Cerabino: Florida’s new breed of moms, The Snake Mother


China gave the world The Tiger Mother, the parenting model that uses smothering maternal control to enforce oppressive measures on children to stress academic achievement above all else.

Florida has just introduced the world to a new parenting style: The Snake Mother.

It has been debuted recently near Sebring by Chartelle St. Laurent. The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office forwarded a charge of child cruelty against St. Laurent for orchestrating the biting of her one-year-old daughter by a rat snake. The mom has not been charged with a crime while the local prosecutor’s office reviews the case.

The unorthodox lesson became a viral video this week before Facebook removed it for being too disturbing for some people to watch. It shows the infant being offered the snake in a small container. When the girl sticks her hand in the container, the snake bites her. The girl cries and the mother laughs.

“People are too sensitive and they don’t bother to ask why,” St. Laurent told WFTS, a local TV news station. “They just think that I hurt my child intentionally, but people that know me know I would never hurt my child.”

St. Laurent said she learned how to handle snakes from her father, a Jupiter police officer, and that the snake she used to bite her toddler had bitten her and her older son before and the snake’s bites don’t leave marks.

“Those teeth are too small to puncture the skin,” she explained.

I’m guessing The Snake Mother philosophy starts out the small kids with the small snakes, and as the kids get bigger, and their problems get more thorny and harder to control, The Snake Mother relies on bigger and more formidable snakes.

By the time kids grow up to be rebellious teenagers, it may take a diamond-back rattler to get their attention. Or better yet, one of the many Burmese pythons on the loose in the Everglades.

“OK, dear,” a Snake Mother would say. “It’s time I teach you how to drive. You must always wear your seat belt. That’s why I’m draping this large Burmese python over your torso right now as you sit behind the wheel.

“Pretend it’s a seat belt … See how nice and snug it’s getting? … Too snug? Well, if you forget to wear the seat belt, you’re getting the python the next time you drive. Capeesh?”

OK, maybe Florida’s future Snake Mothers won’t talk like movie Mobsters. But there’s no telling where St. Laurent’s unusual parenting techniques will lead us.

Whatever happens, this is another story about our state that should make us proud; another story that highlights Florida’s children in their various stages of development.

It’s not any state that can pivot from “Cash me ousside” to “Bite me in my Fisher-Price Jumperoo” in a matter of months.

I’m guessing The Snake Mother is just a week or two away from a book deal and a guest appearance with Dr. Phil.

(Suggested show title: “Oh, no! Here comes mommy with that snake again!”)

Sure, there will be many who condemn The Snake Mother’s unusual parenting style. But others will say it’s exactly what kids need today.

There may even be a run on rat snakes. Aspiring Snake Mothers can get a rat snake sent by overnight delivery from BackwaterReptiles.com for $39.99.

Order today, and your new snake could be biting your infant between breast feedings by tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, these special moms might want to take a moment to impress upon their young ones the importance of keeping their hands away from hot surfaces. Time to plug in the iron, Snake Mothers.



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