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13 Sept 2013: A Detective Dad Special - Suspicious Minds

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Jack


Admin
Last night, you gave your 13-year old son, Ethan, a spanking.  He'd come home late from soccer practice.  He doesn't have a strict time, so you were giving him a chance to explain, but his 'explanation' involved the fact that he hadn't come straight home like he's supposed to.  Between those two facts and a bit of attitude, you didn't feel too guilty applying it firmly.

This morning, while writing the incident up for the Spankorama (read about it here), you mentioned that he was trying to convince you that it was no big deal.

Upon going back to bed, that phrase went through your mind again.  The youngest son of your friend, David M. Katz uses that phrase a lot, and his most recent use was when he was caught smoking.  

That fact made an alarm go off in your head, as some other, previous unconnected facts started linking in your brain.

1) Since you got back from the Arlington trip, about 5 weeks now, Ethan has been spending more time at the apartment his best friend, Bruce, shares with his mom.  Mom isn't there during the day.


Ethan (13 last May) and Bruce (14 in about 2 months (and kneeling in this picture)
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

You didn't think much of it, since the two have always wanted a little privacy, both to play YuGiOh and Magic, and to help each other 'relieve tenstions'.  You assumed this was more of the same, and the chance to use a pool that wasn't crowded with Ethan's brothers and their friends.

2) Ethan doesn't have a gym class this year, but he seems to be using an excessive amount of Axe body spray and sometimes using it at odd times.

3) You bought a bunch of Axe over the summer, when it went on sale, and it seems like there's some that can't be accounted for.

4) When a boy gets defensive, like Ethan did last night, it's often because he wants to hide something, yet Ethan quickly admitted having gone to Bruce's house.  That was the final straw that got him a spanking, but if he admitted it that easily, was he trying to hide something else?

Now you have choices to make?

Do you confront Ethan with your suspicions, giving him a warning that you're on the hunt, but also giving him a chance to quit, if you're right?

If you do the last one, do you also remind him of the consequences if you catch him, or does that make it sound too much like a threat?

Do you buy nicotine test strips and make him take a whiz quiz, so there's no question about what's happening?

Do you search his room for evidence?

Do you forbid him from going to Bruce's while Ms. Joyner isn't home?

Do you share your suspicions with Bruce's Mom?

What other options can you think of, or what things do you think should definitely be avoided?

PS - I've noticed the smell of Axe, but not tobacco, and he does chew gum, but he's always done that to some extent.

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David M. Katz


Marshall
Frankly I would just talk to him and lay it all out. Tell him you are going to be checking and searching and talking to Bruce's mom. I would also employ a test strip.

I think one of four issues will come up.

1. He is smoking and will admit it. Jack, I would consider giving a break from the switch due to his admission.

2. He is not smoking and that will be proven in the "investigation."

3. He is smoking and will deny it. God help him when you find out the truth.

4. He is not smoking but doing something else.

As far as forbidding the friend to have contact - no. But there is nothing wrong with parentally supervised visits.


_________________
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kalico


Sherrif
I think for me I would get him alone someplace where he felt comfortable (not your office) and just start telling him what your thinking and worries are and see what he does. if he doesn't come clean then tell him what your options and actions will then be. I'm not fond of room search's or tests but I think that would be my VERY last steps. My first step after if he didn't come clean would be to talk with the mom then maybe do a surprise show up at the house or just don't let him go if mom is not there....GOOD LUCK!

I hope if he is he comes clean.....



hugs kal

Iconoclast


Trailboss
Just get the nicotine test strips. And explain to Ethan that he has been acting like a kid who is smoking, but you are not accusing him because the nicotine test will speak for itself.

Iconoclast

John Boy


Sherrif
David M. Katz wrote:Frankly I would just talk to him and lay it all out.  Tell him you are going to be checking and searching and talking to Bruce's mom. I would also employ a test strip.  

I think one of four issues will come up.

1. He is smoking and will admit it.  Jack, I would consider giving a break from the switch due to his admission.

2. He is not smoking and that will be proven in the "investigation."

3.  He is smoking and will deny it.  God help him when you find out the truth.

4. He is not smoking but doing something else.

As far as forbidding the friend to have contact - no.  But there is nothing wrong with parentally supervised visits.

Thanks for saving me some typing Katz

http://www.malespank.net/listAuthor.php?author=John+Boy

1strappedboy


Sherrif
I'll try talking to him first, laying out my suspicions and why and observe his reaction. If he admits, fine. We now take steps to alter the behavior and set firm rules outlining what will happen of those rules aren't followed/broken.

I'll have a chat with the other kid's parents and they can do as they see fit.

Presuming he does not admit, I will drop the subject for now but will explain to him that when he gets in from school (assuming this is a week day) I will be having him do a 'whiz quiz' because I believe firmly in 'trust but verify'. This will be done regardless.

If he is lying, there will be consequences Twisted Evil  for that and then we begin to take steps to cure the 'addiction'.

squarecutter


Sherrif
I think you deal with the lateness when it happens and if he continues to go to Bruce and come home late you insist visits are supervised. Next time the spanking could be duluxe. As to the other, while Ethan's explanations, to coin a phrase, aren't passing the smell test it might be time to talk it through with Bruces folks as they also may not know what it is happening. They might even both be playing away, together. At the moment, while there may be no smoke without fire your evidence is at best circumstantial. Nothing wrong with warning Ethan not to lie to you though or test your house rules too far.

Finally you as the parent have chosen where the line is drawn. Ethan breaching it at will is a big deal not just for you or him but for the rest of your family as well.

LLALVA


Trailboss
I hope you have found out if it was a dad-radar false alarm.

