Social Question

Ansible1's avatar

Punishment for sneaking a peek?

Asked by Ansible1 (4836points) December 23rd, 2009
68 responses
“Great Question” (11points)

If an 18 yr. old boy sneaks a peak at his Christmas gift (iPod) (you know this because of moved packages etc.) what, if any, should be the punishment?

I say don’t include the iPod in gifts under the tree- wait until he unwraps the last present to find no iPod and watch him squirm….maybe let him have it a week later or something. Thoughts?

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ninjacolin's avatar

you don’t practice dismemberment in your family?

gemiwing's avatar

Oooh, that’s good! Then it will be a good lesson as well as a hilarious family story.

Blackberry's avatar

It sounds like you’re (if this is your situation) being a little irrational over something so trivial. He’s 18…....I would say no problem and postpone giving it to him if he was, you know…...8. The whole present thing is really for the kids. As adults, I don’t know about you, but we simply ask: “Hey, what do you want for Christmas?”, or “Do you want a gift card to somewhere?”. Let’s all be adults OK?

Buttonstc's avatar

Yeah the original idea is a good one cuz it comes off as a good joke. You don’t want to be TOO punitive here. After all, it is Christmas and it’s pretty normal behavior :)

sliceswiththings's avatar

Just laugh it off. Do something to disguise it, like wrap it in a huge box, or have the gift tag say it’s for the cat, or something. Acknowledge that you know he snooped, but just confuse him then you can all laugh.

Freedom_Issues's avatar

Ah…how do you know he looked inside the package? you said moved packages, which means he could have just been looking at the wrapped presents under the tree.

csimme01's avatar

Since he knows already, just have him sit with you while you unwrap it in front of him. Then don’t let him have it and leave it under the tree. On Christmas morning, take it away and leave a note saying he can have it after New Years Day.

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

Take the Ipod out of the box and replace it with socks or better, coal. Replace it under the tree.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Good idea. Might backfire though. I was once given a gift (a guitar) that was later taken away from me for some percieved wrongdoing. When it was later proven that I did not do the thing I was accused of, my mother attempted to give it back to me. I refused to accept it. It was never mine if it could simply be taken away like that. It gathered dust, untouched, for many years and I have no idea what ever happened to it. A truly determined stubborn child can make things blow up in your face. If the boy is anything like I was, he might never touch the thing.

SuperMouse's avatar

With the whole concept of sneaking a peak I tend to go with the “you are only hurting yourself” philosophy. The only harm done is that he won’t be surprised on Christmas morning and to me that is the fun! When my boys do this (which of course they do) I just shake my head and point out they have blown the surprise.

avvooooooo's avatar

I like the idea of not giving it until later. He’s old enough to know how to wait for his presents. I also like @Ghost_in_the_system‘s idea of taking the iPod out of the box and putting something in it that he won’t appreciate. The more I think about it, the more I like that idea. He can get the iPod after it spends a few days in the penalty box.

Snarp's avatar

I agree with some others that it’s not worth doing much over (but then I was a serial peeker as a kid). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it not being there on Christmas morning, just to teach him a lesson, but then give it to him later. I would probably still give it to him on Christmas though.

sliceswiththings's avatar

@Ghost_in_the_system Great answer! That would be fantastic.

Silhouette's avatar

Hiding it is a devious plan. Replace it with a barbie doll.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Ansible1 Seems to me you have a good solution figured out. I would be sure to then tell him you knew he peeked and that if it happens again, you’re donating the gift next time!

HumourMe's avatar

Man if my parents made me wait a week for all the times I’ve peeked at presents I’d be waiting for years.

erichw1504's avatar

Replace it with a rock.

Darwin's avatar

What @SuperMouse said. It was his choice to ruin his own Christmas surprise. That should be punishment enough. Besides, he’s 18! Legally he is an adult and has every right in the world to make bad decisions as long as he is the only one who gets hurt.

Why are you monitoring the gifts under the tree? Are you afraid someone mught take one that isn’t theirs?

baileysmom12's avatar

I don’t think it’s too punishable an offence. Let him have the iPod but tell him you know he peeked and that it ruined the surprise for YOU, not him. Maybe next year he’ll keep his peepers to himself.

Snarp's avatar

Hmm, I believe a clarification is in order. Seems we are operating under the impression this was a wrapped present under the tree, but the question doesn’t make that clear, and I am beginning to think it was in a present hiding place and not yet wrapped. Which is it? And does that make a difference in anyone’s answers? Not mine.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Here we go, you have a busy couple days ahead of you, but so worth it:

You’re going to have to write a song about 18-year-olds peeking at their Christmas gifts. Then, find a band and record this song. Put it on the iPod, and repackage it so it looks like it’s never been opened. Present it as you ordinarily would.

stratman37's avatar

@sliceswiththings – that sounds too “undoable”, but they could always pre-load that baby with Slim Whitman!!

