Parental Guidance: Strict parents defend 'harsh' old-school punishment

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Two stars of Nine's Parental Guidance have come under fire from other parents after revealing the old-school way they like to discipline their sons.

It comes after last week's episode saw 'strict' parents Andrew and Miriam admitting they will smack their children when they are misbehaving.

Parental Guidance stars Rob and Sioux
Parental Guidance stars have been forced to defend their use of a harsh punishment on their children after leaving others shocked. Photo: Nine

Rob and Sioux, 'disciplined' parents, told the group that "smacking is not a consequence we would ever use," but were seen forcing their boys to brush their teeth with soap after they misbehaved. 

"I think that if there’s anything that we stick to in our house, it is that when you say there’s going to be a consequence, you actually have to follow through with it," Sioux says in a video played for everyone.

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"If they use their words incorrectly, if they’re swearing, or if they’re using abusive or rude language, then an obvious consequence for that would be we actually do put a bit of soap on their toothbrush and brush their teeth with soap."

The two boys were then seen brushing their teeth, however, it appears as though they were using regular toothpaste.

"We're disciplined with our boys, because we want to - one, prepare them for the real world, but also, we want our children to maybe make a change to, you know, to be the good in the world."

Rob and Sioux's children
Rob and Sioux said they've forced their sons to brush their teeth with soap as a punishment before. Photo: Nine

The video was met by shock from the other parents in the room, and especially from Penny and Daniel, whose parenting style is described as 'free range'.

"It just brought back some childhood memories that if we did the wrong thing, it was disciplined in a harsh environment," Daniel said, after being asked about his strong reaction. "My mother washed our mouths out with chilli all the time."

Rob jumped in, saying the punishment was "not delivered in a harsh environment", but a "very supportive" one.

"And it’s not done in the moment. It’s a lot of reflection, a lot of talk, a lot of love. Whatever the behaviour choice is, we try to match that consequence," Sioux said.

"If you lie to us or you’ve sworn at us, then hopefully cleaning your mouth with soap, you get that idea of 'it just wasn’t OK'."

Daniel didn't change his mind, adding, "I just couldn't imagine doing it. I just couldn't imagine."

Single mum-of-six Deb said that she resonated with the way Rob and Sioux set tasks for their children, but that the way they discipline their children wouldn't work in her family, saying: "That would create tears."

Parental Guidance's Penny and Daniel
Penny and Daniel were shocked when they heard the punishment. Photo: Nine
Parental Guidance's Yann
Yann also shared his two cents on the idea. Photo: Nine

Sioux continued, saying it was about helping them to understand "life has consequences".

"Whether they’re good or whether they’re bad, every action has a consequence. We just want our boys to understand that," she said.

Rob defended him and his wife, saying they've only ever done it "twice" in nine years, in response to Yann saying: "You’re using the term ‘consequence’ so much, you make me feel like stepping away from even using the concept."

"It sounds ominous, grave, serious. There is nothing that sounds like ‘what goes around, comes around’. It could be delivered as simply as that."

Dr Coulson then explained the way Sioux and Rob are using the word 'consequence' was really just "a sugar-coated form of punishment".

"Consequences and punishments are the same thing in this circumstance. In fact, the research clearly says that when parents are more punitive, they increase the risk that their children will behave in delinquent ways," he told the group.

"Research clearly shows that punishments in parenting don’t work," he added in a piece to camera. "Whether it’s smacking or soap on a toothbrush, it creates shame, not lessons. In the long run, we get better-behaved kids by taking the time to connect when they make mistakes. Just talk to them."

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