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BOTD 01-24-2017 Homework Help - A DMK Production

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Skater

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Bransom Postmaster
HOMEWORK HELP
A DMK Production



You are a single parent (spouse deceased) with a thirteen-year old son, Anton, who you affectionately call "Ant."  You do use spanking with Ant but, since he turned thirteen, you have also used restrictions with good results. Currently, Ant is grounded for a combination of issues with chores and curfew. Ant is not supposed to leave home except for school and he is not allowed to have friends over.  There is about an hour after school before you get home from work where Ant is unsupervised but, despite the recent issues, he is a good kid and so you trust him to follow the terms of his punishment.  Ant has three days remaining on a week long restriction.

You get home from work just a little early and note a bicycle propped against your porch that you aren't familiar with.  You go in the house and hear Ant's voice and the voice of another boy coming from the den.  You are shocked that your son would violate the terms of his punishment. You get closer to the den and do realize that the boys are talking about math problems.  You walk in and see:


ANTON & PETER - Both 13

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You ask Anton if he can take a minute and speak to you in private.  You ask who the other boy is.

"That's Peter.  He's a friend from school. You haven't met him yet, he's new to our school."

You ask Ant why he has a friend over since he knows he is grounded.

"He's only here to help me with my math homework.  I wasn't understanding it and he knows the stuff really well because they've already done it at his old school. He offered to help. The only time he could come was right after school so he followed me home. His mom knows he's here. I really need the help and he is helping me understand stuff.  I figured you wouldn't care since it is for school."

Do you care?



Last edited by David M. Katz on Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:21 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Corrected date)


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Iconoclast

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Trailboss
No, I do not care!

Iconoclast

db105

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Trailboss
Skater wrote:Do you care?

No, the explanation sounds reasonable to me, and they were working when I arrived. I'll just tell Ant that it's fine, and that when they are done Peter needs to leave, because he (Ant) is still grounded.

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Jack

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Admin
"You should have texted me. Violating your grounding is a spanking offense, and you don't want any misunderstandings. Does he know you're grounded?"

"Not really."

"Okay.... Howdy, Peter. Thanks for helping Ant with his homework. I'm afraid we have plans for this evening, but would you like to come for dinner on (three days from now)?"


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18Smacked

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When I heard them, it was clear that they were discussing math, not football or girls. Why am I going to care about my son getting help for his problems in understanding his math? Not only will I not care, I will pat him on the back and tell him how proud I am that he has gone and gotten some help from someone for his troubles. I will tell him what a mature way he has handled this. Bravo!!

As for the tutor, I will serve the two of them ice cream after the tutoring session is over, as a sort of "payment" for his time and effort.

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Adric

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Jack wrote:"You should have texted me.  Violating your grounding is a spanking offense, and you don't want any misunderstandings.  Does he know you're grounded?"

I agree with Jack.  This seems like a slippery slope - if I let it go then he can have guests at will as long as they are talking about math or some other school subject when I am able to hear them.  I'm afraid Ant gets a spanking this time, and another lecture from me on the grounding rules and consequences.

And as for the math, well - I happen to have an advanced degree in mathematics.  That doesn't guarantee that I can help him with "new math", but it is highly likely and I will be glad to offer him as much help as he needs.

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Beaver

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Wrangler
I agree that this is a slippery slope. However, I think this shows more the downside of using prolonged grounding as punishment: it prevents the kids to socialize with others, learn with each other, etc., all of which are things we as parents want for our children.
Nonetheless, he didn't comply with the terms of his punishment, so to just disregard this seems non-ideal to me: one should strive to be consistent and have clear expectations that are followed through. Punishing him for this holds the danger of breeding resentment though, as he would likely perceive it as very unfair. So we will probably have a longer chat instead, in which I will inform him that it is okay for him to learn with a friend while being grounded, but that he has to inform me beforehand. I will add that should I ever catch him again with a friend while grounded without him letting me know beforehand or when they are clearly not working, he has a spanking coming. Since Ant is a good kid, I am sure he will honor this new agreement.

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
Beaver wrote:I agree that this is a slippery slope. However, I think this shows more the downside of using prolonged grounding as punishment: it prevents the kids to socialize with others, learn with each other, etc., all of which are things we as parents want for our children.
Nonetheless, he didn't comply with the terms of his punishment, so to just disregard this seems non-ideal to me: one should strive to be consistent and have clear expectations that are followed through. Punishing him for this holds the danger of breeding resentment though, as he would likely perceive it as very unfair. So we will probably have a longer chat instead, in which I will inform him that it is okay for him to learn with a friend while being grounded, but that he has to inform me beforehand. I will add that should I ever catch him  again with a friend while grounded without him letting me know beforehand or when they are clearly not working, he has a spanking coming. Since Ant is a good kid, I am sure he will honor this new agreement.

