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BOTD 09-08-13 Disobedience on the Dock - A Mahoover Production

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Bransom Postmaster
A mahoover Production

Your son George who is now 8 was pushed into the pool by older boys when he was 6, and has always been afraid of pools since then.  So even though you have tried over time to get him over his fear and learn to swim, he has never been willing to do anything near a pool.  You are now vacationing at a family friend's beach house, which has a dock.  Since George doesn't know how to swim, you explained to him that he can't go out on the dock or near the water without an adult present.  Yesterday at dusk some dolphins were sighted.  George was in the house, and got upset that he missed them.  Your friend told him that the dolphins often show up at dusk, and he will be able to see them another night.

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(*Thanks to AFinch for the dolphin photo)
Today, after you finish cleaning up after dinner you look around the house so that you can take George out to look for dolphins.  You get a little worried when you can't find him in the house, but find him on the dock when you look outside.

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What do you do next?  You have spanked George for disobedience in the recent past, and it seems to work well.

Can you dig it?


Bransom Postmaster
To borrow a term from a good friend of mine.. "Stingoors", that's what is needed here... Maybe a half dozen Smile

Can you dig it?

David M. Katz

Whereas I understand George's excitement and impatience this is disobedience and a safety issue.

I want George to see the dolphins so I will sit with him and let him enjoy the dolphins. We will then talk about the rule and why it is in place and I will give him a few smacks on his seat (a little more than stingors) to reinforce the point. Hopefully not enough to get him bawling but enough to remind him I am serious. I don't want to put a damper on our vacation although having George drown would really be a downer; hence the smacks.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


One of those "Thank God you're ok, now I'm going to kill you" moments! Shocked 

I'm glad he's ok, but he did disobey and I think that during the conversation that serves as the run up to sentencing, I'll mention that and watch his eyes get big, but in the end.....

I will echo Dave on this one!

Perhaps too, I can use this as a springboard to having him learn to swim. If he's fascinated enough with the dolphins maybe we can coax him into the water. It's terrible to be so afraid that he doesn't partake in something that is so much fun and a great source of exercise.


I'm in the Dave and Dimitri club on this.. A short hand spanking. I wonder though if this might be the incentive George needs to learn to swim if he knows we won't be quite so worried about him going near water


George is sitting well back from the dock's edge in the photo. Unless the surface is that of an air hockey game, even if he were pushed he wouldn't land in the water.

It may well be a safety issue, but, at least from the photo, I think getting too upset over this would represent an overreaction.

I'm going to remind him of the rule, and the reason for it. We're going to watch the dolphins together. And I'm going to propose that he learn to swim, promising to take him somewhere where he can swim WITH dolphins if he learns to swim first with humans.

If he were nearer the edge, I'd go along with stingoors or a bit more. In this case, I don't think physical reinforcement is needed.

BTW, when he was 3, the demon spawn slipped off the edge of the pool where he was taking a swim lesson while waiting for his "instructor" to pick him up. He went under water, and was rescued by me. After that, he was beyond terrified, and we ended up withdrawing him from swim lessons.

Six months later, I took him to the pool. As soon as he saw where we were, he began screaming, continuing to scream as I carried him into the locker room and changed him into swim clothes. I carried him to the pool, with him screaming bloody murder the entire time to the point where several passersby insisted he was being abused by being "forced" into the water and that "it wasn't fair". He was in my arms--I never let go. I told the busybodies that it wasn't fair to him NOT toearn to swim.

Long story short, within 30 minutes, he was enjoying the water, within days he was swimming like a fish, and within a year or so, he was on a competitive swim team (coincidentally called The Dolphins) by his own request.


I honestly agree with katz and dimitri but I think I will step back and let my heart start beating again before I scare him......

Im not sure if it's just the mom in me but I think instead Im going to use this as a chance to sit down and talk to him about his fears and see if we can start on some swimming lessons for him. I feel him even being on the dock by the water is a big step and I don't want to scare him off. for safty reason he really needs to learn how to swim. scratch  not sure why I never made him get back in and try .....

hugs kal


Sorry George, but deliberate disobedience over a very real safety issue means a spanking.

Or, I'll give him a choice.  A real hard spanking, on the bare, or a swimming lesson, with me, right now, in the shallow end of the pool.

John Boy

He has lost his dock privilege for the night. I will let him argue himself into a spanking and another night of no dock, or he can drop it, and we can try again tomorrow. Any more infractions will result in immediate EmbarassedEmbarassed


Reckon I should be glad that the attraction of seeing the dolphins has been able to draw him that close to the water. If I now spank him for being there I reckon that will ensure the gain is lost.

Definitely time to introduce him to my old friend Mae West as a starting point.


It is disobedience and technically it is a safety issue.

But as Ivor said I can almost see the little guy hesitantly crawling out the dock, his curiosity fighting his fear of water, wondering if he should dare to make another step that would bring him closer to the terrible water but also closer to the magic animals.

No spanking this time, but a talk later that evening.


Since he's only 8, and since I knew how excited he was to see the dolphins, I think this is a case where I should have given him a bit more supervision. If it was truly dangerous, I might be a bit more upset, but I've managed to walk on docks and around water a large part of my life without accidentally falling in (except 'accidentally,' on purpose).

We will have a talk about safety and obedience, but I also think it's time to start getting him over this fear, starting by going into shallow water, where he can learn at least a few basic swim moves.


1strappedboy hit my thoughts about what to do pretty much out of the ball park. He needs to have some re-enforcement of the safety rule, but I don't want to make him more scared of the water.

Since this is not a pool, I think he doesn't associate it with getting pushed in. So I will try to work with him in the water in the morning. Hopefully by the time we go home, he will be comfortable enough in the water that he will be able to get real swimming lessons.


Editor Extraordinaire
I agree with Ivor.



I'm with Ivor.

To hell with obedience issues.  The kid's scared of water, he's not likely to go dangerously near the edge anyway, plus,  if I play my cards right Serendipity has given me a chance to help George to get over his fear of water.

Then perhaps I may even be able to start to teach him to swim.


I'm with MM and Jack on this, I'm scared of heights and wouldn't dream on going anywhere near the cliff edge. Lets give him a bit of slack in view of his age, but give him a gentle warning not to disobey any orders you will give him in the future.

Stone Man

The convenience of a lap sized boy. To quiet my racing heart I shall sit next to George, haul him onto my lap and wrap him in my arms. If the dolphins are already here, we can watch them for awhile before discussing his disobedient behavior, otherwise we will start the discussion while we wait.

The main reason George is not to be near water on his own is his not knowing how to swim. He is in for some stingoors to "make the point" and will be given a choice... he can be bared and over my lap for a painful session, or he can join me in the water and work with me on his fears.


I agree that getting him over his fear of water is important. The thing that I am worried about is that if I force him, it will just make his fear greater. The hard part is knowing just how much pressure to apply.

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