenceless children the offence cannot be regarded as minor,” wrote one of the judges in passing sentence.

According to the children, the hot sauce was painful to swallow and made it feel as if their mouths were “on fire”.

The matter came to light after one of the two kids told the school nurse about the method of punishment. After she had filed a report, the police instigated an investigation and the parents were subsequently charged with assault.

During the trial the parents testified that the children had been “unruly” and frequently told lies.

When the couple didn’t manage to curb the perceived bad behaviour through withholding sweets, revoking TV privileges or grounding the children, they agreed to administer a drop of Tabasco per lie to the children.

The method of child correction by "hot-saucing" their tongues has been debated by parents in the US since a book on child discipline promoting the method was published in 2000.

Story continues below…

The method, which some claim has its roots in the southern states of the US, has divided parents across borders and had celebrities like TV’s Dr Phil up in arms.

The Norrtälje parents were given a suspended sentence and were fined the equivalent of 60 day’s income each. They must also pay 15,000 kronor ($2,380) to the children.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:25 July 1, 2011 by Grokh
So its ok to tell lies , way to educate the future generations, tell lies and sue your parents.

would probably be easyer to just send them to their room and cut tv or computer though, spice or soap on the tongue is so 1800's
14:34 July 1, 2011 by Deema
So if the children frequently 'told lies', how do we know they are telling the truth???
14:43 July 1, 2011 by Swedesmith
When I was a kid, my parents made me eat soap if I used bad language or told lies. I had the whitest teeth around.
14:52 July 1, 2011 by MarshaLynn
The modern world has lost its mind: parents paying damages to children? Does not this undermine the parents' authority from the children's perspective for the duration of their childhood? I have no patience with child abuse, and the parents could have chosen a better method of discipline. But the court should have penalized the parents in some other manner apart from their children's knowledge. If the children are to remain with them, then they must not have their authority undermined.
14:59 July 1, 2011 by astra2thor6
We hear everything about the rights of children. But what are the complementary responsibilities of children? Please tell me! Is one, "not to tell lies"?
15:18 July 1, 2011 by axiom
cruel and unusal punishment, me thinks ...
16:09 July 1, 2011 by engagebrain
children are children and cannot be expected to behave as adults or have any complementary responsibilities - astrathor6

turning the question around - who punishes adults with tabasco, or anything else, whe they lie ?

children are of course bad at telling lies - it takes practice.
16:24 July 1, 2011 by Icarusty
Great, more importing of American behaviours (and products) to Europe
17:04 July 1, 2011 by stillwatersrd
Wait....you can buy hot sauce in Sweden?
18:00 July 1, 2011 by prince T
Hot sauce is a cruel way of punishing a child. I support child dicipline but not cruelty to children.
18:11 July 1, 2011 by mamegoma
I'm from Texas and I started eating Tabasco with my food by age 7. Kids these days are so weak.
18:37 July 1, 2011 by irridium
I'd take tabasco any day over the soap I had to eat as a child. It's not like it was habanero sauce.
18:40 July 1, 2011 by Gletta
Poor parenting. Compulsory parenting education to tackle the issues of lies and how parents control the kids would be far more appropriate and constructive for all.
21:03 July 1, 2011 by calebian22
Compulsary parenting education from the nanny state? No thanks.
21:11 July 1, 2011 by conboy
I think they should eat cake!
23:57 July 1, 2011 by MarkinBoston
When I visited the Tabasco plant in Louisiana, I bought a jar of Tabasco flavored fruit jelly. Mmmm.... delicious!
00:48 July 2, 2011 by bira
Tabasco? That's not even hot! Try some habanero.
01:24 July 2, 2011 by blursd
You know what these two kids just learned ... if their parents try and make them do anything they don't want to do they can tell on them to someone at their school after the fact ... and then they CAN do whatever they want.

Parents raising children vs. the State raising children. Unless those parents are force dripping Tabasco sauce into their kids' eyes I don't see anything wrong with what they did. Maybe it wasn't the most effective method of reaching the desired result, but it didn't cause any permanent physical harm and seems to have been reenforced as a "negative" experience as a result of unacceptable behavior. My parents did far worse to me than make me drink Tabasco sauce I can tell you that right now ... and in retrospect I deserved everything they did to me because I was being a little snot and getting into trouble.
02:36 July 2, 2011 by Stickeroo
What pansies...my mom used to smack me with the big wooden spoon. Tabasco....phhffffttt! At least these two are trying to teach their kids something. Too many parents just let their kids run wild these days..
05:45 July 2, 2011 by Jim__in_Vietnam
I am from the States - I had three brothers and three sisters and we NEVER disobeyed or lied to our mother. (She carried a gun.)

Tabasco sauce was considered a condiment on par with tomato Ketchup at my house. We didn't swig the stuff, but it's great on peanuts, fries, etc.

