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How are you doing? I wrote you about 3 years ago about our two sons.  Well now the oldest is 16 and just received his license. Our youngest son is 11.  We had implemented spanking and following God’s word on the matter.  After the first couple of years of talking and seeking your advice on the matter, they eventually turned around, without having to be spanked as much as the beginning.

However, just recently my oldest and youngest son got caught playing pranks by “egging” a kid's house and car they knew from school.  I just found out about it when their friends they were with turned them in.  Both of my sons were involved with this. They both lied about it at first until their friends' parents told my wife and me about the incident.  My wife has a rule that lying always earns a spanking.

When my wife and I discussed with my old son about getting a license, I told him the option of spanking would be used if he broke curfew more than once.  Over this past weekend, we found out about the egging and I caught him trying to sneak in the house after he broke curfew a second time. We had restricted him from using the car and he broke the curfew again. 

Because neither boy has been spanked in a while, I would like your suggestions for spanking my son since he is now older.  I told my wife that I would consult you since you helped us the first time.  We have moved and don’t have access to a switch and wonder what you suggest.  My older son is taller now and is too big for bending over my knee.  How should I go about spanking this time?  My older son has broke curfew, engaged in disorderly conduct and included his brother, and lied about it.  I have already taken his license away.  Both boys know that their most recent behavior has earned them a spanking.  The older son has done three violations and the younger has done two by lying and partipating with his brother.  I want to make sure my older son understands this as he is not allowed to drive until further notice.


I've thought about this a while, mostly trying to understand why you have questions about this matter. You've stated several times that you told the boys that certain misdeeds would earn spankings as part of the punishment. A spanking is not immoral nor will it cause lasting harm -- whether it is sufficient might be another question. Jesus told his followers, "let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'" (Matthew 5:37). In other words, you must be a man of your word. If there was any doubts whether spanking was an appropriate punishment for lying or breaking curfew, it should not have been threatened. If you wanted alternatives, it should have been discussed and decided before the choice was stated. Because this is what you stated, then regardless what I or anyone else might suggest as alternatives, you need to keep your word.

Size and inconvenience of finding a switch doesn't change matters. Just because his legs are longer, it doesn't mean he can't bend over or lay across your lap. Think about it this way: you stated that you are against lying, but because keeping your word is more difficult that you thought you are considering going against your word. Is that lying? What then are you teaching your boys? That breaking your word is all right if you don't really want to keep it anyway and you can find an adequate excuse?

In regards to what was done, it is about time your older son step up and take responsibility for his actions. He needs to talk to the owner of the house and car that he egged, with you present to mediate, to find out the cost of the damage that he created. He then needs to work out a schedule for repaying the owner that amount plus a small amount, say 10%, for the inconvenience he caused the owner. If the owner doesn't want the extra portion, it should go to a charity. A portion of this cost needs to be allocated to your younger son to be paid out of his allowance. If the police become involved, you son must face the consequences on his own. Do NOT rescue him!

The curfew breaking needs to be addressed by understanding why he is not making it home on time. Is the curfew too restrictive; that is, is it not possible for him to do what was needed and make it home on time? Is it negligence on his part in not watching the time? Or, is there a distraction that is consuming too much of his time, such as a girlfriend? Based on what is the reason for his being late, you need to structure a punishment that removes the "excuse." For example, if it is friends keeping him out too late, then he is grounded from seeing those friends after school for a month. If the problem is driving even though you have his license, then take all the keys.


Thanks for responding back.  Upon your response, I realized how right you were. Upon reflecting over what happened, I was a little overwhelmed by what the boys did.  I thank you pointing out the error of the example I was setting for them.  You can even go on to say I was making an excuse for not carrying through with what was agreed upon in the first place.  I called a family meeting and included the passage you mentioned about let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no."  I asked my family to forgive me as well as God.  I then went ahead and told both boys that the agreed consequence was a spanking and I carried it out.  I had to get a bigger rod for for the older son since he was older, but he didn't fight me on it.  I think both realized the error of their ways as also I have. Both boys have also made restitution with the people whom they threw the eggs at their house and car.  Both of them paid me for the cost of cleaning the mess.  The older boy has to go for a hearing next month in front of a family judge.

Thanks for opening my eyes to the truth.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Spanking
Questions and Answers regarding Child Rearing and Parenting
Questions and Answers regarding Lying
Questions and Answers regarding Teenagers