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BOTD 10-12-2016 A Lesson Well Learned - A Jack Production

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Skater


Bransom Postmaster
A LESSON WELL LEARNED
A Jack Production

This is your son, 14-year old Mike.
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Yesterday, Mike received - not the whupping of his life, but a contender for worst of the year, at least.  He'd gone out to hang with some of his friends.  A couple of hours later, you were called by a security guard.  He'd caught a group of boys trespassing in an old, vacant building.  They weren't harming anything, but the building has been empty a while, and so they keep everyone away.  It's posted 'no trespassing.'

Mike explains to you that it was no big deal.  They were just playing Walking Dead.  He admits that they saw the no trespassing signs, but they weren't hurting anything.  You keep trying to explain the situation to him, but he comes back to they were just playing.  You finally point out that he doesn't get to set the law, it's not their property to decide about, and he's getting his butt busted.  

Mike seemed very upset with you, and he didn't take the whupping well.  He didn't come down for dinner and went to bed early.



This morning, Mike seems to be back to normal.  He assures you that he understands that laws are their for a reason, and he reminds you of what you've said before - that their are consequences to bad behavior.  For adults, those can be losing your job or dealing with the police.  For boys, it's a sore butt.

You go to work, dropping Mike at school on the way.


When you get home, there's a police cruiser in your driveway.  You rush in, worrying about Mike.  He's in the living room with the police, who assure you that he's in no trouble.  They confirm your identity, however, and then hand you a ticket.

"Possession of marijuana is a crime in this state, sir," you're informed.  "Mike says he came home early and caught you trying to hide this.  He notified us of it.  Possession of under two ounces can carry a fine of up to two thousand dollars and 180 days in jail.  For a first offender, it's usually limited to a drug education class, community service, and court costs."

After explaining how to find out your court date, the police leave.

"You're right, Dad.  It's always best to obey the law, no matter how stupid it is."

How do you respond?


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StevieWeeks


Trailboss
When he is the legal age to be kicked out of the house... that's where he's going and all...

Until then, he gets the bare minimum of support... food, a bed, and cheap clothing.

I'm not paying for any extras... electronics, school trips. etc...

He's not my son anymore as far as I'm concerned...

Stevie...

AFinch


Sherrif
It's not clear to me whether my own son has reported me for actual marijuana possession (indefensible) or whether I've been set up and he's filing a false report (which is how I read this, since he didn't come home early and find me hiding anything), which is totally beyond the pale.

Right now, I'm not going to do anything other than send Mike to his room once the police have left--because if I act right now, I'm likely to commit child abuse, and because words once spoken can't ever be taken back.

If I'm reading this correctly, once I've calmed down, Mike and I will talk. We will talk about how filing false reports is illegal, about how expensive defending all this is going to be, and about how, in this country at least, you're innocent until accused, and guilty forever after, even if you are acquitted, vindicated, and the accusations are proven to be a lie. We will talk about how the money that would have gone for his recreation and possibly college will instead now go to a blood sucking lawyer who MIGHT be able to save my job and reputation. We will talk about how very disappointed in him I am. Mike has had his last whupping--laying a hand on the little b*****d will likely result in my arrest for "child abuse", no matter how appropriate and non-abusive that would be. I'm not ready to write off my own son--yet--but Mike is going to be on long term seclusion--he's only 14, and I'm legally responsible for him until he's 18. Unless I see some strong evidence of contrition, it's going to be a miserable 4 years for both of us.

David M. Katz


Marshall
I want to ask Stevie if he has room in his oubliette for Mike but I won't.  I have already overreacted once with Mike and this is not something I want to do again.

I would not listen to reason from Mike and desired to operate in only black and white.  I do think the whipping was overkill.  Should he have been punished?  Probably, but only after a discussion where Mike's point of view was considered.

Now here we are where Mike wants to get even or prove a point.  Mike has not thought through what his calling the police will entail.

This is now a cluster **** and Mike and I need to work through it.