In all candor, the so-called "civilized" approaches to child-rearing are ridiculous. I cringe when I witness parents apologize to their children, or speak to them as if they were adults. Children despise weak parents, and will make their lives Hell on Earth.

These Swedish kids are going to grow up to be social retards. As a great American once said, "Spare the duct tape, spoil the child!"
11:55 July 2, 2011 by RitaPita
Why would the children be compensated with money on this issue? Shouldn't the children be taken in by child protection services while the parents go through some parenting training?

I dont think the kids are even old enough to understand what a piece of paper has to do with their traumatic upbringing. That is setting a bad example for future generations on how to "fix" problems.
12:28 July 2, 2011 by Rick Methven
I suppose the parents are now going to charge their kids rent andcharge for all meals that do not contain tabasco to get their 15k back.

A better punishment for the parents would be to have to soak their privates in tabasco
14:29 July 2, 2011 by domsworld77
dont pay the damages ,do some time in prison and the the judge look after the kids. this might open his/her eyes to the real world
14:38 July 2, 2011 by eton75
The world has gone crazy . Growing up in boarding school in England I was subject to corporal punishment by my teachers . Six wacks of the cane and no more nonsense . It made men out of us and is what built the British Empire . Parents should be allowed to control their own children and not be subject with BIg Brother looking over over their shoulders . This case is just too much to fathom .
15:05 July 2, 2011 by Icarusty
I agree with all the comments above. I had to endure waterboarding every week, was tasered whenever I didn't do some right and look how well I turned out... now I'm successfully moaning on an expat website about the good ol days of the British Empire.
17:26 July 2, 2011 by Qassim
It is a bit harsh punishment though I would not recommend that the parents should be punished for disciplining their kids - just simply looking from a perspective of parents trying to bring up children with civility. And of course if punishment is seen inevitable by the judge, the parents would not have been reprimanded or sentenced in the presence/knowledge of their children. This will truly contribute to a messy dysfunctional family where parents lack the authority to bringing up their children in politeness and order!

I would also like to bring into your attention that there have been many cases of this kind in Sweden but why on earth did they pick this one out of the hundreds of thousands of families with children throughout Sweden?

A desperately crying mother to get her kids back on TV4 and STV still echo in my head after she was accused of not being aware of her kids' wellbeing - I guess one of her kids reported of 'molestation' from their mother's acquaintance who did visit their home. As a matter fact, they did not charge any crime against the mother; however, they took her children against her will. What is the difference between that case and this case?
18:10 July 2, 2011 by Swedesmith
Soaking privates in tobasco? Oh, Rick, you saucy devil.
19:10 July 2, 2011 by Clarabow
We only have the parents words and no ages for the 'small' children here, so whilst children need to know right from wrong, there are other ways to discipline children! The question to the children is not what lies, but why? Children and adults tell them for all sorts of reasons - fear, saving face, covering up, to avoid something, and it is easy to be a bad parent, much harder to be a good one - because being a good parent takes time and patience. Using a hot spicy sauce on developing taste buds and soft tissue doesn't seem like a good idea to me? I can remember telling lies as a child, usually to save my brothers from another thrashing. Without a lot more information it is hard to judge this. (As an aside having worked with children in education it is hard to get away from the fact that bad parenting is at the root of a lot of child problems, which sadly become adult ones.)
10:39 July 3, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
There is not one day that I do not see a spoiled brat shouting and kicking and throwing himself on the floor when the parents denied him a little cookie. In my country, we would spank them and they inmediately would get the message of who is in command in the family. I was yesterday having a hamburger in one of the many MacDonalds we have in Stockholm, while a specimen such as the one I described, made life impossible for everybody with his screamings and bad behaviour. The poor "papa" did not know what to do. He simply did not dare of doing something. Finally, he bought the stupid 5 year old child an ice cream and that did it. The problem is that the "funny and adorable" little rat, knew once more who is in command in the family and who will remain being in command in his family.

If parents want to keep order, they have to learn to fulfill their promises. Bad behaviour, no TV, computer, Nintendos and whatever. Good behaviour, good treatment.

Swedish parents, I will give you an advice: Keep your promises but keep them and do not let anybody in your family to even try to break them. If they do, you will pay the price, a very hard and expensive price: the spoiled brat (s) will take command of the family. Do not use Tabasco sauce, just keep your promises.

At your service!
12:04 July 3, 2011 by hjoian
unbelievable......or maybe not in this nanny state who dictate how parents should bring up their kids. Parents here are caught in between a rock and a bad place,and should not accept ANYONE telling them how they should discipline their own flesh and blood. This is nuts,the message given to these kids now is that they will be rewarded by "grassing" on their own parents....... this is hardly a case of child abuse and being a child of Victorian parents, i knew all about corrective beatings,abuse,going hungry and denial of fun. Its a pity the justice system here does not extend to its own goverment departments and the systematic abuse of immigrants.
12:14 July 3, 2011 by cogito
by stillwatersrd

Wait....you can buy hot sauce in Sweden?

by bira

Tabasco? That's not even hot! Try some habanero.

