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BOTD 01-08-2017 Going Off Road - A DMK Production

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Skater

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Bransom Postmaster
GOING OFF ROAD
A DMK Production

You have two adopted sons:  Nathaniel is sixteen and Lynn is fifteen.

NATHANIEL - 16
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LYNN - 15
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A brief history lesson:

Nathaniel is biologically your spouse's great-nephew and was orphaned at age eleven and you subsequently, per terms of his mother's will, adopted him.  Nathaniel was accustomed to corporal punishment and so you continued to use it as needed.  Although you are certain the boy never sat comfortably for his entire thirteenth year, Nathaniel has not been spanked in almost two years. You have used restrictive punishments with him but even those are infrequent. He was last grounded this past May. (For skipping school.) Nathaniel turned sixteen this past August and got his driver's license.  He is currently looking to purchase a car of his own with some savings but, in the interim, has use of your spare car.

Lynn was a foster placement that you adopted.  Lynn entered the foster system after being removed from a physically abusive situation.  Due to his history you never spanked Lynn but never took the option off of the table.  You found out that time-outs and restrictions worked well with him.  Lynn is typically very well behaved and it has been almost a year and a half since he was last grounded. (For a curfew issue.)  Lynn will turn sixteen in March but does hold a learner's permit that he has had since his fifteenth birthday.  Lynn can drive well but simply needs practice before he takes his driving exam.

Nathaniel does have a part-time job and pays his share of the increased car insurance premiums and, since he has almost sole use of the spare car, he keeps gas in that car.  Lynn has a "job" as well as he is a regular sitter for a nine-year old boy from your church.

In your state, a person holding a learner's permit can only legally drive while accompanied by a licensed driver occupying the front passenger seat age eighteen or older.


_____________________________________________________________________

Today your area got a bit of a snowfall.  Early on the snowfall was a bit of a nuisance and the schools were closed.  Later in the day the snow tapered off and friction had helped much of the snow melt from the streets.  Nathaniel does not have a lot of experience driving in these conditions but, last year, while he held a permit, you took him out driving in snow and ice.  The streets do not appear to be too bad at this point and so you don't give much thought to Nathaniel saying he is going to drive down to a local market to get some bottled teas.  The market is close and the journey will not even involve driving on major roadways. Lynn decides to accompany his brother.  (It is perfectly legal for Nathaniel to have a passenger under eighteen in the car as long as that passenger is a sibling.)

About thirty minutes after the boys left you get a call from a very nervous Nathaniel.  Nathaniel explains that the car caught a slick spot and slid off of the road in to a ditch and he can't get it out.  It only takes you about three minutes to arrive on scene to rescue the boys and the car.

It is then that the boys explain the whole story.  Nathaniel had decided to let Lynn drive home since "he needed snow practice and it was close to home."  Lynn eagerly took the opportunity.  It was Lynn who was driving when the car slid off of the road.

The car is not damaged but is in a predicament. However, you are able to manage to drive the car out of the ditch.  You tell Nathaniel to drive that car home.  You put Lynn in the van with you and the two of you drive home as well.

Lynn says to you on the short journey home, "I guess we're in trouble, huh?"

You answer, "Let's figure that out when we get home."

You are all now home and able to sort out the issue. You are fully aware that the boys could have easily lied to you and said Nathaniel had been the one driving.

What is the answer to Lynn's question?  If the boys are in trouble, what is the punishment?


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David M. Katz

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Marshall
Clarification: there was no police involvement.


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StevieWeeks

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Trailboss
Both of them get a good bare bottom spanking and all... they're such cuties one can't let an opportunity like this go to waste...

Stevie...

db105

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Trailboss
Since I have never spanked Lynn and haven't spanked Nathaniel in 2 years, I would probably discuss the safety issues with them and give them a non-corporal punishment.

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18Smacked

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Cowboy
I felt that this issue demanded that one use what a dad knew, based upon his time spent raising these kids what would make an impression upon them- whatever that was.

As I saw it, I was not upset so much about breaking the law, per se, but more about them "using Dad's car for a use without his explicit knowledge," I think that this is what would upset me the most on a personal level. However, they must know the legal issues involved, too, and the thin ice on which they were sitting.

Nonetheless, I will keep this in perspective, and I do not think it is exactly a huge issue, either. I simply want to ensure that the boys understand the potential consequences of what they did. If that is accomplished, by any means- then that will suffice.



Last edited by 18Smacked on Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I think a major lecture is all that's necessary. The boys have to understand that if the police had been involved or if an insurance claim had proved necessary, they'd have been in deep shit.

Kat

AFinch

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Sherrif
I agree with Kat. They know what they did. They could have lied about it and didn't. I can't see where "punishment" as opposed to discussion will have any positive effect on this matter.

ivor

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Marshall
I'm joining the K Club - again Smile

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Jack

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Admin
Where I see the real problem is that both of them knew the restrictions, then chose to ignore them.

In my household, this would probably be an issue for a couple of swats.

Since this household is a bit different, I think I would sit down with both boys, discuss what they did wrong, and make sure they understand the possible consequences. I would then ask them what they think the consequences should be. Considering that they were honest and open with me about what happened, I would probably at least half the consequences they suggest.


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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
Their honesty and openness will save them from any formal punishment, though not from a long discussion about what each did "wrong" and what might have been the consequence of such an action.

Adric

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Cowboy
I'm joining the K Club on this one.  Important to let them know how badly this could have turned out - with police involvement and/or insurance claim.