Hugs

Leti

Jack


Admin
I wanted to update this while I was thinking of it.

I haven't spoken to Ethan (or Bruce) yet. My biggest problem is that I'm unsure of what to do with Bruce in this situation. Part of that is an ingrained instinct against 'snitching'; but I also feel like I should let another parent know about a potential problem, when it's a matter this serious (and when the parent in question has always seemed pretty balanced and reasonable).

While it's possible that talking to Ethan will just make him be more cautious, I really feel that's the best way. As tempting as it is, I think we have to give people the opportunity to let us down, if we want them to trustworthy.

The test strips should be arriving today. I'm probably going to wait until tomorrow, since today is soccer practice. I'll sit Ethan down someplace - maybe his bedroom, if I can chase Parker out. I'm going to detail the things I notice, and let him know where that led my thoughts. I'll be watching his reactions, which should tell me if I'm right, wrong, or on the right trail, but guessing the wrong destination.

I will probably offer him the choice of taking a pee test to prove that I'm wrong. If he declines, I'm going to take that as a sign of guilt, but I will probably just keep a much closer eye on him. It kind of sounds mean, but I feel like it will be a shot across the bow, and it could serve as a wake up call for him.

I will reserve the right to make him take a test, either based on how he reacts or on future behavior, but this is kind of where I'm heading right now.

I'm just not sure if I should include Ms. Joyner in this or keep it to myself unless I find confirmation (at which point she will be told, even if Ethan denies Bruce's involvement.)

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John Boy


Sherrif
Sounds like you have a good approach. Hopefully your hunch is wrong. Or Even more hopefully your casual approach will get him to come clean if he is guilty.

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kalico


Sherrif
I think that sounds very fair and ditto JB......

I, to hope the outcome is good for Ethan but with your radar already on high alert you probably are onto something.



Hugs kal

LLALVA


Trailboss
That is a good approach, like Kal, I hope that the outcome is good for Ethan (Bruce) and you. I love you

Hugs

Leti

1strappedboy


Sherrif
As far as the urinalysis is concerned, I think you should do it anyway. The only caveat I throw out is that before you have him fill the cup, explain that it NOT because you don't trust him. That's important; as long as this is done in a non accusing way it should be OK. Tell him, as I did, "it's not that I don't believe you; I want physical evidence to back my belief that you AREN'T using anything."

I got away with it that way without damaging my bond with Darren and he's one of those kids who can take on an air of "everybody's pickin' on me" because he is so often being called out for various minor acts of brattiness.Shocked 

Jack


Admin
Dmitri, I'll think about that.

Not talking about Ethan, but about me, I'd call total bullshit on what you said. If you need physical evidence, it's because you don't trust me. Period. You can state it any way you'd like, but that's what it comes down to.

Now, a kid might be willing to accept that, and how you state it does go a long way towards how a person takes it. And the simple fact is that it might be worth a little friction to know what's going on.

Not looking forward to it, but I'm not planning to do anything about it until tomorrow, so I have time to contemplate before I have to act.

http://bransomtx.forumotion.net

John Boy


Sherrif
Jack wrote:  And the simple fact is that it might be worth a little friction to know what's going on.

Not looking forward to it, but I'm not planning to do anything about it until tomorrow, so I have time to contemplate before I have to act.
Good luck Jack and Ethan

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Jack


Admin
I did not talk to Ethan about smoking last night. He was worked up before dinner, because of the fight with Parker (and he felt bad that Parker got spanked for 'borrowing' his DS, which wouldn't have happened, if he hadn't made a big deal out of it, causing me to find out). Then I dealt with Bryce and Seth. By that time, Ethan was doing his own homework.

I did talk to him a bit, though. I told him that, largely because of him disobeying me last week, to go over there after soccer practice, I'm not real happy with him spending so much time over there when Bruce's mom isn't home. I pointed out that privacy is one thing, but that there's also lack of supervision. I didn't mention smoking, but I did toss out a few reasons that a parent might worry, even if there wasn't a reason for them.

I ended the discussion with a mention that, if a boy was doing something he shouldn't do, but he didn't know how to stop, it would be better to come to his parents and ask their help than it would be to keep going until he was caught. I told him that confessing might still bring consequences but, if I was involved in the decision, confessing would always go a long way towards mitigating them (yes, I had to stop and define that). I also pointed out that, even if you got away with doing something several times, that didn't mean you were always going to get away with it, and getting caught later could make things a lot worse.

Sometime soon, I'm going to make a good time to talk to him, and we'll discuss why smoking is such a bad idea. We'll probably also go into why they have a lot of the laws they do, and why I'm so strict on enforcing them (even when I don't always agree with them).

If I'm still suspicious in a week or two, I'll use the tests so we'll know one way or another.

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1strappedboy


Sherrif
Sounds like you have the situation in hand. Nothing I'd do differently.

John Boy


Sherrif
OK, sounds like you have a plan in place. Let's hope if he is smoking, he comes clean before you find out the wrong way. If he is clean then lets hope he remembers that for any other times there might be trouble.

http://www.malespank.net/listAuthor.php?author=John+Boy

David M. Katz


Marshall
If he is doing it then he now knows that you know even if you didn't come right out and say it. If he isn't doing it then it was still good advice.


_________________
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.
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LLALVA


Trailboss
So Ethan is not allowed to go to Bruce home if his mother is not around?

Hugs

Leti

Jack


Admin
LLALVA wrote:So Ethan is not allowed to go to Bruce home if his mother is not around?
For right now, that's pretty much it. I'm not going to be draconian about it - if they go bike riding, and I find out he stopped by there, we might talk, but I probably won't go further than that. If I find out it happens on a regular basis, he might be causing himself some troubles.

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