Sympathy for the Hot Sauce Mom?

Have you heard the story about the mom who poured hot sauce into the mouth of her 7 year old adopted son?  I first read about it a few months ago, and the story is resurfacing again as the legal battle heats up.  If you aren’t familiar with the story of the mom, her family, and The Dr. Phil Show, check it out here.   And if you want to watch the video of the mom (Jessica Beagley) actually inflicting the punishment, here it is:

So, what do I have to say about this incident?  To be honest, I’m not sure.  The prosecutors sure paint an ugly picture of Ms. Beagley as a mom hungry for notoriety on a reality show, and willing to do anything to get it.    The defense wants the jury to see her as a stressed out, desperate mother of 6, doing what she could to get help from the country’s most infamous psychologist.  I don’t know who to believe, but a couple things seem certain:

1.  There are lots of folks who are willing to do lots of crazy things to get on TV.  Whether the intentions are good (win a million dollars, find true love, get free parenting advice), or not so good (destroy the reputation of a colleague) this sets up a slippery slope of stupid, and sometimes even dangerous behavior.  Perhaps we all need to re-think our obsession with reality TV and the drama it invites.

2.  Parenting is super hard.  Parenting children with special needs is even harder.  While it is never OK to abuse or torture children, we must have sympathy and understanding for parents who are pushed to their limits.  Furthermore, affordable, user-friendly parenting resources need to be closer to home than in the LA studios of The Dr. Phil Show.

What are your thoughts about this disturbing story?