I should not have had the pot.  Mike should not have trespassed.  I definitely should have done a better job of making sure my minor son did not see the pot.  What if he took it and smoked it?

I am going to start by apologizing to Mike for my overreaction.  Mike and I will then discuss the ramifications for our family due to his involving the police. (Ramifications I should have already considered.)

I am going to get myself a good attorney and show up in court and hope for the best.  

I also am thinking our family (at least Mike and I) needs to seek family counseling.

ON EDIT AFTER READING KIER'S ANSWER (we were answering at the same time.): I did not read this as a set up but it is a feasible take on the scenario.  I still stick to the idea that the pot is mine but if he did set me up then we have a completely different set of problems that I am unable to wrap my brain around right now but Stevie's oubliette looks more attractive to me if Mike did set me up.

For those who don't know, this is Stevie's oubliette:
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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm a little confused as well, but I'm not reading this as Mike setting me up. I'd think he caught me attempting to hide the pot on a different day. If this is this case, he's caught me fair and square in hypocrisy. That doesn't mean, however, his own behavior is right. It was vindictive and motivated not out of concern but malice. Mike and I need to have a long talk. I want to know why he was so upset by my punishment that he did this. If we are to come to terms with this incident, both of us will have to set aside our hurt. Mike will have the chance to express his, but he's also going to hear how hurt I am. Part of our conversation will include me admitting my own wrongdoing but pointing out the difference between what the two of us did:

1) I did not report him to the police but acted on a security guard reporting him to me.

2) His well-being and conduct are my responsibility, while as an adult, I'm responsible for my own well-being and conduct.

3) Possession and use of marijuana is legal in some states and most people regard it as a harmless vice. To the extent one can consider it a crime, it's a victimless crime. Mike, on the other hand, violated someone else's property.

Kat

AFinch


Sherrif
Kat wrote:I'm a little confused as well, but I'm not reading this as Mike setting me up. I'd think he caught me attempting to hide the pot on a different day. If this is this case, he's caught me fair and square in hypocrisy. That doesn't mean, however, his own behavior is right. It was vindictive and motivated not out of concern but malice. Mike and I need to have a long talk. I want to know why he was so upset by my punishment that he did this. If we are to come to terms with this incident, both of us will have to set aside our hurt. Mike will have the chance to express his, but he's also going to hear how hurt I am. Part of our conversation will include me admitting my own wrongdoing but pointing out the difference between what the two of us did:

1) I did not report him to the police but acted on a security guard reporting him to me.

2) His well-being and conduct are my responsibility, while as an adult, I'm responsible for my own well-being and conduct.

3) Possession and use of marijuana is legal in some states and most people regard it as a harmless vice. To the extent one can consider it a crime, it's a victimless crime. Mike, on the other hand, violated someone else's property.

Kat

"Mike says he came home early and caught you trying to hide this. He notified us of it." I read that as a set-up. Otherwise, I think he'd have reported it as something chronic, "child endangerment" or whatever catch phrase kids learn in school today. Either way, you're right--it was done out of malice and vengeance, not concern, and I'm not really sure HOW we're going to get through it.

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I guess Jack will give some clarification in the fullness of time, but if Mike set me up, I can't see myself standing there and offering no objection to the police. I'm going on record: if this was a set up, I wouldn't take the rap. Mike had better be prepared to perjure himself.

Kat

Kai


Deputy
AFinch wrote:
"Mike says he came home early and caught you trying to hide this.  He notified us of it."  I read that as a set-up.
Mee too. Looks like Stevie's oubliette is getting a bit crowded lately. But comfort is not my main concern right now ...

ivor


Marshall
It's a bit had to understand how Mike's story is going to stand up.

He says he came home and caught you trying to hide the marijuana, but you have only just arrived home to find him and the police there. So are you supposed to have gone out after he caught you and just returned? I'm sue you should be able to make good argument just on that point and be able to provide a time line of your actions that would disprove it.

Of course that then opens up a bigger can of worms as to whether the stash is yours or whether Mike has placed it there.

All in all a great big mess caused by you over reacting to what was a fairly harmless piece of trespassing.

