The hot parenting debate
When I was little my mother would always threaten to wash my mouth out with soap and water if I was naughty. I must have been good because I can’t remember hiccupping any bubbles. I’m a modern parent. If I need to cajole my teenage son into doing his homework I simply point towards his Xbox. He’d never risk having that confiscated. My six-year-old daughter is a little trickier – sometimes I have to threaten cancelling play dates, and other times stopping her from watching her beloved Mommy and Gracie show on YouTube. Both have the same effect – a little girl who will always brush her teeth/stop annoying the dog/tidy away her toys.
But I’d never go as far as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who recently confessed to using chillies to punish his children if they misbehave. He said he’d even tricked his daughter Poppy into eating a fiery pepper after she was rude. “Poppy was quite disrespectful to me and she pushed her luck,” he boasted. “Five minutes later she thought I’d forgotten and I hadn’t. She asked for an apple. I cut it up into several pieces and rubbed it with Scotch bonnet and it worked a treat. She ran up to Mum and said, ‘This is peppery’. I was in the corner laughing.”
Personally, I don’t think it’s funny to torture your children, especially with a pepper that’s so hot you need to wear gloves to handle it. That stings. As a chef – and a worldwide TV figure – he should know better. No wonder it made the headlines and sparked an equally fiery debate on parenting techniques (especially his!). Turn to page 30 for more on that story and let me know what you think of Jamie and the rest of the issue.