Teens can sometimes get into mischief that is harmless fun. Unfortunately, a game of truth or dare or a case of peer pressure can create mischief that has serious consequences. Egging a house, car or other objects could get your teen into trouble. Barring any legal action that a victim might take, it's up to you to help your teen see that harming someone else's property is wrong and that he needs to learn how to deal with similar peer pressure in the future.
Ask why your teen egged someone's house in the first place. It's important to know whether she was pressured into it by a group of friends or that she harbors ill-feelings toward the person whose house was egged. In either case, egging a house is a symptom of a bigger issue and one that you can work on together after restitution has been made.
Take your teen to the victim's home to admit what was done and to apologize. If the damage was done to public property, your teen should then apologize to the municipal department governing the property. The point is that your teen confesses and apologizes, taking responsibility for his actions.
Insist that your teen clean up the mess he made through his egging escapades, suggests counseling psychologist Mark Hutten on his Online Parenting Coach site. After eggs dry, they can peel away paint, so some of that cleanup might also include repainting. If your teen has the opportunity to clean up his mess, he'll see just how damaging his actions are, which will help him understand the problems with egging someone's property.
Punish your teen as you see fit. Ensure that the punishment fits the crime -- if your teen egged a house while hanging out with a certain group of friends, a grounding might be in order. Of course, it's up to you to decide if and how to levy punishment for the offense. Ask your teen what she thinks is appropriate punishment.
Help your teen face any criminal charges that might arise from egging a home. In some states, egging is seen as criminal mischief and can be charged, even for minors. While you certainly hope it never comes to criminal charges, you might find yourself supporting your teen through the criminal justice system.
Tips & Warnings
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of vandalism before he ever has the idea to egg a home or deface property. Explain that it could be a criminal offense and he could be in big trouble.
- Instill in your teen a respect for other people's belongings by asking him to pay for some of his own possessions and to take care of them. Whether it's clothing, sporting goods or technology, your teen should understand how to care for his own property and how to respect others' property as well, helping to prevent vandalism.
- Online Parenting Coach: Dealing With Teen Vandalism
- Discipline Without Distress: 135 Tools for Raising Caring, Responsible Children Without Time-Out, Spanking, Punishment, Or Bribery; Judy Arnall; p.344
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