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BOTD 6/24/2014 "Cousin Consistency?" A DMK Production

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David M. Katz

A DMK Production

Bailey - 12
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Derek - 12

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Bailey is your twelve year old son and Derek is your twelve year old nephew.

Derek is your brother's son. Your brother is a single parent who recently fell on hard times and so he and Derek have been living with you for several months. There is plenty of room in the house and Bailey and his cousin get along very well. Both you and your brother believe in and use spanking with your sons and, although never exercised, you two do have mutual spanking permission.

Bailey and Derek go to the same school and are in several of the same classes. Both boys are good students and typically well behaved but, boys being boys, they do sometimes find themselves in trouble at school. You typically do not employ a double jeopardy rule with Bailey. You feel that in most cases the school's punishment has sufficiently addressed whatever issue Bailey may have gotten in to. Your brother does employ double jeopardy and will give Derek a spanking for any trouble at school.

Today Bailey and Derek were both very chattery in one of their classes and would not calm down despite repeated requests. They were sent to the office and both given two licks. The boys both elected to be paddled over serving a long detention.

You get home from work and you can hear Derek crying from the room that he and Bailey share. Bailey is sitting in the den looking very scared. Bailey sees you and hands you the CP notice from school and explains what happened. Bailey explains that Uncle John just gave Derek a "whipping" for it. Bailey is looking you with pleading eyes and is obviously concerned.

Your brother then shows up in the room and says he guesses that it is "this guy's turn" and gives Bailey's hair a tussle.

This is not an issue that you would typically employ double jeopardy over. You would consider it handled at school. But, does there need to be consistent treatment of cousins?

Is it Bailey's turn?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


No, I will not change my policy. But I will have a serious talk with my brother, a talk that is long overdue. After that it his job to explain to the boys why life is not always fair.

That might not be satisfactory for the boys, nor me, but that's another lesson in life.

John Boy

If I don't normally use double jeopardy I don't plan on doing it now, unless my son has some "fairness" wish.


This is a tough one for me because we do employ double jeopardy so I could answer from the perspective that if it were the non employing parent being the guest I might think it within rights to expect both boys to be treated alike.  

Since the scenario has the opposite dynamic going on, I can only tell my son that 'we don't do things that way'.  My guest brother will have to deal with whatever conversation gets generated from that point forward.  

Yes, this is an excellent platform to demonstrate the concept of 'life often isn't fair'.

Stone Man

I don't have a definite rule out of double jeopardy, and always ask my son if he feels the school punishment was adequate for his misbehaving at school (or a friends house). He's never truthfully stated that he thought he needed more from me, and I think he's has payed the piper all he needs to for this offense.

I will be talking to my brother, and if nothing else I think a sit-down with all of us is in order to explain why boy is punished at home as they are.


I'm in agreement with the group. I'm not going to change my policy to accommodate that of the brother who is now generously being allowed to share my home. The boys can learn that life isn't fair, and different parents have different parenting styles. The only way Bailey is getting spanked again is if he demands it out of fairness--and I honestly can't imagine that happening.


I'm not going to change my philosophy. It may make life difficult between the boys for a while, but Bailey will just have to build a bridge to his cousin.

I suspect from now on he'll also be doing his utmost to ensure Derek doesn't get in any further trouble at school.


I've always been my own man and nothing is about to change.

It's not a serious transgression and the school had dealt with it adequately.  Bailey will get my comment that he deserved what he got but that was enough for the offence.  I will point out to him that Uncle John has different ideas and that Derek would still have been whipped if we had lived in different houses and the only difference here is that he got to hear it happening.

I will suggest that if it upsets him that Derek got extra punishment at home and he didn't that he should try to be a good influence on Derek in future.

(Hmm! Has the incident upset him - or excited him?  I'll be aware of the possibility and keep a wary out)


I'll copy Ivor's answer and hope I don't get caught cheating Smile


I agree with the general consensus here. I hope the boys won't fall out over this. Just wondering what would have happene if I'd left the boys in my brothers care for more than a day. I think we Dads need a chat about what happens under my roof.  Maybe my brother will come to see that one whipping is enough for a boy to learn his lesson


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm in agreement with everyone else. Nothing could be more unfair than to change my rules without any warning. I want to be tactful, however, so that I don't appear to criticize my brother's discipline. I have good reasons for not employing 'double jeopardy' and I imagine he has good reasons for employing it. I certainly don't want to imply that a condition of living in my house is adopting my discipline methods any more than I intend to alter my own discipline methods to seem hospitable. I will suggest a chat with my brother so that we are more familiar with the nuances of one another's discipline; perhaps then we'll avoid any more awkward moments.



I gently, subtly but pointedly move my brother's hand away from Bailey's hair (which looks too short for a "tussle").

"Bailey's turn for what exactly, dear brother?" I ask, "It is a bit early for bath time." Of course I know what he means and I greatly resent his presumption. I decide to play naive to tease it out of him so that he has to spell it out explicitly.

Of course, he will say that is it Bailey's turn for a "whipping". I knew that, I know why, I know what for and, most importantly, I know that IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

"Oh dear, Bailey, what else have you been up to? Have you broken any windows? been extorting lunch money from younger children? Scrumping? Shoplifting? Smoking?..." You get the general idea. Bailey shakes his head, I don't pause long enough for him to answer, to all of these though with different degrees of vigour.

Eventually either Bailey or, more likely, brother John will point out the CP notice from school which Bailey showed me.

"Yes, I read that. Silly boy, Bailey, you must remember not to talk in class. Well, you've been suitably punished for it and I hope for your bottom's sake that you learn from it." then to my brother, "I don't see what this has to do with anything since the school has already dealt with it, and rather rather overdid a tad I think."

