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26 April 2014: Saturday's Child Works Hard for a Living

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Jack


Admin
Your 13-year old son, Frankie, isn't quite a computer whiz, but he is very good at them, and loves learning and using new software.

Recently Frank had an idea for a business. He was going to scan old photographs for people, provide the photos on a flash drive, and also offer an option of cloud storage, or even creating a family web site for them. He'd talked to some of the neighbors, and several people were interested. He'd done some research, set a price list, and now all he needs it a halfway decent scanner, some software, and maybe some money to buy a web domain and set up a bank account for Paypal.

Knowing Frankie, you grab your wallet with both hands as soon as he starts talking. When he stops talking, you had tried to give him suggestions on how to earn the start up money he needed. He messes around and earns a little, but he's mostly complaining about how easy it would be to earn the money and pay you back.

You finally give in on the condition that, instead of paying you back, he create a family web site like he described to present to your wife for your birthday as 'from both of you', since he did the work and you paid for the product.

Frankie agrees, and you go and select the equipment he says he needs (you did some research yourself, and you do hold him back a bit, but also make sure he gets at least good enough).

That was a week ago. While he's done some of the scanning work for Mom's site, he's mostly been working on advertising and doing scanning and set up for the neighbors - getting partial payment up front, and finishing it quickly to get the rest.

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Now it's Saturday, and you remind him that the two of you are taking Mom out to dinner and a movie tonight, to celebrate her birthday, and you want to show you the site before you leave. You take off and handle your regular errands and chores. When you get back, you have about an hour before Mom is due home, and three hours before time to leave for the dinner reservations. You find Frankie in the park across the street, playing baseball with some friends.

When he sees you pull up, he suddenly looks at his watch, waves at his friends, and takes off.

"I hadn't realized how late it was, Dad. I'll get to work on it right now."

Will Frankie be hoping for really padded seats at dinner?


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John Boy


Sherrif
We shall see how good of a job he does but he might be toast before we leave for the restaurant. The website also better be nice and not a quick job to save his butt.

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Iconoclast


Trailboss
I consider it a matter of great good luck that Frankie is not glued to his computer ALL THE TIME!

So I will not say anything except "that's ok, finish it later!"

Iconoclast

AFinch


Sherrif
I don't see this as a situation where a spanking will make anything better.

I don't know anything about website design. Can a "really nice" site be designed in a few hours? or even a few days? Judging from ones I've seen online, I'm guessing not, especially by a 13 year old new to doing it.

I'm going to point out to Frankie that he made an agreement. It would be nice if he's started the website at all. In that case, I'm going to want to see what he's done. If it's acceptable, we can show it to mom later as the beginning of a work in progress.

If he's done nothing, I'm going to point out that he's in default of our agreement. I guess I've already paid for a year on his domain, but there's no reason I can't confiscate his scanner, etc until he lives up to his part of the bargain (with the threat to return them post-haste and deduct whatever is not returnable from his allowance if he doesn't get to work). That seems to be both a logical consequence to his actions and more likely to product the desired result than warming his bottom.

David M. Katz


Marshall
Kier's answer sounds appropriate and reasonable. DITTO.  Very Happy 


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Stone Man


Marshall
I too like what Kier has to say and think it a good approach.

 Twisted Evil I think I'll tell Frankie that HE can take his mother's birthday spanking if the site is not far enough along.

ivor


Marshall
Kier's solution sounds an appropriate consequence to me. I could of course add the threat of a spanking if the job for his Mom isn't completed in a reasonable period.......

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MemoryMan


Sherrif
Why wasn't I checking progress in the interim? Embarassed 

Perhaps we should spank each other Razz

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Jack


Admin
Memory Man probably has the most relevant response, but I think you were checking him and reminding him, according to the scenario - since you knew he was taking in other work. Maybe you wanted him to get some experience with others before he jumped into yours?

Kier, it really depends both on what you mean by 'good looking site' and by what you're expecting. What I'd really envisioned with this is a kind of family tree, and being able to select a link to open a photo album for each. Since that would require all the photos being scanned and tagged, I don't think Frankie would be able to handle it all in an hour or two, unless he actually had finished all the scanning and tagging already, in which case he could do at least some basic work to show his Mom her present.

Also, I seriously doubt you could return the merchandise - I know you can't return the software if it actually works, and it's been a week or so, with him using it every day, so I doubt you could return that either. Taking it from him is only valid if you're giving up on him doing the actual work for which you've already paid.