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Wrap it up, and label it for someone else, like your spouse. Fill them in on the details, so when they open it they know it’s not actually theirs, but let your son squirm for a while thinking it was never his to begin with. Then later on come clean and give it to your son.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, that is usually the plan of action.

Better yet wait till they are about to go to bed.

Actually, I like @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities idea better. :-)

Seek's avatar

Are we still punishing 18 year olds like naughty children these days? Seriously?

CMaz's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr – If they continue to act like one.

gemiwing's avatar

I don’t think of it as punishment, exactly. More like a small prank because he peeked.

I do think you should give it to him on Christmas- a week felt like forever back then.

chyna's avatar

As a teenager I snuck open a couple of packages and wore a sweater and a pair of earrings to school. I would have gotten away with it, but my mom came home from work earlier than I got home that day. Yes, I had done this before and got away with it. I could wrap it back up to look like it did originally. My mom took the gifts and said she was taking them back. She gave them back to me the day after Christmas. Lesson learned, I never did it again.

MissAusten's avatar

@HumourMe Me too! My brother and I had present peeking down to an art form. When I was in high school and my parents both worked, I’d come home from school and read whatever books they’d gotten me for Christmas. I’d stash them back in the closet when I heard cars in the driveway.

We knew all the hiding spots and usually found most of our gifts well before Christmas. If we missed something, we still saw it before Christmas morning because we always woke each other up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to sneak downstairs and peek at everything Santa left behind. Santa didn’t wrap presents at our house.

Anyway, my kids are much younger than 18, and have been told that if they open the presents under the tree before Christmas they lose them. Not quite the same as peeking. I don’t know if I’d be able to resist playing a prank in this case, like replacing the iPod with something silly, but I don’t think I’d go so far as punishment for an 18 year old. He’s an adult. Would you punish your husband for peeking?

CMaz's avatar

“I would have gotten away with it”

Yea ok. Heads up. They always know.

That is the,He knows if you’ve been bad or good comes from.

Snarp's avatar

@MissAusten I’m quite certain my wife would punish me for peeking.

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

Put the Ipod in a different box. One they wouldn’t be as gung ho to open. They would open the Ipod box, get disapointed then when they finally open the other they feel better.

filmfann's avatar

He is 18. It’s Christmas. Give him the damn iPod, and don’t be a dick.
If you feel he needs to be taught a lesson, make him eat fruitcake.

gemiwing's avatar

@MissAusten If Hubbs peeked he would wonder why I didn’t pull a prank about it. I would expect the same from him.

I agree it should be a prank and not punishment. He’s old enough to get the hint and being the butt of a joke carries a lot of weight at that age so one should tread lightly.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Wrap up a meatloaf in place of the Ipod :)

MissAusten's avatar

@Snarp Yeah, I would probably punish my husband too. :)

john65pennington's avatar

Your son, by law, is an adult at age 18. i understand where you are coming from on sneaking a peak at Santas gifts. remember what happened in A Christmas Story? Ralphie wanted the BB Gun and it was nowhere to found under the tree? his dad held it as a last present and hide the BB Gun behind a desk in the corner. why don’t you do this? pull a prank. tell your son it just disappeared and that you are sorry, maybe you should call the police. let him worry for about 10 minutes, then surprise him. tell him this is to teach you a lesson not to grab a sneak peak, at the Christmas presents. merry ho ho! john

dpworkin's avatar

It doesn’t matter, as long as you punish him severely. Knock that goddamn curiosity right out of the little bastard, and kill any spirit he has left while you’re at it. That oughta show him.

Zen_Again's avatar

Punishment for an 18-year-old?

chyna's avatar

@pdworkin Glad I didn’t have you as a dad.~

dpworkin's avatar

@Zen_Again: I don’t think you understand. The fiendish criminal bastard peeked at his own Christmas present!

dpworkin's avatar

@chyna My children are perfect little robots, and damned well better be glad to have me as a dad or I will kill them.

Ansible1's avatar

Thanks for the input all! This is not my personal situation, but a friend of the family’s dilema. I can’t wait to show his mom this thread later! She’s just really upset b/c he ruined the surprise for her as well. I hear you all on the whole ‘he’s 18’ thing, I just think doing something is better than nothing…so yeah I agree with a prank rather than punishment.

@Snarp I guess he got into the hiding spot and looked in the shopping bags

Sarcasm's avatar

@pdworkin You want to borrow my Fluther username for a while? I think you probably deserve it more here.

