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Kerri Reese Blog: Times Have Changed for Tee-Peeing

Better parenting equals better choices??

Let's flash back in time to when many of us were in high school.

These were the days before satellite television, cell phones, laptops and IPODs. What exactly did you and your friends do on any given weekend when you were bored? Chances are you found something to do, even if it maybe wasn't exactly legal or right. I am sure that partying was up there in the rankings along with participating in pranks of some sort.

And remember back to those times ... What happened if you got caught? Were you charged with a crime, perhaps a misdemeanor or felony? More often than not, the answer is no.

There were various interesting ways parents chose to handle things of this nature in the past. Today, it seems like everyone is cop happy. They want to call the police for everything and anything. When kids pull the same pranks they did as kids, they want them persecuted to the full extent of the law. They go the whole 9 yards calling the police, filing police reports and going even as far as to have it put on someones record.

What is wrong with people? Think back to your youth ... Can you imagine what might have happened if your own tee peeing incident resulted in such a serious manner? What impact would that have had on you today? Would you be the fine upstanding citizen that you are now?

We seriously need to stop and think before we start throwing serious charges at kids who did the same things we did in our youth. I will admit, I did it too! I tee peed several houses but back then the better question was who didn't?! I am not by any means condoning it but I think we need to find better solutions for punishment. