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BOTD 1/22/17 "Jonathan's 'Bad' Birthday" A Michael Junior Production

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
JONATHAN'S "BAD" BIRTHDAY
A Michael Junior Production

This is a real-life scenario.  "Jonathan" and his mother "Kristen" have been given fictional names. Everything else is factual.

Jonathan is a newly-minted 13-year-old, and the best friend of my youngest son, Daniel. He birthday was last Thursday (January 19). He's quite small for his age, and could pass for a 10 or 11-year-old. Jonathan lives with his mom, and I believe, two older sisters and one older brother. His home life is... not great, to be honest. But I'll dispense with details about that. Suffice it to say, Jonathan likes to spend as much time with my family as possible. I did share a bit of information about him in my introduction: http://bransomtx.forumotion.net/t8007-newbie-alert-michael-junior.

Jonathan stayed with us for most of his Christmas vacation, during which time, I gave him two spankings. They were the first spankings I'd ever given him (other than play swats). Because of his extended stay with us, and some fairly serious misbehavior, I asked his mom's permission to spank him. To my somewhat pleasant surprise, she readily agreed.

I'd originally planned to do my first Boy of the Day scenario based on the events that led to his first spanking, but a situation just arose yesterday about which I'd appreciate some feedback.


JONATHAN - 13
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The boy pictured here is not Jonathan, but his looks are similar.

The following is a transcript of the text exchange I had with his mother on Friday evening:

"Hi Kristen, I'm assuming that Jonathan is going to his dad's this weekend, but if for any reason I'm incorrect he is welcome here."

"Yeah he's going but thank you..."

"No problem. Hope he had a good birthday"

"Ehhh....for the most part, but he was bad..."

"Sorry to hear that. I know we don't live half a mile from each other anymore, but you can feel free to let me know if you want me to help in those situations in the future. Jonathan seems to respond well to me."

"Ok that's great, yeah his dad isn't much help either and it's tough on me."

"I understand. I'm happy to help. May I ask what he did yesterday that kind of ruined his birthday?"

"He was being ungrateful, and swearing at me. He's been refusing to go to school also."

"Wow. I'm really sorry to hear that. I'll have a talk with him about it"

"Thank you"

I will state that his school attendance has been an ongoing problem.
If Jonathan were sleeping over with us this weekend, he'd already be nursing a sore bottom. But I am unlikely to see him until this coming Friday (January 27).

Incidentally, I plan to have a little birthday party for him the next time he is here - he's become an honorary member of the family. I truly love the boy. As such, I want to help him him as much as I can - including providing him with some positive discipline that he lacks in both of his parents' homes. I will say that he accepted his first two spankings from me exceptionally well - without challenge or a bad attitude.

Given this information, I'd like to know how you might approach the situation from here.

If you have any questions about anything I may not have included, please ask. Thank you!
-Michael


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Adric

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Cowboy
I can see that what Jonathan did two days ago is a spankable offense, and if you could have acted at that time then a spanking would seem appropriate.  However, now you won't see him until the 27th.  That's eight days, and in the mind of a 13 year old that is like forever.  It seems to me that is just too long to wait for a spanking to have the right effect.

Another problem I see is that you weren't actually present when the bad behavior occurred and so you are acting on hearsay evidence. I'm sure there is no doubt that what the mother told you is accurate, but it is nevertheless something that you didn't actually witness.

At this point I would go ahead with your plan for the birthday party, but take him aside at some point and have a serious talk with him about what he is said to have done and how he needs to improve his behavior.

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

Jack

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Admin
I'll give you my two cents - in real life, these situations never end well.

Please note: I'm not saying you shouldn't discipline him for things that he does at your house that he knows are wrong or are violations of the rules. What I'm saying is that I have had situations like this, and you end up turning into an executioner for the mother, allowing her to be the good guy. That's especially true in situations like this, where it sounds like the rules are changing for him in mid-stream.

If you want a real suggestion on how to help the boy, then help the mom to figure out how to set realistic standards and enforce them consistently without having you do her dirty work.


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Michael Junior

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Kid
Adric wrote:Another problem I see is that you weren't actually present when the bad behavior occurred and so you are acting on hearsay evidence.  I'm sure there is no doubt that what the mother told you is accurate, but it is nevertheless something that you didn't actually witness.

I agree with you, Adric. There is no way I would punish him (or my own sons) without hearing them out first. I always try to err on the side of the boy in question if there is any uncertainty in my mind.