I agree with some of the users, do something that essentially says, “I know you peeked.”
Switch the contents of the box with another present, or don’t bring out the ipod until all other unwrapping is done, or hold it for a week. Something along those lines.

Since some people are sharing their stories..
I was always a curious bugger, but I never opened any presents early (unless they’re in bags! I can easily rearrange whatever stuff is in there and nobody’s the wiser!), because I was afraid that when doing surgical tape removal I would tear up the gift wrap, and somebody would notice. So I would look at the box, shake it, gauge weight, and try to guess what it was.
Of course as years went on, my parents got lazier and lazier with Christmas shopping. After about age 14 there were no presents to get a sneak peak at, as the wrapping was being done Christmas eve night.

dpworkin's avatar

@Sarcasm Your user name? I can’t imagine what you mean.

kevbo's avatar

Maybe it’s a teachable moment about giving and receiving gifts. That part of being a gracious receiver of gifts is recognizing that there is pleasure taken in the act of giving and allowing that pleasure room to take its course.

CMaz's avatar

@Sarcasm – I have found as WONDERFUL as Christmas is.

It is so much funner. When there are (little) kids to give presents to.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. I would put a Post it in the gift that says “iPod was spied on, got scared and ran here to X”. Then when he got there another Post it would say “too late, it is now X”, then when he got there he will be redirected and when he ran around for 15 minutes and got to the last Post it, it would say “go back and look under the tree” Where I would have slipped the iPod while he was off on a snipe hunt.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Give the cat or dog an empty box and wrapping paper to play with, then tell him that the pet ate the iPod. :-)

faye's avatar

Have a little Christmas cheer here! Why spoil xmas for such a trivial thing? He only spoiled his own surprise.

RocketSquid's avatar

Why even ask? I think you’ve got the perfect thing in mind! For those who say it ruins christmas cheer, I think making him squirm for a few minutes A week might be a bit long is right up there with putting the present in multiple boxes, more of a prank than a punishment. I think the plan brilliant as is.

Dr_C's avatar

As punishment i would show his SO baby pictures… specifically bath time pics. That’ll learn ‘em!

Snarp's avatar

@Dr_C My wife and I joke about doing that to our son, but really, I don’t get what the big deal is about naked baby pictures. 8th grade pictures, now that’s painful.

Dr_C's avatar

@Snarp see now that’s just cruel. I was going for funny. (however some people never had an awkward phase so you never know…).

also my mom showed my fiancee a bath time pic of mine. There’s just something a bit embarrasing about your SO seeing a picture of you with your penis hanging out in the presence of your mother. Some things need not be shared in a family environment. She can see it whenever she wants, I just don’t want my mother present when she does. Sexy time is private time.

Pandora's avatar

I would let it slide and next year I would just put some boxes with underwear and carefully hide the good stuff. He’ll be bummed till xmas and learn not to peek in the future.

csimme01's avatar

@Snarp RE: 8th Grade pictures..
and illegal in some states

HighShaman's avatar

Everyone appears to be more GENEROUS than I would be….

IF the gift had actually been UNwrapped; he would NOT receive it . I’d take it back and MAYBE he’d get one for his birthday….

IF the gift had NOT been unwrapped ; then I see NO harm and he’d go ahead and get it….

Blondesjon's avatar

I got caught peeking at five years old and spent that entire Christmas in my room, crying.

I turned out ok.


MissAusten's avatar

@Blondesjon Yes, but what were you peeking at? That’s crucial.

dpworkin's avatar

Prolly porn.

Blondesjon's avatar

It was a Pla-Doh Barber Shop. The Christmas tree was next to the sofa. I would crawl behind the sofa and pick little bits of wrapping paper off of the gift. I had managed to reveal the words Pla and Doh by the time Christmas arrived and when my dad was passing gifts around he noticed my deception.

Christmas 1976 was an ass whippin’ with the belt and confinement to my room.

I always think of it when I hear Bender say, “Smoke up, Johnny!” in The Breakfast Club.

Buttonstc's avatar


I am SOOOO hoping that there is at least one pet in that family.

That is a really really really GA

Plus, it has shades of the universal kid’s classic excuse of: “but the dog ate my homewok” :D

Very creative ! !

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, goodness. Just give it to him as you would have otherwise. I don’t see any point in making a fuss about it, much less punishment. He’s already taken away a little of your joy in it just because he was excited. Why on earth make it into a misery?

faye's avatar

My kids all peeked!! They were all sorry on their own because they had spoiled it for themselves. @Blondesjon were you specifically told not to peek? I don’t think the punishment fit the crime, poor little boy. Again 18 yrs old you are all adults, act like it.

faye's avatar

@Jeruba exactly

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Thanks, @Buttonstc :-)

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