Happy Families!!

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Jack


Admin
His seeing you hide the stash had happened in the past. This is definitely yours with your fingerprints on the bag, but not his.


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Kai


Deputy
Jack wrote:His seeing you hide the stash had happened in the past.  This is definitely yours with your fingerprints on the bag, but not his.
So now I am in real deep sh*t. Both with the law and my son. Great news that is.

Pi Beta


Deputy
He may have been desperately concerned about my illegal use of drugs and the possible damage to my health for a long time but not known how to deal with this. My punishment of him and the talks we had about illegal activity may have been the catalyst for him to try to help save me from myself.

While his solution may be excessive, can I, should I really complain about him being so zealous? No, but it is obviously highly embarrassing. There is also no possible way that I can retain his respect other than by pleading guilty since I am! No point in hiring an expensive lawyer.

(In UK would probably have resulted in Police Caution and not a couirt appearance)

StevieWeeks


Trailboss
Pi Beta wrote:No point in hiring an expensive lawyer.

Um... depending upon what state you're in, there IS a point in hiring an expensive lawyer and all...

I believe that some states have legalised the use of marijuana but that by no means all have (I stand to be corrected on this, I suppose), and even if there has been some sort of federal mandate it's not certain that all the states would obey the ruling... for years several states enforced the sodomy laws even thought they had been declared unconstitutional...

You could be in big trouble... you could have trouble getting any sort of employment... your credit rating could be shot... you could even lose your right to vote...

This is using a sledgehammer to crack walnuts... and your boy has thrown you to the wolves... if you can't beat this thing, and you live in a state like Alabama, he may well find out what it's like to be homeless...

So there is some point in being furious with your son Benedict...

Stevie..

On edit:

Of course, in Canada, all he'd have had to do is report you for thrashing him, and you'd also be in trouble... using corporal punishment on a fourteen year old is considered assault and all..



Last edited by StevieWeeks on Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:31 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : extra thought...)

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Pi Beta wrote:He may have been desperately concerned about my illegal use of drugs and the possible damage to my health for a long time but not known how to deal with this. My punishment of him and the talks we had about illegal activity may have been the catalyst for him to try to help save me from myself.

As much as I'd prefer to believe Mike's motivation was concern, this statement from the scenario doesn't sound that way:

"You're right, Dad.  It's always best to obey the law, no matter how stupid it is."

Note that Mike talks about obeying the law and implies that marijuana possession, like trespassing, is a stupid law. If he had actual concern, I think he would have confronted me, much as I used to confront my parents all the time about smoking cigarettes.

My use of an illegal substance was a poor behavior model, and I need to take responsibility for that. Nevertheless, for Mike to equate his involving the police to my punishment of him is false equivalence.

Kat

Jack


Admin
Kat wrote:My use of an illegal substance was a poor behavior model, and I need to take responsibility for that. Nevertheless, for Mike to equate his involving the police to my punishment of him is false equivalence.

I have to disagree with you here, Kat - at least according to the scenario. If you read back over it, you'll see where 'you' (the dad in the scenario) tells the kid that 'adults get fired or have to deal with the police, while boys get a sore butt.' That is fairly close to something that I actually say about consequences.


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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Jack wrote:
Kat wrote:My use of an illegal substance was a poor behavior model, and I need to take responsibility for that. Nevertheless, for Mike to equate his involving the police to my punishment of him is false equivalence.

I have to disagree with you here, Kat - at least according to the scenario. If you read back over it, you'll see where 'you' (the dad in the scenario) tells the kid that 'adults get fired or have to deal with the police, while boys get a sore butt.'  That is fairly close to something that I actually say about consequences.  

The false equivalence lies in the motivations for our actions, Jack. I didn't punish Mike out of vindictiveness. This was nothing more than a petty act of revenge. I don't imagine his new-found moral outrage has led to an outbreak of snitching on his friends.

I also think there is a difference between the respective acts of lawbreaking. Though his was minor, it still involved the violation of someone else's property. The possession of a small amount of pot was on my private property. It harmed no one.

