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BOTD 02-23-2017 Like Oil and Water - An 18-Smacked Production

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Bransom Postmaster
Like Oil and Water
An 18Smacked Production

Your nephew, Chris, the son of your sister and her husband, has always had his share of troubles; mostly minor type stuff but he and his Dad have often come to battle, and since he turned twelve, things got worse. There have not been any major incidents yet, but it seems that whenever he and his Dad are in the same house, there is virtually a constant tension in the air, and a lot or arguing and ordering and yelling. They are like oil and water; they simply cannot mix together.  This past weekend it just got so bad that his Dad "kicked Chris out of the house," and since then he is living with his elderly grandparents, his Dad's parents. Since they live in the same school district as where your sister lives, this was a logical refuge for Chris. You and Chris have always been as tight as most father sons who get along well are, and Chris absolutely adores you and loves nothing more than spending time with you.

Your sister calls you and asks you to take Chris to stay with you weekends, in order to give his grandparents a break on the weekends from the strain of  being with an energetic almost thirteen year-old boy, but also so you can "help him with his problems." His Dad says you can do whatever you want with him, just keep the boy away from him. You will have full disciplinary authority when he stays with you, and he is spanked and even paddled on his bare bottom, though it has been years since you spanked him.

Chris and his father both are in therapy, seeing a counselor every week, and the whole family does family therapy every week as well, with the aim of reuniting everyone.

Chris - 13
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Is there anything that you can (and should) do to help Chris and his Dad get along together better? What can you do and how?

Can you dig it?


It sounds to me like dad is the main one with the problem. Chris appears to get along just fine with everyone else.

Beyond therapy, mostly so that Chris doesn't have lifelong guilt issues that don't appear, from the scenario, to be his fault at all, there's not much I can do to help. I'd think therapy ought to be happening a LOT more often than once a week for a mess as awful as this one.

It sounds like my sister is as useless as her husband. It's a shame they ever had children.


Ah yes, therapy.

Like Emlyn I also remember when all the fields were green. Smile


Chris at a distance with me as favourite uncle is one thing. Handling Chris under my own roof and my responsibility may be quite another. I want to get the recent disciplinary history and try to find out just what Chris responds to best and just what the main issue with his folks has been. At 13 I cant just let Chris rip if that has been the problem but I clearly don't want to wade in the way his Dad has been. So time for lots of chats. Am I privy to what come out through the counselling sessions.

Do I have my own kids . Can Chris fit in with their regime. Lot of talking needed. May be Chris allow me to act as confidante/mediator, till I know what the issues have been I dont know much of a disciplinarian I will have to be. I rule nothing out

Just one other point. I'm not sure how relevant it is that I spanked Chris a few years back, he would have been a small boy. Now he is clearly an adolescent youth the game has changed somewhat. How resistant might he have become.

Last edited by squarecutter on Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:49 am; edited 1 time in total


I have no problem with this in theory. In reality, Chris and I will sit down and have a long discussion. Half of it will be on the specifics of him staying with me that much. Half of it will just be a rambling discussion of what's been going on lately.

If this is as serious as it appears, I will also mention the idea of him just living with me entirely, and even of my getting legal custody of him.

And yeah, at 13, and him just staying here on the weekends, corporal punishment will be the go to correction, but I'll give him plenty of choice in how it's applied, and if he's just here on weekends, it shouldn't be too hard for him not to get in trouble too often.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


I'm OK with him staying with us whenever he needs, and I'll be there to support him, listen to him and advise him as needed. Other than that, there's not much I can say without knowing all the details of the situation.

David M. Katz

I hope the therapy works and the family can be reunited but, if I am honest, then I have my doubts.

I know there can be some bad eggs out there but it doesn't appear that Chris was doing more than just being a normal pubescent boy. I am guessing his father is a 'my way or the highway' sort of guy who likes being in charge and has no compassion or understanding when it comes to boys this age. I blame the dad and my sister. I cannot understand what kind of father puts his own son out nor what kind of mother allows it. I know it happens but I cannot see it was warranted here.

Obviously I have a relationship with Chris and obviously it is a good relationship to the point he has accepted CP from me before.

I can appreciate the school district situation but I am guessing we can work this out. Instead of Chris being tossed between his grandparents and me I am going to want him to live with me until such time (if it happens) that he can return to a peaceful home.

I will allow the therapy to do what it needs to do but, at this time, I am strongly leaning to pushing for custody of Chris.

Like Jack said, Chris and I will have a long talk. If there is an issue then I would lean to CP as well but, like Jack, will give Chris input in to the process.

I think just having someone be willing to listen to him will help a lot.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


This was a real life situation I was involved in many years ago. I was a sort of adopted uncle to the children of some friends of mine. When the boy was about 12, he and his Dad did not get along at all, and he ended up having to live with his grandparents about a mile away from his house.  His Mom was a sort of sister to me that I never had in my own family.

His Mom asked me to take the boy weekends, in order to give respite to the elderly grandparents. This delighted the boy, as he was always happy to spend time with me. His Mom would fill me in on what was being worked on in the therapy sessions, and my role was to reinforce them on his level in the time we were together. He never got wise to this role I played, and simply felt I was "on his side." For the most part, he was cooperative with his grandparents, and while I was authorized to discipline him for issues that were committed with them or me, this never was something that we faced. He behaved wonderfully while with me, and was always very appreciative for the time I spent with him.

He was also struggling in school, and I worked with him, setting up charting that the grandparents helped do. The boy relished this as well, and thrived with improved behavior and grades.

His Mom was a very involved Mom, and, as far as I was able to determine, it was the father who was unwilling to ever accommodate the boy in his changing wants and needs. I was afraid that my role would alienate my friendship and relationship with the boy's Dad, but that never happened; he simply ignored my function, and we never discussed it. (His Dad was my attorney and we were close friends socially as well.) On the other hand, he did not resent anything I did. For one and a half years I fulfilled my role, and then the boy went to a special school for nine months, after which he came home with his parents.

Today, he is a practicing attorney, and his Mom credits me for the reading reward system I began with him, shortly after we had met when he was about 8 years-old. His Mom said that without my input, she thinks he would not have learned to read at all. I also hope I helped him learn how to behave.


18Smacked wrote:He was also struggling in school, and I worked with him, setting up charting that the grandparents helped do. The boy relished this as well, and thrived with improved behavior and grades.

I have known a few people who seem able to just handle things for themselves, but I've found that most people not only need structure, but they want it. You just have to make sure that they got a lot of positive feedback when they're doing well.

But sometimes it just needs someone outside the immediate situation to be a neutral party and give everyone a little extra space.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


Hmm! Rednecks v Hormones ............... the ingredients of a good war.

Since I have this "special relationship with Chris I'll use it.

I'll listen to him and get an idea of the extent of the problem. Then if he seems able to be reasonable I'll work with him to teach him some techniques to manage and deflect conflict. How keeping calm and giving way on small things can often lead to a satisfactory compromise and even, sometimes, to a win.

I'll stay clear of dad since he'll most likely see me as taking sides.

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