Thanks to both you and Jack. I'll definitely be thinking more about your advice. I look forward to additional feedback should any more be shared.

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
Michael Junior wrote: I look forward to additional feedback should any more be shared.

There will be more until around 10:00 (UTC-6 or USA CST) tomorrow.


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David M. Katz

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Marshall
Adric wrote:I can see that what Jonathan did two days ago is a spankable offense, and if you could have acted at that time then a spanking would seem appropriate.  However, now you won't see him until the 27th.  That's eight days, and in the mind of a 13 year old that is like forever.  It seems to me that is just too long to wait for a spanking to have the right effect.

I agree, Jonathan would see this as confusing.  He has probably forgotten all about his 'bad' behavior.

Adric wrote: Another problem I see is that you weren't actually present when the bad behavior occurred and so you are acting on hearsay evidence.  I'm sure there is no doubt that what the mother told you is accurate, but it is nevertheless something that you didn't actually witness.

A very important point.

Adric wrote: At this point I would go ahead with your plan for the birthday party, but take him aside at some point and have a serious talk with him about what he is said to have done and how he needs to improve his behavior.

I think the party will help in building a relationship with Jonathan.  The talk is needed but just a talk.

Jack wrote:
Please note: I'm not saying you shouldn't discipline him for things that he does at your house that he knows are wrong or are violations of the rules.

Yes.  Make sure he knows that there are rules and consequences for breaking them.

 
Jack wrote:What I'm saying is that I have had situations like this, and you end up turning into an executioner for the mother, allowing her to be the good guy.  That's especially true in situations like this, where it sounds like the rules are changing for him in mid-stream.

This may be the best piece of advice you get.  DO NOT let his mother make you executioner.  That will destroy the relationship and probably hurt the friendship he has with your son.

My son has a close friend who is like a brother to him and spends more time at my house than his.  This kid calls me "dad."  I do spank him although it has been almost two years. (Jentzen is 16 now.) Before I spanked him the first time he and I and his mother (she is a single parent with a deadbeat father who is not involved) had a talk.  Spankings were HIS idea because he didn't like being grounded (especially when Nathaniel was not - they often got in trouble together.)  Everyone was clear.  I had a relationship with the boy and he was willing to accept this as a role from me.  His mother never just sent him for a spanking - she always gave him a choice.

Jack wrote: If you want a real suggestion on how to help the boy, then help the mom to figure out how to set realistic standards and enforce them consistently without having you do her dirty work.

 Another good point.  J's mother was very involved in his discipline and had clear rules for her son.  She had no problem punishing him but she simply did not think she should use spanking with him (size and maturity issues.)  The spankings from me started as HIS idea and his mother always gives him a choice.

Also, if he gets in trouble here then I will always call his mother before I ever spank him.

Good luck, Michael.  Build a relationship first.


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John Boy

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Sherrif
I honestly think that if you sit down and talk with him about it, as well as the talk you had with his mom, and IF he accepts responsibility for it, then maybe a spanking this time would work, otherwise I think if you want to help and he accepts it, I'm going against the consensus and say spank him if you, he, and his mom all agree it is what is best.

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StevieWeeks

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Trailboss
Of course, the point is moot here because it is illegal to spank anyone's child but your own, and to spank a child over the age of twelve is also against the law...

However even given that those restrictions did not apply, there is no way that I would take the risk of spanking someone else's kid in any case...

Stevie.

Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I agree with Adric.

Kat

ivor

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Marshall
I'm also with Adric. Too long after the event even assuming the details have been correctly given you.

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Jack

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Admin
StevieWeeks wrote:Of course, the point is moot here because it is illegal to spank anyone's child but your own, and to spank a child over the age of twelve is also against the law...

However even given that those restrictions did not apply, there is no way that I would take the risk of spanking someone else's kid in any case...

Stevie.


To clarify Stevie's point, 'here' is Canada for him.

However, he does have another good point, which is that people can and do go to jail for spanking other people's kids.

Another point to consider is that you're stepping in and disciplining the boy without parental permission. In the case about which David Katz wrote, the father isn't involved. In Jonathon's case, the boy is at his father's this weekend. What's his dad going to think if he J casually mentions that you've spanked him?