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squarecutter

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Sherrif
I go with the comcensus. I think Nathaniel is the one needing the longer tlk on the assumption that in law despite his qualification he isnt old enought to supervise a learner and that it was exceedingly foolhardy to do so when his experience of tricky conditions was rudimentary at best. It was a bad idea. Lesson learned I hope

David M. Katz

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Marshall
Yes, this happened Friday afternoon.  My concern with any sort of driving related incident is that the city police and the county deputies here are very open about "targeting teen drivers."  I shared about this when I shared about Nathaniel getting ticketed for trespassing at the salt barn.  I think it is wrong but the officials say they are keeping teens safe.  I think it is a way to fill the municipal coffers but, surprisingly, most parents support the "safe teen driver" initiative.  It is nothing short of improper profiling but I digress.  It would only have been a matter of a few more minutes before a deputy would have happened by and one thing neither boy will do is lie to the police.  So, yes, it would have been catastrophic for both boys as they learned from their "research."  Lynn would have been fined and he would have had to wait an additional six months for his license. Nathaniel would have been fined and his license would have been suspended for six months.  The fines would not have been small change either.  Both kids would have been out about $350 each and after costs of the mandatory court appearance were added in then each kid would have ended up about $500 lighter. (I don't even think Lynn has that kind of cash.)

I corresponded with 18Smacked about this situation a bit and he felt that the responses here would be rather harsh as did I.  I did think I went overboard considering the outright honesty displayed by both boys but, frankly, I was really wanting to make a point especially considering the serious legal ramifications that could have transpired.

Here's how it went down:

The kicker for me was that this would have been a non-issue. I was ready to chalk it up to the "excrement occureth" department. I would have seriously never asked either boy any more about it. I assumed I had my answer: an inexperienced driver lost control on ice and ate the ditch. To my knowledge Lynn has never lied to me. Nathaniel has tried lying a couple of times but he is so horrible at it that the truth always comes out. The boys expected me to investigate further and I know they decided to come forth with the truth before I began my "inquisition." So the boys basically crapped their own nests.

I also think they had discussed what was probably going to happen to them because they were way too quick with a response to me.

I told the boys how much I appreciated the truth especially since I would have never known what actually happened otherwise. This was such a huge point to me that I really did not want to take a "no good deed goes unpunished" approach. However, this was also a serious issue that did need some sort of response.

I asked the boys what they thought should happen and this is when I knew they had coordinated a response. (I guess I have become predictable.) They looked at each other and began fumbling in pockets and with wallets. In a matter of seconds a set of keys, a driver's license and a learner's permit card were in my hand; surrendered without any prompt from me. I asked the boys, "How long?"

Nathaniel answered, "I guess that's up to you."

I know the boys really meant well and they were thinking of logical consequences BUT a loss of permit would have had little impact on Lynn. Nathaniel also has Mop and Jentzen who can drive him around if needed and so losing his driving privs was minor to him. I don't think they were trying to get off easy, they were just trying to think like they thought I would.

I explained the issue to them and also explained that it was a lighter consequence for Lynn than Nathaniel. I handed keys and cards back to them.

"Here's what's going to happen. You're both grounded for the rest of today and for the weekend." (Neither boy had to work or go to school and so this would mean a boring weekend.)

I then stuck the knife deeper, "Hand over your phones. You won't need them since you aren't going anywhere." I really thought they were both going to start crying but I got two phones in my hand. Yeah, they each still had a laptop and TV's, etc. but the loss of a phone is so tragic for a teen these days regardless of other toys he may have. "Thank you. You can have these back Monday morning before leaving for school."

I then told each boy that I needed a researched response to me before the weekend was over as to the legal consequences of their actions. I didn't care how I got it, I just wanted the seriousness of their actions as far as the law is concerned to be brought home. I got those Saturday morning. Nathaniel gave me a page and a half response that he typed out on his laptop and Lynn gave me a succinct verbal dissertation. I was satisfied.

Things went well on Saturday. There was no pouting and they were in good spirits but I could tell they were bored and missing their leashes phones.

I actually felt like I was being too harsh. I think the comments here show that and it was further confirmed by Lynn this morning.  He came to me, "May I use your phone or at least have mine for a few minutes?  I need to let Matt know I won't be at church."

"Why aren't you going to church?"

"'cause I'm grounded."  He was serious.

Ugh.  I quickly explained that being grounded would never keep them from school, work (including his sitting gig,) family events, or church.  I realized that Lynn had never been grounded for more than a day before and never on Sunday and so I think he really thought he was "in" regardless. I was already feeling I went overboard, especially considering the honesty from both boys.

"Go get your brother and you guys come see me." I gave them both their phones and rescinded the rest of the sentence.  I explained that I was too severe and I thanked them again for coming clean when they didn't have to do so.

We say here a lot that you can never unspank a kid and that is true.  However, even though you can unground a kid, you can't give him back the time he's already lost. I suppose no harm was done in having a boring Saturday but was it necessary?

It has proven to be a learning experience - for all of us. I have two incredibly well-behaved (even considering N's hard road to get there,) hard-working, smart, honest boys who happened to have a major brain fart. Did I respond appropriately?  I don't know.  Opinions?


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db105

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Trailboss
I think you responded well and would have even if you hadn't suspended the sentence. I think it was not excessive given the seriousness of the possible consequences and taking into account that they confessed.

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Jack

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Admin
Unlike the majority, I did think some kind of penalty was called for. I do agree with you that their turning over their license/permits wasn't much of a penalty. I can understand your reasons for not paddling Lynn, so that wouldn't work for you.

I do think that you were probably too harsh, but I don't think that's the same as actually being harsh, or that any harm was done. On the other hand, at the risk of channeling Icono, you need to make sure those boys learn the proper way to deal with police.


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