Kat

Y Lee Coyote


Cowboy
We are often warned about being careful what we wish for we may get it.  In this case it was wishing my son to do as I tell/teach him with the same values.

Stepping back, in the scenario he feels -- very strongly -- that I was excessive and unreasonable.  Sure it could have been a cop that caught him rather than a security guard (who very well may be a deputy) but in either case he was shown 'mercy' and let off with a warning rather than being charged.   (The owner probably does not want the expense of prosecuting unless there real damage as that might actually be counter productive.)

I, on the other hand, was a mean hard-nosed tyrant who resorted to extreme physical violence when my position was not full accepted.  That might have balanced out with time had I not been a hypocrite.  Not only was I in possession of a banned substance it was even known to a minor in my care.

My lecture convinced my son that there was only one thing a good citizen should, nay, must do -- report it.

One thing that fourteen-year-olds are well known for is NOT anticipating consequences of their acts.  Maybe if we were in a three-generation household, he would have told Gramps expecting he would bust my ass but that was not an available option.  Neither is pleading a straight out not guilty as that again is sending a wrong message.

I'm stuck with the charge and hopefully just get away with a fine and a class.

One bright spot is that Mike is most likely to stay away from drugs.

Y.

http://www.asstr.org/~YLeeCoyote/

Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
Y Lee Coyote wrote:I, on the other hand, was a mean hard-nosed tyrant who resorted to extreme physical violence when my position was not full accepted.  That might have balanced out with time had I not been a hypocrite.  Not only was I in possession of a banned substance it was even known to a minor in my care.

My lecture convinced my son that there was only one thing a good citizen should, nay, must do -- report it.

Well, that's *one* way to read the scenario. Razz

Kat

ivor


Marshall
I do rather share YLC's position on this occasion as stated in the last sentence of my original response.

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Kai


Deputy
I like this one a lot because it opens up a can of worms for discussion. Thanks Jack!

Y Lee Coyote


Cowboy
Kat wrote:Well, that's *one* way to read the scenario. Razz

True.

But there is a whole range of possibilities from revenge to zero tolerance (which he very likely has been subjected to in school).

He was taught that kids are dealt with by parents and teachers while adults by the police.  That the latter have long term consequences any the former generally short term is a distinction that he does not understand yet.

Y

http://www.asstr.org/~YLeeCoyote/

squarecutter


Sherrif
Assuming I am bang to rights I think I will start by saying ok son you made your pointand then launch into
Kats first two points and that while I appear to be beyond help I want to save him from whatshappene to me. I hope he'll even consider us even after this.He can consider wheter my arraignment in court, fine, criminal record, possible loss of job worse than his spanking Exclamation

Adric


Kid
I read Danny's The Fletchers 3 - A Father Son Crisis first and then looked up this BOTD, but now I've read both and here's what I say:

As for my weed, I made a mistake.  I knew when I got it that it was risky to have it, but I accepted the risk. I feel very sad that Mike chose to turn me in, but I think he misjudged the seriousness of the situation.  I have way too much of myself invested in Mike to let this incident damage our relationship.  I will have to talk with Mike until we can reach a mutual understanding.  We'll work it out somehow.

I wish Mike had just told me that he had discovered my weed, and that I couldn't expect him to take me seriously while I'm breaking the law myself.  I would have gotten rid of it.  In the future I need to remember that "do as I say, not as I do" doesn't ever work.



Last edited by Adric on Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:42 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Rethinking my original response)

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Jack


Admin
When I wrote this, it was with the idea that Mike knew for a while that you smoke dope. He just never thought it was a big deal. It wasn't until you went ballistic and really hurt him for something else that was no big deal that he got upset about it. To him, you set the standards, he just held you to them. The fact that the penalties or even the situations are unequal doesn't matter, because you are the one who chose them.

At least that's how my thinking was going when I wrote this.


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David M. Katz


Marshall
Jack wrote: To him, you set the standards, he just held you to them.  

A great and concise analysis!


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