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BOTD 12/27/15 "Family Tradition" A DMK Production

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David M. Katz

A DMK Production

Jacob is your fourteen year old son.  Jacob rarely gives you any issues and is well behaved.  Jacob has not required any sort of punishment or spanking in almost three years.  In fact, the paddle is literally gathering dust on a shelf in the hall closet.

Your family lives out of state and, since Jacob was an infant, it has been tradition in your family that you and your spouse and Jacob travel to your parents' house and celebrate the holidays during the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Your father passed away last spring and your mother is in poor health and is dealing with Alzheimer's disease.  Your only sibling, your brother, Bobby, now lives in your parents' house and cares for your mother.  Bobby has never been married and has always been very hard to get along with.  To put it nicely, Bobby has a difficult personality. Bobby and Jacob have never bonded as nephew and uncle and simply do not get along well.  

Lately Jacob has been in a down mood and wasn't even his perky self for Christmas Day.  You have been asking Jacob what is wrong and if he needs to talk but he says "he's just thinking" and doesn't want to talk.

Today is the day after Christmas (Boxing Day for most of the world) and is the day before you all are scheduled to leave.  Jacob is in his room about to go to bed and Jacob has finally said he needs to talk.  You go in to see Jacob.

JACOB - 14
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Jacob is calm and polite but matter-of-fact.  He says, "I am not going on the trip.  I am sorry but I just will not be going.  There is nothing you can do to make me go.  Grandpa is gone and Granny doesn't even know who I am any more and I can't stand seeing her so sick. Also, the idea of having to be around Uncle Bobby for more than five minutes makes me ill. I get it that this is important to you so you guys go on without me.  I wish you would let me stay home alone but I doubt you will do that so I talked to Tommy's (his best friend) parents and they said if it was OK with you that I could hang there while you guys were gone. If you need to punish me then that is fine but I am not going."

Jacob looks at you for a response.

And you . . . ?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

Y Lee Coyote

Jacob has obviously been pondering this issue for a while. He quite right with his analysis of the situation. This not a kiddy tantrum but a well thought out adult position.

If he goes there are sure to be conflicts both there and delayed after the return which will not bode well for the future. There is nothing there for him as there is for me and my spouse. If we force him to go, he is likely to runaway which is certainly a terrible option.

Tommy has guest. I have talk with Tommy's parents and contribute for anything they do.

Nothing to punish.



Nothing to add to YLC's well thought response.

I just wish my son had been comfortable enough to come to me sooner.

Y Lee Coyote

Padraig wrote:I just wish my son had been comfortable enough to come to me sooner.

I think he was searching for a way out because he did not like this option and knew I would not be happy about it.

He is growing up. Smile



I thoroughly disagree...

The kid is a selfish little brat if he can't bring himself to spend a little time with his grandmother and all...

I can just see him sticking me into a crappy, run down nursing home and leaving me there to rot...

He has a choice - come with me and get Christmas presents, or go to his friend's house and I take his Christmas presents back to the store...

I'll stop spending money on him and put more into my RRSP account so I don't have to rely on his tender mercies when I am old and helpless...

It looks like I've raised a heartless little monster  and all...



I'm in agreement with Y and I will talk with him explain things about why grandma is that way and let him read up and if he feels so strongly I think I will let him stay.

Sad  this one is kinda hard for one hand I feel I should make him because its his gram I was made to see my sister before she died with cancer (I was 15) some ways I wish I was never made too.....

but then I remember my favorite uncle being in the hospital before he passed two years before and I wasn't allowed to go because I took it really this day I still resent that.

hugs kal

hugs kal

Last edited by kalico on Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:03 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Phone dropped part of post...GRRR)


You know, I suppose I'm going to be excoriated and abused for this, but I was held to a higher standard of behaviour than kids nowadays seem to be expected to display...

Remember well that I was VERY rarely spanked as a child, and most of my punishments would have seemed extremely tame to most of the people that frequent this site...

I would never have dared to display this type of behaviour to my father and all... even though I would never have been physically punished for it... just the level of disappointment that I know my father would have felt would have been enough to prevent me from being this selfish...

And this boy is being extremely selfish... it is possible that his grandmother would not know he was there - but it's also quite possible that she would...

His uncle may also be hard to get along with - but it's also possible that the boy is just displaying homophobia... I know one nephew in particular that has decided he doesn't like 'faggots' and all...

I do know that my own father would never have forgotten this action of mine - given time, he would have forgiven - but he'd never have forgotten.... and, in my view, rightly so...