But is it a spanking offense?

In my view, I think it is. I don't see spanking as a punishment, but as a consequence. I think I would sit down with Frank, explain to him how he's not only let me (and his mom) down, but he's broken his contract with his financier, and I'd explain some of the consequences an adult would face in that situation (having the financed material repossessed and/or being sued), and then I'd ask what consequences a boy should face. While I'll consider grounding until the work he promised me is completely done, I get the feeling he's going to admit he deserves to be working on a sore butt.

Fortunately we're celebrating Mom's birthday tonight, which means it's probably still a day or two away, so he can work hard to finish it for her actual birthday.

Icono Do you really want to teach your child work ethics that are that horrible and that it's okay to break his word whenever he feels like it, or are you just deliberately contrarian no matter what?


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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm pretty much in agreement with Kier, though I see that confiscating the equipment won't be practical. I think perhaps it would have been better to let Frankie reimburse me for the equipment rather than asking him to pay me by creating a website. It's inevitable that he would prioritize other people's work over the family project, particularly when he's trying hard to establish himself with  paying customers. I'm going to help him develop a proper work ethic by sitting down with him to make a schedule, which must include time for his school studies, regular chores and recreation, as well as daily time for his business. One important lesson of business is not to promise more than you can deliver, so I'll help him figure out what he can realistically promise and how much lead time he needs for each project he accepts.

Kat

Jack


Admin
Kat wrote:It's inevitable that he would prioritize other people's work over the family project, particularly when he's trying hard to establish himself with  paying customers.

Interesting viewpoint. To me, I saw it more as him buying stuff at the store, instead of paying a credit card bill - he already had what he wanted from you, so know he was after people who will pay him, rather than the person who had already paid him. I suppose it's hard to say exactly why someone does something (and it's rare someone does something for just one reason).

What I should have done is told him to do ours first, both so that he could get some practice, and so he could have something to show other customers.


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squarecutter


Sherrif
I really wasnt sure but I think Kier has it. The lad Must learn to stick to an agreement or he will not be in business for long

1strappedboy


Sherrif
While I hate to be contrarian, I fronted him the $$ to make this little venture happen on the condition that he have something suitable for mom at the 'big event'. He has failed to do so and unless he is able to produce a little show for his mom to see at dinner, he's going to need additional padding on his chair as we eat!

He needs to honor his agreements and that starts at home.

kalico


Sherrif
Well said Dimitri....




Hugs kal

MemoryMan


Sherrif
I don't see any justification for punishment or even censure at all. ........... Frank is only 13 for goodness sake.

He has identified (himself) a business opportunity, done some market research (himself), bounced his idea off me and persuaded me to be his backer..

I have funded him to start his first enterprise and if from that point I have failed to become involved to support, encourage, advise and generally keep his feet on the ground then I have been most inadequate parent.

For any failings the buck stops with me.

http://www.malespank.net/listAuthor.php?author=MemoryMan

Jack


Admin
MM, I'd suggest you go back and re-read the scenario. The question about punishment came up because you paid Frankie in advance to have the web page done for his mom. You had originally wanted him to work and save the money for the equipment himself. He agreed, then as soon as he had what he wanted, broke his deal with you to take in cash jobs.

At best, I see that as breaking his word. At worst, it's theft by fraud.


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MemoryMan


Sherrif
Jack.  I have read the scenario several times and looked at the big picture rather than the minutiae.  What I see is a callow 13yo with an entrepreneurial spirit dipping his toe in the water for the very first time, a boy who with childish enthusiasm and lack of both business and organisational experience, is a prime candidate for getting out of his depth in pretty short order.

As it happened this particular failure was a sin of omission rather than commission.  A situation that would never have occurred had I been fulfilling my parental responsibilities of mentoring him, encouraging him and monitoring the progress of his venture. I have let him down.

His error was not disastrous and with advice it can be a valuable learning opportunity for him ........... so in this instance the buck still stops with me.

http://www.malespank.net/listAuthor.php?author=MemoryMan

Jack


Admin
I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, MM. I don't see how 'mentoring' a person will get him to keep his word, especially not when he chose to play baseball instead of working on what he owed you.

Maybe the parent in the scenario should have monitored things a bit more closely, but I don't see where I should have to be constantly monitoring and reminding a 13-year old to keep his word and do the work he's promised.


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