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BOTD 5/27/16 "Blast From The Past - 1976 - Leaving Home" A DMK Production

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David M. Katz


Marshall
A BLAST FROM THE PAST - 1976 - LEAVING HOME
A DMK Production


It is 1976 and Jeff is your eleven year old son. Jeff is out of school for summer vacation.

This morning Jeff was headed out to meet up with his friends when your spouse stopped him and asked him to take out the trash first, something that should take all of five minutes. eff got mouth and complained and refused to take out the trash saying he had promised to meet his friends. An argument ensued and Jeff ended up being sent to his room until he did as he was asked.  After about thirty minutes in his room, Jeff wised up, apologized to your spouse and took out the trash.  Jeff then went out to find his friends.

It is 1976 and so it is normal for Jeff to be out for hours without concern.  Later in the afternoon your spouse was putting some clean laundry in Jeff's room and that is when the note was discovered:

Dear Mom and Dad, I am tired of all of the rules and have decided to move out and leave home.  Bye.  Love, Jeff.

Your spouse becomes concerned and calls some of Jeff's friends' parents but no one has seen him.  You get a call at work and decide to leave the office to see if you can find your son.  As you are driving home you happen to see Jeff:

JEFF - 11
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You are glad you happened to encounter Jeff.  The road Jeff is on is far outside his boundaries.  You manage to load your son and his bike in your car and get home.

What happens to Jeff?


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AFinch


Sherrif
We talk. About mutual respect, and about the reason for rules. About how we have a contract--I provide his food, clothing, shelter, and toys and bike. In return, he helps out, a tiny bit, around the house when asked. From the scenario, it doesn't sound like he's being asked to do an unreasonable amount.

I don't think a spanking is going to improve this situation--it's going to make it worse. If it's a one off, things will probably be better tomorrow. If it's a chronic problem, it is time to seek professional help, and perhaps to look for a friend or relative with whom Jeff can spend some time, preferably one I know to be a lot stricter than I am. Jeff needs to discover that the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side of the fence.

MemoryMan


Sherrif
Its a storm in a teacup. Jeff would have come home before he became the subject of a police search. - Or would he??

Clearly something is broken; home is not Sweet Home; but why?  Is it our fault or his?  Or most likely a combination of both?

We are going to talk.  We will point out that the trigger incident occurred because HE mouthed off instead of protesting politely and his mother reacted accordingly.

Then we will give him freedom to air all his gripes (as long as he does it politely) and we are going to LISTEN to him.   We will go through the existing rule book and show we are listening by making some concessions along the line of his suggestions.  Where we make no changes we will ensure he understands the reasons.

Finally we'll ask him if he thinks he deserves to be punished for the trouble and anxiety he caused today; but however he responds we won't deliver, we'll just tell him that we are so glad to have him back.

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ivor


Marshall
Can't improve on MM's answer, although I suspect that being 1976 some fathers would have spanked him.......

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Jack


Admin
MemoryMan wrote:Clearly something is broken; home is not Sweet Home; but why?  Is it our fault or his?  Or most likely a combination of both?

I think I have to disagree with this. Most kid's do not cheerfully do chores. Neither do most adults. At best, for most adults they're things that need to get done, and we've learned it's easier to just do them and have them behind us. Kids usually haven't learned that. I don't think it's indicative of any real problems.

What I will say is that this is the reason I assign chores ahead of time, and I give a time for them to be done, with consequences when they aren't. One thing I remember from my childhood is that my mom always seemed to pick the most inopportune times to decide things needed to be done. I might bum around the house for two or three hours, and she wouldn't say a thing, but when I got ready to go, all the sudden things needed to be done. From Jeff's point of view, I can understand that being aggravating, and I can see him not understanding why it suddenly has to be done right this second, when he has (to him) something much more important to do.

I think the thing to do in this scenario is simply to point those things out to Jeff. All of us have things we like to do, and things we don't like to do, but have to be done anyway. The thing about kids is, adults have always done all the work, so it's hard for them to understand why adults suddenly want to start using them 'as slaves'. I'll just try to point out that we all need to do our share as part of the family.

I'm going to forgive him being out of bounds this time - he feels like he left home, so why should the home rules apply? I will try to get him a list of chores, and let him do them more on his own time, but let him know that, if he doesn't do them on his own, he'll be doing them on my time and with a sore bottom.


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squarecutter


Sherrif
Well I dont think a spanking will help. He got in a stew about chores and mouthed off at his Mother. Isuspect most kids think about running off at some point. At Jeffs age they normally come home tail between legs or get brought home after a local copper has put 2 and 2 together. The occasional tragedy when a kid doesn't make it home is the reason why running off is not to be encouraged.