If grandmother didn't have advanced Alzheimer's, per the scenario, I'd agree with Stevie. As it is, I think it's better for Jacob to remember her grandmother as she was, than as she currently is.

This is by no means an excoriation of Stevie's views--but I'm going to agree completely with Y Lee given the circumstances.


At some point later in life Jacob may regret his decision. But I think he will do better to remember his Gram as she was rather than as she is now, because frankly she isn't the same person who he has grown up knowing. She is very unlikely to even know who he is and given the presence of an uncle with whom he has no connection, it seems to make good sense for him to stay behind.


I might agree with Stevie, except for the fact that the scenario specifically says Bobby has a difficult personality, not just that the two of them don't get along.

I don't agree with Y Lee though, either.

I am going to send Jacob to his room, then take a deep breath and do something to relax. When I'm as calm as I can be in a reasonable amount of time, I'm going to go to him and remind him that he's 14 years old, that I'm responsible for him, and that means I have to make decisions. If something's going on, he needs to come and talk to me, but he doesn't get to dictate how things in our home are going to be. At best, this is our home, but I'm still the top authority.

I will start by saying that I called Tommy's parents, and I have agreed that he can stay there, while we're gone.

What really bothers me is that there are correct ways to do things and incorrect ways to do them, and he handled this about the worst way he possibly could have.

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


I didn't find the right words tonight so here is a second attempt.

Seeing for the first time a person you knew well but now is suffering from dementia in mid grade can be very disturbing, even for adults. But I don't think that's the case here. Since he visited his grand parents regularly he is probably very aware of ther problems and her current state. He will probably have recognized the early stages and if grandma is now in GDS stage six she would be in already by grandpa's funeral that Jacob most likely had attended. Therefor he knows exactly what he's talking about her not recognizing him (or you, as a matter of fact). To me there is nothing ungrateful or unloving in the attempt to avoid dealing with a person who used to love you but now is a complete stranger (sometimes even hostile), especially for a kid.  

Caring for people with dementia in mid oder late stage is very demanding and it often changes the carer too. They often become irritable and restless. And if you didn't go along well before it most likely won't change for the better. So leaving Jacob at home would probable be a favour to his uncle too.

Having said that, I would be very unhappy about the way he handled it, especially at such a short notice. If he had come earlier, we could have talked it out and made the appropriate arrangements.

On the other hand, I probably should have thought about the situation that myself.


p.s. Stevie, no one will abuse or excoriate you (I didn't even know that word) for stating your opinion, even if one disagrees.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm in agreement with YLC. Padraig's second response sums matters up nicely.


Pi Beta

In all probability, I am not eager top be going but feel I must out of my filial duty and to give my brother at least a little respite for being my mother's sole carer. That being said, Jacob should have discussed this with me several days earlier so that I could have done some readjustments to the programme.

It might have been possible for me to arrange for my brother to have the time off caring and to go away himself for three or four days respite while I took care of my mother. In that case, Jacob could (and would!) have come with us but in the knowledge that he would need to see my brother only for so long as the handover took at the start and end of our stay. Jacob would have seen then how his gran's illness had deteriorated and, who knows, she might have known him at least subconcoiusly, and he could have, perhaps, said his goodbyes to her.

As it is, it's far too late to make such an arrangement so, reluctantly, I'm going to acceed to his plan but make him very aware that I'm decidedly unhappy with how he's handled this, thou in my heart of hearts knowing that he'd probably been struggling with massive internal conflicts of loyalty.

In no way, however, is this a punishment issue.

Emlyn Morgan

Fortunately, as yet, I have no experience of someone who does not know who I am any longer. Most of my parental generation have gone now, but alert 'til the end. My one surviving uncle still reads classical Greek at ninety-nine years.

But what can you do?


No punishment but I am nixing Jacobs plan. This is family and as difficult as Bobby is he is the care giver for Grandma and deserves not to be even more isolated than before. We can may be shorten the stay if there is little to say but sorry Jacob if this feels more like a duty but your coming

Y Lee Coyote

Several people have expressed unhappiness with Jacob's last minute announcement.  Also, there have been several comments about making the trip more meaningful.  For the most part these have all been good thoughts although not necessary totally consistent.

I think it only fair to point out that these adult responses are late in the game.  They all should have been discussed more than a week before as they require advanced planning.  Also Jacob -- a young man -- should have been told about them as they significantly alter the trip conditions.

In this thread, it would have required to have changed the given date or to have been in the defined scenario which would not have worked very well.


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