Friday, May 29, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

This week I have twice been a victim of this title axiom crossing the line into criminal mischief. Honestly it could be girls as well because I have not caught the perpetrators. It could even be aliens or devilish spirits, but who else would egg your car other than mischievous teenage boys.

We live on a circle at the end of a dead end road. It is not a cul-de-sac but a circular drive lined with houses on either side. Since we have the imposing diamond shape No Outlet sign at the last intersection entering our neighborhood we don't have much traffic through our little slice of suburbia. Our drive way is at a 45 degree angle and our garage only holds one car. Add all that up to equal Daddy parks on the road.

This has never been a big deal. There is no traffic. My truck is 9 years old so it has reached that ripe old age when you put a vehicle out to pasture. The old gray Chevy is at home on the uncovered pavement.

That was until these hoodlums started ambushing the neighborhood with a couple of cartons of grade A's each night. It is a ritual that many young boys seem to fall into. For some reason property destruction is part of the passage into manhood. There are eggings, mail box destruction, and even outright theft of property.

I guess boys think this shows their fearless rejection of societies rules. Maybe it makes them look tough and cool because the scoff in the face of the consequences. I don't really know what psychological theory describes this behavior.

I do know that a certain amount of mischief is expected when raising boys. I myself was mischievous once upon a time, but I hope I can teach Braden the difference between a fun prank and destruction of property. I think the best way for kids to learn a respect for other people's property is for them to work for some of their own things. Braden will have a summer job as soon as it's appropriate. Then he can earn his own money. He can use his own money to buy something that he really wants. Then he will know the value of money. He will know the value of hard work. He will feel the pride that comes from earning something yourself.

Kids that know those things are far less likely to throw eggs at other peoples vehicles. Kids that learn these lessons at an early age are better adjusted to life as an adult. Don't get me wrong, I am not going to sell Braden into slave labor in South America. I have no intention of shortening his childhood. Even when he gets his first job he will be doing so only in the summer. He can have the other nine months to be an out of work kid.

Braden can have fun, and he certainly will get into trouble. No one is perfect, but being taught the right values certainly helps. Hopefully with the right parenting our response to Braden's pranks will only be reciting the old favorite. Boys will be boys.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

16 comments:

mannequin said...

Oh gawd. A couple of weeks ago there was an article in our local paper. It explained how four teenage boys had stole a goat from a mans yard and led him to his demise on a fifty foot cliff.
When questioned, the boys said they were bored, the X Box was broken.

Again, you made me think.
I am so sorry about the eggs :)

Mocha Dad said...

I'll admit that I have egged a few things as a teeneager, but my perspective is definitely different now that I'm an adult and a parent. Nothing irks me more than people vandalizing others' property.

PJ Mullen said...

You make an excellent point about working for the things you want. My parents taught me that same lesson. I wanted a car in the drive way so bad for when I got my license. My parents laid out the only way that was going to happen - get a job and save a certain amount of money so I could afford the insurance and put money down on the car, they would lend me the rest. It was a great lesson to learn, and my first car sat in my parents driveway two weeks before I got my license.

Super Mega Dad said...

Otter, you are so right on this. Having them work for what they want is a great idea. I already have my kids doing chores (picking up around the house, helping with laundry and trash) for a little bit of extra money that they can use to buy what they want. They sure do treat stuff THEY buy differently than what they are given.

Mama Nut said...

I love this! I actually blogged about something similar the other day, using the "boys will be boys" excuse... but my point was bullying.

I have a special needs son who gets bullied ALL the time. I think they are the kids that grow up to egg and vandilize property. Sometimes I have to put the blame on the parents. Where are they? Don't they care what their sons are out doing?

Drives me insane.

Great post!

Manic Mommy said...

I totally agree about giving them a work ethic. In fact, I would argue that a good manual labor summer job, such as working for a landscaper, would teach the double lesson of stay in school.

Jill said...

Sounds like Braden is going to be a great man when he grows up. He's lucky to have such an involved, loving father in his life.

About the boys and the egging... those boys definitely need to be taught to respect other people's property. I doubt they'll find it as funny when they grow up and somebody's done the same thing to them. :)

Daddy Files said...

Your mindset is the right one about Braden and jobs. I feel the exact same way.

I started working a summer job when I was 14 as a busboy/dishwasher in a little breakfast place on the weekends. When I was 16, my parents made a deal with me: I keep my grades up, keep working and pay for the monthly insurance and they'd buy me a car. Of course, they didn't tell me said car would be a 1983 Pontiac Parisienne that cost them $400 and cost me substantially more to gas up and insure, but I was appreciative nonetheless. And I guarded that car with my life because I paid to drive it.

I also totaled it a month later, but that's because I was driving like a 16-year-old asshole trying to impress my friends. THAT is boys will be boys.

Bella Daddy said...

Totally agreed...it starts with us, the parents. Teach them well, and they will respond in kind ;-)
Kudos my friend, and thanks for your kind words.

BTW, I egged a Pimps car when I was a teen...heh heh.

GreenJello said...

I make my kids pay for their own car insurance, and slowly wean them into paying for their toiletries, clothes and other items. It's not because I can't afford it, it's because they need to learn the value of money and how to wisely spend (and save) it.

WeaselMomma said...

I hope you didn't get any damage and just needed to wash it.

Colorado Dad said...

Good points on showing him the value of money. It seems like teenagers nowadays just turn to the nearest form of media for entertainment...as the late George Carlin said "What happened to just sitting in the yard with a stick?"

KWG said...

Boys will be stupid boys. I did stupid things as well as a teenager. One time me and my stupid friends egged another friend's house, early enough so his neighbor's watched us do it and say, "Oh, there goes Kevin and his friends egging Craig's house." My dad was a cop and the cops were called and we got popped. Not fun. If Bea dates any idiots like that, then I'm "crackin' skulls" (Breakfast Club homage).

The Devoted Dad said...

Hey Otter,
Right into the first paragraph- I was like ughhh. How frustrating. I understood minor pranks when I was a kid like t-p ing a friend on their birthday, or saran wrapping a mailbox of your friend, on their birthday!- all in the name of friendship and pranking, but property damage!?! I had a job as soon as I was able- and while I had one year around, I agree with your summers only thoughts and it teaching appreciation for property. Hope it all came off your truck. -Jason

Jason said...

wow, I grew up in the sticks so there was no-one to prank. But I totally hate seeing stuff like that happen. It makes you wonder what's going through these kids heads...Makes you almost wish that you had to be 18 to buy eggs, kinda like cigarettes because at that point you're still stupid, but you know what you are doing...

surprised mom said...

Boys will be boys? and now Girls will be girls? No excuse for property damage and I'm sorry your truck was egged. I hope it all came off. Braden is going to have a great set of values to follow and I doubt you'll have to deal with criminal mischief. I'm curious, if you catch the kids responsible, what will you do?