I like this.

I think it addresses the issue at hand.

I am very pleased that Ant took time to seek help and to work on his homework during a time (at least in my house) where he would probably been free to do as he wanted (being grounded considered.)  I hope Ant and Peter can be good friends. In many areas, Ant showed maturity and responsibility and so I do not want to squash that.

However, Ant did break his restrictions.  He did not ask beforehand. (Even if he hadn't known until mid-day he could have still texted me.) I deliberately added that Peter's mom knew so as to show there was a phone available. (I truly know no 13 year old in today's society that does not have and even need to have a phone. We no longer have a land line.) Why did Ant not let me know he was having academic issues or allow me to help? Ant carried out his good intentions in a careless way.

In short, Beaver's response covers everything.

I also like Jack's idea of inviting Peter to dinner in a few days.


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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I'm on board with Icono and Daniel. Ant understands grounding. He used common sense to know what was an exception, just as he would use common sense to leave the house if it were on fire.

Kat

AFinch

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Sherrif
Count me in with Icono, Daniel, and Kat.

squarecutter

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Sherrif
Ok but text me next time, Hello Peter, Thank you for offering to help Anton out. Another night I'd offer you dinner but I'm afraid Anton is grounded at the moment. (No need to spare Antons blushes) Sorry we cannot be more sociable but I'm sure you understand.

ivor

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Marshall
I
D
o
Know

who I am siding with on this one.

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Jack

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Adric wrote:
Jack wrote:"You should have texted me.  Violating your grounding is a spanking offense, and you don't want any misunderstandings.  Does he know you're grounded?"

I agree with Jack.  This seems like a slippery slope - if I let it go then he can have guests at will as long as they are talking about math or some other school subject when I am able to hear them.  I'm afraid Ant gets a spanking this time, and another lecture from me on the grounding rules and consequences.

I'm afraid I'm being misunderstood here.

I would NOT spank for this.  The scenario makes it sound like they were working on math before they knew I was there, so he would get a pass on this.  My comments were simply to explain how he should have handled the situation and why. Also, I encourage the boys to have new friends, so I would normally have asked Peter to stay for dinner that night, if Ant hadn't been grounded. In this case, I'm simply making a reason why Peter needs to finish up the homework and head home, rather than hanging out afterwards, without Ant having to explain that he's grounded.


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Adric

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Jack wrote:I'm afraid I'm being misunderstood here.

I would NOT spank for this.

Okay, I guess I agree with some of what Jack said.  Ant did several things wrong.  He should have texted me about his intentions and asked for permission to have Peter come over to help him with his math.  He should have asked me to help him with with his math.  He should have told Peter that he was being punished and therefore they could only speak to each other if the subject was math (what a mess that would be).  To me Ant clearly violated the conditions of his grounding and gets a spanking later after Peter has gone.

So how do I handle the situation?  I ask to speak to Ant privately for a moment, and I tell him that he is in trouble but that he has created a situation where he shouldn't embarrass his guest now by asking him to leave.  I tell him to continue with Peter until he is through with the math and try to stay on-topic if he can.  I tell him to come see me as soon as Peter has left to talk about what he has done.

After Peter is gone I tell Ant that he is getting a spanking for violating the conditions of his grounding by having a guest in his room without permission.  I tell him that he is not being punished for seeking help, but because he broke the rules by not discussing his plans with me.  I tell him that he created a very sticky situation by having Peter over and counting on Peter not to say anything about any other subject than math, and that he should have looked for alternative solutions that didn't put his friend in such an awkward situation.

I'm not willing to eavesdrop constantly on a conversation between Ant and a guest and police their conversation to determine whether it stays on-topic.  That would be ridiculous, and it seems that is what I would have to do if there were a repeat performance.  A tutoring session like this would very quickly evolve into a session of general conversation about nonacademic subjects.

In short, I wouldn't be using grounding as a punishment, but that is what the scenario says I do.

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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
No spanking, just a quiet warning that next time I expect to be given forewarning of what does appear a genuine legitimate reason to suspend briefly the grounding.

David M. Katz

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Marshall
I enjoy a BOTD with spirited discussion and varying ideas. Thanks, all.