Those are all general thoughts. In specific, I looked back at the mother's complaints and I find them... less than authoritative. "He wasn't grateful?" Seriously? He swore at her? How has she taught him to show gratitude? How exactly did he cuss 'at her'? Did he use a bad word in her presence or was he very direct? In the first place, has he been possessed by a demon or is he just acting in the way he's been taught to act? In the second place, those complaints are so vague that I doubt I'd do more than talk to the boy about how he should behave, even if I'd been there.

I think spanking is a wonderful tool in a lot of ways, but spanking is only the first part of discipline. If the child isn't trained in how to behave, then spanking isn't discipline - it's just hitting a kid because you're mad. Unfortunately, it sounds like Jonathon's mom is having regrets on how she's trained him to behave.

Another 'red flag' I see here is that she wasn't talking about how his birthday went. It sounds like she was mad about something and just listing grievances (how did 'refusing to go to school' effect his birthday celebration exactly?). And is he going to school? Is he not going, is he refusing to go, then going anyway, or is he just complaining about having to go, like probably all of us did at one point or another?

I have and do discipline other people's kids, but you have to be very clear about things before hand, else you're stepping into a mind field. When I do discipline someone else's kids, it's only for things about which they and I had a very clear understanding about expectations, or where the behavior happened when they were under my supervision. Even then, I usually have a very clear understanding with (and, often, written permission from) the parent.

Not saying don't spank the kid like you've done in the past, but I'd think long and hard before expanding it.


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db105

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Trailboss
There is kind of a bias in several members of the forum against mothers, based on unfortunate experiences they have had. In any case, you did mention that his home life is not completely happy, and since this seems to be a case of bad attitude it might be caused by problems at home. I have no idea if that's the case, sometimes there doesn't need to be a deep cause for kids to misbehave, but it's something to keep in mind. If it is the case, then punishment might not be the best course of action.

The long time since the bad behavior is also a problem when it comes to punishing him.

I would have his late birthday party, and I would also try to find a good moment to talk with him about what the swearing and refusing to go to school was about. Then I would decide what to do from there.



Last edited by db105 on Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:04 am; edited 1 time in total

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db105

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Trailboss
Jack wrote:
Another point to consider is that you're stepping in and disciplining the boy without parental permission.  

I understood he had parental permission. Or was that only for a specific incident?

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

Jack

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Admin
db105 wrote:
Jack wrote:
Another point to consider is that you're stepping in and disciplining the boy without parental permission.  

I understood he had parental permission. Or was that only for a specific incident?

My point was that the father is involved in the boy's life, but was not consulted about another man disciplining his son.


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db105

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Trailboss
Jack wrote:
My point was that the father is involved in the boy's life, but was not consulted about another man disciplining his son.  

I see. scratch The mother mentioned that his father did not help much. It's difficult to judge without knowing the situation much better.

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squarecutter

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Sherrif
I think spanking is probably out on this occasion due to the time lapse. But that a fatherly or uncle-ish talk is much needed. Dad wants to be goodtime Dd an Mom seems weak. I want chapter and verse from the mother on how he was ungrateful or rude as those are the bits he might pick holes in as teens do when lectured. As to skipping school. he has a responsibility to his mother and the school so that people know where he is and he also has a responsibility to himself and that down the road it will do him no good to screw up his education. Thus I hope I am filling the gap left by his Dad which where I expect the playing up is coming from I will tell him that were he in my care when he skipped, I would , with his Moms permission have paddled him on the spot as If he were my son.

I f I still have his attention I will then say that his Mom wants me to take on a role in disciplining him and try to tease out how he feels about that. I f there is hostility I will stay clear

Michael Junior

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Kid
I want to thank everyone for your feedback! I do have some more information to share that might clear up some details about the situation. I'll do that as soon as possible, but I wanted to at least check in and express my gratitude. I love you

http://www.malespank.net/listAuthor.php?author=Michael+Junior

Jack

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Admin
squarecutter wrote: I want chapter and verse from the mother on how he was ungrateful or rude as those are the bits he might pick holes in as teens do when lectured.

These are the things that drive me crazy. I won't even spank my own kids for 'attitude', simply because it's so subjective. For that matter, my step-father would provoke me when he was mad, and I'd end up getting a whupping, even though I hadn't really done anything.

I try very hard to keep my rules objective - if you're not home by 6:30, you will be spanked. They boys might occasionally slip by with some misbehavior, but I'd rather err on the side of fairness (something I believe Michael, Jr has also stated), than spank them for something that I can't even be sure was more than me being in a bad mood or misunderstanding something.


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