I am going to talk to Jeff about why chores are assigned. We all have to make a contribution to keeping the home nice and as we get older it increases, I will remind Jeff how much his Mom does for him and 5 minutes doing the trash and some respect at his age really isn't a lot to ask. Moreover people who who want the freedom to leave home and enjoy a little independence also need to learn responsibility and domesticity as well or the world will crush them.

What we as parents can do in return is to ensure chores are not sprung as a surprise if this was the case and lay down times for them to be done that don't impinge on a young mans freedom unduly.

Emlyn Morgan


Trailboss
Ah, yes! 1976. I remember it well. Here in GB we had an exceptionally long hot summer. Hottest and driest since records began.

One local canal feeder reservoir went dry, uncovering the weighted down body of a murdered Birmingham gangster who'd disappeared years before.

I heard burning one night just starting in my front garden bushes and trees. Someone must have thrown an unextinguished cigarette end from the pavement outside. I was just in time with a bucket of water to save the whole leafy avenue. I remembered having been taught to lap water over the fire a little at a time. It worked.

After three months dear old Dennis Howell was appointed "Minister for Drought"; the thunderstorms started next day!

Anyway, I'm going to whack that boy.

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Most of the answers seem to me to arrive at the same conclusion, and each of them makes good points. Like Jack, I'm somewhat sympathetic. It is inconsiderate for someone to ask you on the way out to meet friends to do a chore. Adults often fail to apply the Golden Rule to kids. No spanking but we'll talk. I doubt that having a conversation with the spouse will accomplish anything, but I can probably tell Jeff that I get the same treatment and thus serve as a role model for sucking it up.

Kat

MemoryMan


Sherrif
Jack wrote:
MemoryMan wrote:Clearly something is broken; home is not Sweet Home; but why?  Is it our fault or his?  Or most likely a combination of both?

I think I have to disagree with this.  Most kid's do not cheerfully do chores.  Neither do most adults.  At best, for most adults they're things that need to get done, and we've learned it's easier to just do them and have them behind us.  Kids usually haven't learned that.  I don't think it's indicative of any real problems.

What I will say is that this is the reason I assign chores ahead of time, and I give a time for them to be done, with consequences when they aren't.  One thing I remember from my childhood is that my mom always seemed to pick the most inopportune times to decide things needed to be done.  I might bum around the house for two or three hours, and she wouldn't say a thing, but when I got ready to go, all the sudden things needed to be done.  From Jeff's point of view, I can understand that being aggravating, and I can see him not understanding why it suddenly has to be done right this second, when he has (to him) something much more important to do.

I think the thing to do in this scenario is simply to point those things out to Jeff.  All of us have things we like to do, and things we don't like to do, but have to be done anyway.  The thing about kids is, adults have always done all the work, so it's hard for them to understand why adults suddenly want to start using them 'as slaves'.  I'll just try to point out that we all need to do our share as part of the family.

I'm going to forgive him being out of bounds this time - he feels like he left home, so why should the home rules apply?  I will try to get him a list of chores, and let him do them more on his own time, but let him know that, if he doesn't do them on his own, he'll be doing them on my time and with a sore bottom.

I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

That Jeff has chosen to stage such an extreme dramatic and dangerous protest, eventual outcome unknown, smacks of desperation and is a clear indication that he is not happy at home.  My best guess at his state of mind is that he believes, rightly or wrongly, that I/we are too overbearing and prescriptive and allow little or no latitude.

Whilst retaining the final say my approach was an attempt to break down fences by recognizing that at eleven he is old enough to form rational opinions and for us to demonstrate a readiness to show tolerance, respect his (politely expressed) views, and to take them into consideration ahead of a final decision.

The trialogue I was chairing was as much for my spouse's benefit as Jeff's in the hope that she too took on board the "tolerance and respect" message thus triggering a sea change that would engender a happier atmosphere in the house and facilitate future cooperation.

I fear that the alternative of a lecture accompanied by an attitude of "These are the chores I've assigned; just knuckle down and get on with them in your own time and make sure they get finished ........... or else! is unlikely to make home a happier place and may even be counterproductive.

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

Pi Beta


Deputy
Why, when I picked him up, didn't I ask him where he wanted me to take him? I've boobed by taking the unilateral decision to take him straight home. Had I got an answer from him, I think it's 99% certain that after a moment or two, he'd have said "Home", having been out some time and probably started to wonder himself where he was going.

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