Head of Household

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Head of Household, also abbreviated HOH, refers to a person who is the main authority figure in a household, entrusted with a leadership role.

In traditional societyEdit

Painting of a family game of checkers ("jeu des dames", c. 1803).

In traditional society, the HOH was typically the husband, father to the family's children.

The extent to which the HOH takes charge will naturally vary from one family to another. At one extreme, he will make all decisions, even day-to-day ones and at the other extreme he might simply be the one who resolves disputes and acts as beneficent judge. Most Heads of Household will have some position in between, normally controlling financial spending, making all major decisions but leaving most day-to-day matters in what he considers the most appropriate hands.

Whatever the level of control applied, the HOH's final decision is one that will be expected to be obeyed. He will normally use punishment where necessary, including corporal punishment.

This kind of relationship only works where the HOH takes full account of everyone's needs, often placing them above his own. His is a life of service to the people he is in charge of and at the same time he will normally command respect, devotion and servitude from them, depending on their individual relationship to him.

In parenting, it is not unusual for a mother to use the phrase "Wait till your father gets home", establishing the role of the father as the person in highest authority to decide upon punishments and potentially to administer them.

In D/s and DDEdit

"My husband exercising his right to punish me", by Susan Anne (2017).

In a D/s or domestic discipline (DD) relationship where the partners live together in a household (married or de facto), the dominant partner is typically the HOH. The HOH can be male or female.

The other partner is sometimes referred to as the Taken In Hand or TIH. This term has been popularized by a British website to refer specifically to the female partner in a relationship with a male HOH. This is also referred to as a Taken In Hand relationship and it is not necessarily a DD relationship.

See alsoEdit


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