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kalico

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Sherrif
I'm with jack and the general consensus..,,



Hugs kal

Adric

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Cowboy
kalico wrote: I'm with jack and the general consensus..,,

I see that the general consensus is "no spanking for Ant".  Thinking this over, I've now got a new approach to the problem.  I call Ant out of his room for a brief discussion, in which I remind him that he violated the conditions of his grounding by having a visitor in his room without permission, and that as a result I have decided that grounding will not work for him.  So, he is no longer grounded, but he will be punished.  He can go back to his visit with Peter, but come see me afterward to talk about what happens next.

So when Peter leaves I tell Ant that he is going to be punished for violating the rules of his grounding and also for what he did that caused the grounding in the first place.  Assuming it is not snowing, raining, winter, etc. he will spend next Saturday mowing the yard, edging the sidewalk, weeding the flower bed, trimming the hedges, washing the cars, and any other thing I can think of to ruin his day (and improve the appearance of the yard).  If snow, rain, etc. then he can do similar work details all day in the house.  I might also confiscate his phone and change the WiFi password in the house so he doesn't have access to the internet for the weekend.  There might also be a spanking to substitute for the remaining portion of his grounding and the carelessness he displayed in following the grounding rules.

[rant]
Since the following is a "rant", it may contain injudicious statements that I will later regret.  Therefore, I ask that you try to interpret any such statements as stimulants for discussion rather than antisocial behavior on my part.

I don't like grounding as a punishment.  It seems to me that it creates a minefield of undemocratic obstacles that would be very difficult for a boy to negotiate.  Each time he encounters a friend who suggests something that would violate the grounding he has to shamefully disclose that he is "being punished" and therefore can't do whatever was suggested.  That's what I mean by stepping on one of the mines.  Some may think that those disclosures are an appropriate component of the punishment, but I beg to differ.  Grounding also lasts too long.  It's too much like being in jail, and I don't want my boy to have to disclose to his friends that he is effectively in jail.

So my future options for punishing Ant are yardwork, housework, writing lines, sitting around the house with no internet access, and even spanking - but no more grounding.
[/rant]

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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
No problem with the discussion. I just don't see this as a situation that requires a lot of parental action. If I'd come in and found him simply entertaining a guest, I'd have a problem. He wasn't simply entertaining, however. He has a reasonable explanation for why Peter was in the house, and appearances back that explanation up.

The circumstances seem to me to demonstrate Ant is respectful of my authority, while at the same time showing some common sense. Perhaps there were ways he could have done this thing better, but he reasoned it out pretty well, IMO. If he could have contacted me but didn't, that's something for us to address but not necessarily punish.

To me, punishment sends an undesirable message: obey authority unquestioningly. I'm reminded of a scene in one of my favorite movies, A Christmas Story. After one of the characters, Flick, sticks his tongue to a frozen flagpole, the bell rings. As Flick stands there incoherently begging not to be left, Ralph, the main character, shrugs and says flatly, "The bell rang", as he walks off.

Kat

Jack

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Admin
Adric wrote:I don't like grounding as a punishment.  It seems to me that it creates a minefield of undemocratic obstacles that would be very difficult for a boy to negotiate.  Each time he encounters a friend who suggests something that would violate the grounding he has to shamefully disclose that he is "being punished" and therefore can't do whatever was suggested.  That's what I mean by stepping on one of the mines.  Some may think that those disclosures are an appropriate component of the punishment, but I beg to differ.  Grounding also lasts too long.  It's too much like being in jail, and I don't want my boy to have to disclose to his friends that he is effectively in jail.

As a person who was actually a boy, and who was actually grounded at times, I have to disagree with this. In RL, the conversation went something like this...

"Wanna hang out after school?"

"Can't. Grounded."

"That sucks. When's it over?"

"Friday."

"Wanna go see that new movie Saturday?"


Personally, I don't use grounding much and certainly not with younger boys, but consider what the purpose of punishment/correction actually is. To me, it's to prepare kids for adulthood, which actually makes grounding a more realistic and effective punishment. However, as someone who is technically still grounded (on at least two occasions, I was grounded for 'the rest of (my) life), I have to say that keeping the terms of the grounding reasonable for the age/maturity of the child is an important component.


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Y Lee Coyote

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I find all these prosecutorial approaches off the mark.  I’m not the DA and we are not dealing with an adult crime so I am not going to slice and dice the fine points of this.

I’m a father who comes home to find his grounded son home and doing his school work.  That is exactly what he should be doing and I am very pleased.  That he has enlisted a schoolmate to help where he recognized he is weak is definitely a plus.

Perhaps he should have called and given me a heads up but he is thirteen -- not a baby -- and needs to make decisions to learn the art.