This will force my brother to say that Bailey needs to spanked here for it just he spanked Derek for it.

"Oh I see! I get it now." I say with a look of understanding crossing my face as if this is a revelation that has finally dawned on me. Then I ask Bailey to leave us, I suggest he goes to his room as I don't think this conversation should continue in front of him.

Bailey is still looking concerned as he leaves. Just as he reaches the door of the  study 'den' he asks, in a very worried voice if he has to take his trousers off.

"Yes," I answer, and see despair in his pleading eyes, "If you want to. If you think you would feel more comfortable like that." I say in a tone that which sounds as if I find his question very strange. "Perhaps you might like to find your cousin. Derek sounds very unhappy."

When Bailey leaves I close the door to the 'den' though I don't check for anyone listening outside. Then I turn to my brother. It is time to drop the act.

"Not going to happen." I tell him bluntly, "If you feel the need to employ that system for your son then that is your business, I am sure you must have your reasons, but you will not extend it my son." I hold back from finishing off with "Do you understand?" or even using exclamation marks.

I decide that the mutual spanking permissions does not cover anything that happens at school.

At some point John is going to claim that it is hardly fair for Derek to be spanked but not Bailey when they were both guilty of the same thing. There is an obvious response to that:

"It wasn't fair to spank Derek for something for which he had already be been punished in school either! If you hadn't done that in the first place we would be in this awkward situation!"

Yes, I did it. I am directly criticising my brother's way of discipline, and I used exclamation marks, but as far I as I am concerned he forced my hand by assuming he could include Bailey in it this time. Not only is it presumptuous I feel that I am being manipulated into doing things his way in my own house, where I am generously allowing him and Derek to stay, and I am NOT having it. It is just possible he didn't realise what he was being presumptuous or intentionally manipulative. Anyway, I remind my brother that he is a guest in my house and he is not to overstep the mark while he is dependent on my benevolence.  

I won't deny that it is unfair that Derek gets punished for something at school but Bailey doesn't but I am sure my brother John is quite fond of the phrase "life's not fair". It would be better for both cousins to be punished the some way for this sort of thing. But for that to happen one of us is going to have to make changes to our discipline regimes and it is not going to be me. I am not going to insist that John abandons universal double jeopardy but he is going to have live with being the focus of any resentment.

I banish dispatch  brother John to the kitchen to make tea, with instructions to do it properly not just bunging teabags in hot water and not to use the best crockery, so that I can be alone with my thoughts  in the 'den' study (and maybe a glass of something stronger than tea).

Suppose I had returned from slightly later. Would John have already given Bailey a "whipping" like Derek before I got back? I think that was what was going to happen and I'd've been presented was it as a fait accompli. Would that have set a precedent for double jeopardy for Bailey, at least when he got involved with anything with his cousin?"

What if the situation been the other way? Suppose I was the one staying at John's place, would I be compelled to introduce double jeopardy, or at least accept it when my brother employed it for both boys? I suspect, at the very least when John had said he guess that it was "this guy's turn" I would not have stopped him. However, suppose I was the one who applied the double jeopardy for any trouble at school. What would I expect my brother to do then if he was under my roof?

John returns with the tea. I take two mugs up to the boys; I do it myself as I think my brother's appearance would alarm Bailey at the moment.

While there is no way I am going to consider introducing a general 'trouble at school means trouble at home' regime for Bailey I will agree to discussing with my brother exactly what sort of thing I would regard as double jeopardy offences. If it is has never happened that I probably only a vague idea about what they might be, only that if something happened at school that required further sanction at home I am sure I would recognise it when I saw it. Perhaps we could agree on those though it might mean moving the bar for double jeopardy for Bailey to lower than I would like but I would try to keep higher than I expect him to reach.

David M. Katz


I for one really appreciate you giving new life to the older BOTDs. It is nice to see renewed discussion.

Zac wrote:
Suppose I had returned from slightly later. Would John have already given Bailey a "whipping" like Derek before I got back? I think that was what was going to happen and I'd've been presented was it as a fait accompli. Would that have set a precedent for double jeopardy for Bailey, at least when he got involved with anything with his cousin?"

I say we run with that.

What if you come in and Derek is in the den sniffling and recovering and you hear Bailey in the bedroom crying? Derek tells you that he got a whipping and why and then he says, "Dad's giving Bailey his whipping now."

Whatcha gonna do?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


Too late for a last minute reprieve. I'll have a word with my brother after, but the boys can't be unspanked, and stopping Bailey's in the middle will be counterproductive all the way around.


I didn't answer this when it was first posted, and it is a hard one for me. I do believe that there are times to reinforce lessons taught at school, but something like this isn't the time.

I see two things happening here. First, my brother is going to be instructed to explain to the boys why Derek's behavior was so horrible that he needed a second punishment at home. Second, I am revoking permission for my brother to punish Bailey.

I don't want to judge my brother on this. It's quite possible that Derek had some serious behavior issues at school, and the only way they stopped was with a 'double jeopardy' rule. It sounds like I would know if that was the fact, but maybe not. On the other hand, that's the only reason I can find a whipping for such minor behavior to be acceptable, and it certainly doesn't apply to Bailey.

Reading back over the scenario, I realize that part of my problem with this one is an alpha male thing: you do NOT come into my house, live on my generosity, then start setting rules for me and my son. I think that has me more ready to fight than the actual whupping, which probably means I need to calm down and talk it over with my brother before doing anything irrevocable.... but Bailey's still not getting spanked.

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

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