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BOTD 6/4/13 "Does He Still Get A Spanking?" DMK

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David M. Katz

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You are a single parent. Your eleven year old son, Riley, is responsible for washing the dishes as his chore. (No, you don't have a dishwasher.) Riley has been having issues with not completing his chore on a timely basis and there have been times where Riley has started but not finished his chore. Usually after several reminders Riley will take care of the dishes. Riley did not do the dishes after dinner last night. You were not feeling well and went to bed early but reminded Riley that the dishes were to be done before he went to bed.

Today is Saturday and, since you were not feeling well, you slept late. When you got up this morning, the dishes were still not done and Riley was playing his video game. You tell Riley that he has earned a spanking. You go to get the paddle. While getting the paddle you are distracted by a phone call. You return to give Riley his spanking and you see:

RILEY - 11
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Riley apologizes and says he is doing his chore now and begs you not to spank him.

Does he still get a spanking?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


If I am a parent as described in the scenario he will get spanked.


Sorry, there's no way I would impose a daily chore like that on a young boy. Maybe looking at the garbage and taking it out when full, but not a day to day duty like dishwashing. That's part of a parent's job like cooking or cleaning the house or doing the laundry. If there are more kids to share a duty it might work, but not with a single child, not even as a single parent working full time. Nothing against agreed chores or cleaning after himself if I'm not at home, however, but all age appropriate.


If I'm the parent in the scenario, he's still getting spanked.

Too little, too late.

Dirty dishes were to be done before he went to bed last night. Per the scenario, I woke late, and the chore still wasn't done, though he had time to play his game.

In real life, I wouldn't expect an 11 year old to do the dishes every day, and I wouldn't punish for it. And a portable dishwasher can be had from craigslist for 50 dollars.

John Boy

Sorry buddy, I told you last night that it needed to be done. Thank you for doing the chore now but you are still going to get a paddling for it.

Stone Man

Lots could be done to make the dishes less of a chore:both of you "cook", both of you wash, dad does the pots and pans, Riley does the plates and cups and bowls, and silverware; etc.

I think the dad in the story would spank Riley for past failures and ignoring warnings and playing games instead of doing the dishes he did not do from the night before.


Better late than never. I would tell him it's a suspended sentence and would use it as a lesson: the pots won't get washed on their own and it's not about him but simply cleaning up after his/our meals together.


The dirty dishes are now getting washed and it would be a mistake to interrupt him now, so Ryley gets a pass today.



Editor Extraordinaire
While I think having to hand wash the dishes every day is quite a chore, my biggest problem with the parenting is that I've established a pattern of constant reminding with Riley. This has been misplaced kindness. Kids need clear expectations and clear consequences. I've provided neither. If I'm the parent in the scenario, I probably won't spank him -- not because I recognize the unfairness of my own inconsistency but because I'm unlikely to break my own pattern.

A better approach is to take a leaf from Stoneman's book and make the preparation and clean-up of dinner a shared chore, from start to finish. I can be flexible if Riley needs a night off because he has a heavy homework load, is visiting a friend, etc. In time, the routine will be well established enough that Riley can also give me a night off when I'm not feeling well.



"Why should I spend $50 on a dishwasher when I've got a kid who is perfectly capable of doing the job if he wasn't so goddam lazy? That'll just cut down on the money I've got for beer and cigarettes!

I'm gonna do what I shold have done a while back. Go get the paddle Riley."

(I just hope the sound of it hitting your butt doesn't make my hangover feel any worse.)


The household in this scenario really seems like it's ran kind of slipshod. In my house, I'd be able to point at the chore chart and say, 'nope, that was strike three, so...'

Honestly, the dad in this scenario seems kind of wishy washy, so I think he'd probably back off. If I were in this situation, I think I'd let Riley finish the dishes, then I'd take him aside, remind him how many warnings he's had, remind him of what I told him last night, and then give him the spanking - maybe slightly less than I'd intended, but it'd depend on how he took it.


What sort of a parent am I. Certainly not disabled if I can paddle Riley when he needs it. In the scenario though I think I am going to give Riley 3 quick pops with that paddle as a reminder to do the chore in a timely fashion then leave him to get on with it


One question I do have. Is it just the dishes for the 2 of us or is it pots and pans also? If it includes those, I agree with Pad that it's OTT for the age. Otherwise....

Honestly, at 11, he's old enough to have a simple recurrent chore such as doing the dishes.

As the scenario describes it, it is just the 2 of us. If he's been 'having trouble' fulfilling his responsibilities as described I too would have to say "too little too late" here and paddle him.

This piece of hard heartedness presumes that this is the only chore he has.

I do like Stoney's idea of shared tasks across the board and perhaps this would be a good thing to adopt going forward.


Of course I'm going to paddle him! Look at him! Nice, hard swats!


Of course he does - I'm out of practice and suffering withdrawal symptoms Twisted Evil

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