Asking who the new acquaintance is reasonable and proper but does not require clandestinity nor embarrassment.

Y.

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18Smacked

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Cowboy
Adric wrote:
kalico wrote: I'm with jack and the general consensus..,,

So when Peter leaves I tell Ant that he is going to be punished for violating the rules of his grounding and also for what he did that caused the grounding in the first place.  Assuming it is not snowing, raining, winter, etc. he will spend next Saturday mowing the yard, edging the sidewalk, weeding the flower bed, trimming the hedges, washing the cars, and any other thing I can think of to ruin his day (and improve the appearance of the yard).  If snow, rain, etc. then he can do similar work details all day in the house.  I might also confiscate his phone and change the WiFi password in the house so he doesn't have access to the internet for the weekend.  There might also be a spanking to substitute for the remaining portion of his grounding and the carelessness he displayed in following the grounding rules.


I have no disagreement about an overall abhorrence for grounding; by and large- I agree. However, I cannot disagree more regarding telling the boy that he violated his grounding by having a boy over at the house for help with the maths. Now, mind you, were they laughing and joking, discussing anything other than school subjects, I would have an entirely different reaction, but that was not the case at all here!

These kids were discussing nothing but maths when I listened in on the conversation. The new boy was instructing my son on a subject with which he was lost.  Why in the world is he to be punished for doing that? It will only discourage him from doing this sort of thing again in the future! And, sorry, Adric, but that is the very last thing I want to deter my son from ever doing; getting help with something he does not understand.

I cannot disagree with you more, Adric; I will congratulate my son on his initiative in getting help with what he does not understand. I will perhaps tell him he might have asked if it would be okay to have this boy over while he is grounded, and should do so the next time such a situation arises, but I will not punish him this time for doing this. I want to encourage my son's seeking help when he lacks understanding of a subject, and not discourage that!

And, I am not going to tell my son that I like how he did get help with his maths problems, but I do not like how he went about it while he was grounded, so I am now going to punish him for that. That is ridiculous, in my view.



Last edited by 18Smacked on Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:11 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Iconoclast

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Trailboss
Jack wrote:"You should have texted me.  Violating your grounding is a spanking offense, and you don't want any misunderstandings.  Does he know you're grounded?"

"Not really."

"Okay.... Howdy, Peter.  Thanks for helping Ant with his homework.  I'm afraid we have plans for this evening, but would you like to come for dinner on (three days from now)?"

Given how adamant most schools are against any phone use texting me would require texting while walking home, which is NOT advisable!

Iconoclast

Jack

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Admin
I started to reply to comments a couple of people have made here. They seem like they might be a bit heated (though I hope I'm just misreading that). Instead of replying to anything directly, please allow me to share a story some of you may have heard before.

I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I'm pretty sure it was one of my earliest groundings, so maybe 11 or just turned 12?

Part of the problem is that my Mom would ground me way out of proportion to what was done. For instance, I, who was normally a straight A student, once brought home a 'c'. Instead of asking me and/or my teacher what had happened, and how she could help, she grounded me for six weeks (until the next report card) 'until I could bring it up.' I also remember a time or two that she grounded me 'until I learned my lesson'.

So, on this particular occasion, she'd refused to let me do something, reading me her definition of 'grounding'. Later, she came into my room and told me to go to the store and get something.

"I can't go anywhere, because I'm grounded!" I replied, in what I have to admit was a very smart ass tone of voice.

Yeah - I got my butt beat, still had to go to the store, and was still grounded.

**********************************

I think that, in this scenario, each person has to weigh several things before coming to a conclusion about the right way to proceed. Instead of getting into what those things are, I'm just going to say that different people will give more or less importance to each item, and will also see Ant's behavior through the light of their own experiences. While I have my own opinion of what's right (obviously - having already shared it), that doesn't mean that someone else's is neccesarily invalid.

Iconoclast wrote:
Jack wrote:"You should have texted me. Violating your grounding is a spanking offense, and you don't want any misunderstandings. Does he know you're grounded?"

"Not really."

"Okay.... Howdy, Peter. Thanks for helping Ant with his homework. I'm afraid we have plans for this evening, but would you like to come for dinner on (three days from now)?"

Given how adamant most schools are against any phone use texting me would require texting while walking home, which is NOT advisable!

Iconoclast

BS, Icono - if I let him keep his phone (which I probably did in case we need to communicate, though I may take it in the evenings and only return it in the mornings), then it won't hurt anything for him to step aside once he leaves the school and spend five seconds texting. I assume most 13-year olds are smart enough to figure that out.


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