How about Jalepeno? Where does Jalepeno stand in hierarchy of hot? Hotter or milder than Habanero? Is Jalapeno even available in Sweden?
10:03 July 4, 2011 by batista123
Motti you have a great love comments and I like your version of the chat history from my bed that applauding hhh

12:14 July 4, 2011 by jacquelinee
Wait a minute! To go off topic for a sec. You mean you can actually SUE someone in Sweden???? Maybe I should go after the doctor who diagnosed my skin cancer as excema. HMMMMM.

On topic. OK maybe tabacso is a bit much, but it beats the heck out of soap or the wooden spoon that I got. But we live in a culture where children have the spirit of "entitlement" and grow up to be selfish, self absorbed adults who believe their opinions, wants, needs, desires are the only valid ones and that the world was created because someone, in the great somewhere, knew THEY were coming. If more parents tried to instill ethics, accountability, honor, honesty and integrity, tomorrows world would be a much better place. A very sad commentary on todays society in Sweden.
12:56 July 4, 2011 by PoJo
Nonsense bs. Why would the parents pay money to their children? What kind of punishment is this?

I think it's so hard to be a parent in Sweden. Every time I am in a public place and a child starts screaming, the poor parents look around ashamed, without knowing what to do, because people look at them judging them whatever they do. As if they were the perfect parents themselves. I cannot imagine how a parent could be afraid of their own children, because some lucky day they might sue them. What a world!!
23:38 July 5, 2011 by cattie
I was talking to a Swedish father of young children about his hopes and dreams for his kids. What he wanted to teach them about life. He wanted them to know how much he loved them, he wanted them to be happy, he wanted them to enjoy life.

Sounds like what every parent wants, right? Except we talked for a long time, I am also a parent. Nowhere did this father think it was it was his job to instill a sense of character or duty into his children. I suggested that we have a duty to teach our privileged children a sense of service and gratitude. I said I wanted my son to grow up to be a hero in some way, even if he is only the hero of his own family or community.

When I mentioned this to him, it was like a "light bulb" went on over his head. Of course he wanted his kids to be more than just good on the football field. Somewhere in the "losing our religion" phase of swedish history, they have also lost some of the templates for the moral inspiration of children. There seems to be som kind of "reactive" idea to a colder more "moralistic" time in an age of previous generations.
00:04 July 7, 2011 by nimshubur
A drop of Tabasco? Delicious!

Palmolive soap, now, that was nasty.
23:34 July 8, 2011 by Paula-port
I am a latin mother, trying to raise 2 children in a different way from the one I was raised. 8 Years ago, my 6 year old son called a "whore" to my 12 year old daughter. She came to me in tears, spelling the word to explain (the use of bad words is not allowed in my house). He was too young to understand what he was saying, but he did understood that it was an effective thing to do and so, and despite the fact that I told him that he was never do use that word again, he did it again. I put hotsauce in his mouth. In the seconds after he did it, my thoughts raced on how to handle the situation: On the first time, I had maybe given too much importance to the use of the word; I offered explanations that I thought were coherent with the thinking at that age; I had told him that he had caused great pain to his sister (which was visible to him...) and he had seen how sad and aggravated she was, and I had told him how sad and disappointed I was. I also appealled to his intelligence, explained why he should not use words he did not know the meaning... After the hot sauce, he never used the word again. In a world in which parents are rethinking how to discipline their children, moving away from the cruelty of the punishment infflicted to us by our parents, we however understand that, educating a child just by giving good example does not work - maybe it would if we were the only people in the child's life - or if the child was surrounded by only one type of behaviour... which does not happen. I have never used physical violence, and I believe that the worst thing I did was using the hot sauce. However, sometimes, with my son I have to wonder on what to do because, even the punishments of "no TV, no games, you are grounded" just do not work. He will respect the punishment (while looking at me in a challenging way), but he will do it again... (These days, I have to keep him away from the hot sauce, which he loves, so it would not work...) The thing is, what do we do in a world in which we raised our children like if they were the center of the Universe, and in which our, now, teenagers or young adults are starting to behave like the children in Lord of the Flyes?

Regarding the decision of the Judge, he could have not chosen worst: he turned the parents - in all senses - hostages of those children. And knowing children, they will use this loaded weapon against the parents. Now that children were overly empowered and the parents will be affraid to discipline them, what is the possibility that those children will have a normal growth and will become well adjusted, fulfilled, happy adults, with healthy relationships with other human beings?
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