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BOTD 9 Dec 2013: Revenge is a Dish Best Served...?

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You have two sons, and both of them were accidents. Terry is already in college, while Tanner is only 9. Despite an age difference of almost ten years, the two of them get along great.

Terry and Tanner Together
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Terry came home from college this weekend to help with the Christmas decorations. As soon as he arrived home, he made some calls and went to visit some of his old friends. Saturday, you and he watched some football together, then decorated the house. Tanner helped some, but he's really too small to do a lot, and you and Terry had most of it done. Now it's after dinner, and Terry's taken off again.

Before Terry could leave, Tanner cornered him and suggested that the two of them could go to a movie. Terry laughed and replied, "Sorry squirt, but I've got a date with someone a lot cuter than you tonight. Maybe when I'm home for Christmas."

A few minutes later, you heard a crash from the boys' bedrooms. When you investigate, you see the door to Terry's room is open and his light is on. You know he's gone, so you stick your head in to see what's what. What you find is Tanner and a broken trophy.

"What's going on?" you snap?

"I hate him. Why's he gotta be so mean? Why's he want to hang out with some ol' girl, anyway?"

The trophy was most valuable player on Terry's little league team, and it meant a lot to him. Considering where the pieces are, it's hard to believe it was an accident. What kind of answer are you going to give Tanner?

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


Two wrongs don't make a right.

And unless you're the leader of the Free World, or equivalent, malicious drone strikes are never right either.

We'll talk about that, but the outcome will be that Tanner will get a tanning, and then have to apologize to his big brother. A private word to Terry, both suggesting that he might want to pay a LITTLE bit of attention to his adoring little brother, and reminding him that Tanner has already paid for his behavior (so no additional thumping) will take place as well.

John Boy

I am going to send him to his room, and tell him to get ready. When I go in there, I will lecture him and ask how he would feel if his brother broke something of his on purpose. He will then have to apologize to his brother when he gets home, then we shall see if I spank him.

David M. Katz

I am going to copy Kier.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

Stone Man

Putting Kier and JB together says it for me. Tanner does get a tanning.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm not sure that spanking Tanner is the best way of handling this. I'm more inclined to make him face Terry and let Terry decide the punishment (within reasonable boundaries). If Tanner does receive a spanking, this is a rare instance in which I would be willing to allow an older sibling to give it. I hope the trophy can be repaired; if so, Tanner will contribute to the cost of the repairs by donating his allowance for a couple of weeks. If Terry is the big brother I hope and believe him to do, Tanner will mean far more to him than a trophy, and forgiveness will come easily. I hope also that Terry will now be more considerate about spending some time with Tanner when he is home. Tanner will also have to accept that Terry is almost grown, which means dating is a natural part of his life now.



As so often Kat proposes the more moderate way of handling the situation. My first reaction was to ditto Kier as that would have been my natural response, but Kat's would provide a better way of healing a fractured relationship even if it can't fix a broken trophy.


Think Tanner is old enough at 9 not to do this sort of thing (and help with decorations come to that). This is the act of a toddler. I'm aso quite sure Terry didn't mean or intend to be be mean to to Tanner. He is also perfectly entitled to arrange a date with his girlfriend when he gets home. He is after all, a grown man. I am rather pleased he came to help with the decorations . Not all college students do. There will be been plenty of time over the festive period for the boys to do something together over the Christmas period as Terry suggested. whether he will want to now is another matter.

I need to explain to Tanner that as we get older other people come into our lives and priorities and obligations change. It is not that Terry is ignoring him or trying to be unkind. I am going to tan the little mans behind with my hand. and then stand by while he apologizes to his brother to ensure both a proper apology and that Terry doesn't break Tanners neck.


Terry's investment in that trophy is pride, the physical object is merely a reminder.  If it cannot be successfully repaired it is no doubt a standard off the shelf product that can be replaced and Tanner will bear the whole cost of doing so.

Tanner has thrown a tantrum culminating in vandalism.  That cannot go unpunished.  

I am going to confine Tanner to his room for the rest of the night to await Terrys return.

I will be waiting for Terry when he comes in and explain what has happened, making sure Terry is aware of the way of the way Tanner hero worships him and how much he was hurt by Terrys casual rejection.  I will also promise it will be replaced at Tanner's expense and that if an identical item is no longer available with the nearest equivalent.

I will also tell him that Tanner is far too old to be getting away with destructive tantrums;  that I was on the point of giving him a sound spanking (Terry knows from experience what that means) when I realised that he is now mature enough and responsible enough to be able to deal with Tanner himself and if he judges that includes spanking him that I trust him not to go ott.

I will tell him that Tanner is awaiting his return in his room and if he's asleep to wake him.

Fingers crossed


I can understand this one reasonably well as there were 10 years between me and my youngest sister and I kind of blew off the 'kiddies' too when I was a late teen.

I think (hope) Terry will be more upset that his rebuff caused his little brother to be that upset as to act out in this way. Tanner is going to have to apologize to his brother for destroying the trophy, and he can bear the cost of its replacement.

I don't think a spanking is going to accomplish too much here except to further the resentment Tanner's feeling. I'm thinking that in this case, having the two of them talk it out (and I'm not ruling out letting Terry thump him within limits!) will result in the best long term fix for this.

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