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12-20-12: There's Always A Good Reason, Right?

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Your son, Brandon, has just turned sixteen. Even as an older teen, Brandon is still subject to a sore butt for some issues. For a couple of years, you have also introduced grounding and privilege loss to the punishment arsenal. Brandon cooperates with, responds to and learns from spanking as well as other punishments. Punishments for him are not very common anymore as he is basically a really good kid. He has always been honest and cooperative with you and your spouse and does strive to be obedient and do well in school.

Brandon just got his driver's license and the freedom got away with him a bit and he was having issues with his curfew. After several discussions with Brandon about curfew he was still coming in late. Finally you grounded Brandon for a week. Part of being grounded is that he is not allowed to drive.


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Brandon has cooperated well with being grounded although you can tell it is hard for him. Brandon is five days into his week's punishment.

Brandon has a good friend who is also sixteen and drives. His friend also has a job at the local cinema-plex. You and your spouse are out and Brandon is home. He gets a call from his friend saying his friend's car won't start and he has to be at work. The friend's parents or other friends are not available and he desperately needs a ride to work. If he doesn't make it or if he is late he will be fired. Brandon explains he is grounded but the friend begs for the favor anyway saying he has no other choice. Brandon decides to help. Brandon goes in your room where you have impounded his keys. He takes his keys and drives and picks up his friend and takes him to work. He returns home and replaces the keys and waits on you.

When you and your spouse come home, Brandon explains what he did. He was afraid someone may have seen him or that it would get back to you and he wanted you to hear it from him first. You ask Brandon why he did not call you and he honestly answers, "Because I assumed you would say no and he really needed the help."

Brandon then looks at you and asks, "There is always a good reason to break a rule, right?"

What is your response to Brandon?


Getting to work is necessary. So i will accept Brandons reason.


It's not the driving that bothers me, it's his lack of trust in me making the right decisions for him.

John Boy

I believe yes this time there is. Next time though, he needs to let me know what is happening.


I think this is a good reason. Perhaps there wasn't time for him to call me, or perhaps he just didn't think about it. If he really thought I would say no (and refuse to help out myself), I think we have a bigger issue to work out than swats vs grounding.

Almost all rules have reasons for breaking them sometimes. I think keeping his friend from losing his job is a good reason. I will, however, reiterate that the number of good reasons is very limited.


I agree with previous posters, and particularly with this:
Padraig wrote:It's not the driving that bothers me, it's his lack of trust in me making the right decisions for him.

I'll tell him that of course he is not in trouble, since helping his friend in this emergency was the right thing to do, just like I won't expect him to remain in his room if there's a fire while he is grounded.

However I will tell him that next time something like this happens I'd really like him to trust me and phone me, and he will find that I'm not an unreasonable ogre. I don't expect his friend to lose his job just because he is grounded.

Stone Man

I got a good laugh after reading the responses so far... and for a good reason.

It didn't even enter my mind that I could call my parents when they were out as I had put myself in Brandon's place and when I was a sixteen-year-old (45 years ago) there was no calling parents unless they were at someone's house.

So it wasn't a matter of trusting my parents to agree, as I KNOW they would have under these circumstances.

Brandon earns an attaboy for showing good judgement for helping out his friend, doing nothing else on his drive and for telling me as soon as he could.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm in agreement with the other posters, though surely a few for-fun stingoors are in order.



Can I be db106?

David M. Katz

The night of the last straw curfew violation, I should have given him some school boy style swats and been done with it and we would have not had this issue.

Brandon is not in trouble. My only concern is he felt he couldn't call me, but he is 16. How commendable that he told me. Sure I might have found out but this one would have probably slipped through unnoticed.

He really is a good kid. When the time comes, I will let him off a day early, but he doesn't need to know that yet. However if there are curfew issues again, I will be using the paddle.

Yes, there is a good reason, but those reasons are limited.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


Not always but on this occasion there probably is. Two admirable things. Brandon being prepared to take one for a friend and being up front about it. One bad thing. He was upfront about it after the event. The question he might ask though is whether I would have allowed and in the teenage mind there is always the chance I would say no putting Brandon in the awkward position of disobeying me and be in breach of his restriction for definite. No I am going to thank Brandon for being honest and say if it is one like this he should just ask. He has at least me feel he won't just try and make up an excuse. If it is must get so and so to a party though the answer will be no.

So no further action but the restriction will carry on as if nothing happened


I think because he has been upfront with me, and he has not done this for any selfish motive, but quite the contrary, I will let this pass this time.

I will tell him that this doesn't mean he has 'carte blanche' to overlook his punishments in the future, but I can understand why he did what he did, and I would probably have done the same in the circumstances.

In this day and age, I kind of wonder why he couldn't have got in touch with me on my mobile, but maybe I was in a place where it had to be switched off.

I think I'd want him to contact me in future if he is going to do something like this, but this is not a detail I would be harping on at the moment.


"Yes, Brandon, there are always 'good' reasons to break a rule. Some of them are acceptable, some of them aren't."

At that point, I'm going to turn him around, give him a couple of hard swats on the rear, like he was a toddler, then turn him around again.

"That's for not calling me, but this was a good reason. I would have let you do it, and thank you for being honest about it."


It's funny, because, like Stoney, cell phones still aren't second nature to me. My kids seem to have no trouble thinking about them, and the idea that someone wouldn't be in easy contact 24/7 is a bit strange to them, but I just don't think that way yet.

I can kind of understand why Brandon wouldn't have called. I think Square has part of it, but I'd think part of it is just him making a decision and acting on it. "I'm grounded, so I can't do this, but it needs to be done, so I will." The idea of calling and asking you to violate your own rule probably never even occurred to him.


There are good reasons to break a rule and this was one of them. Of course this would be a non-issue in our house as I don't ground. Brandon would have a sore rear to remind him to get home on time and that would have been that.

In the instance of the scenario, I will give him a 'pass' on getting his friend to work and an 'atta boy' for being a friend in need. He needs to know that he can (and should) call me in the future so that there are no misunderstandings.

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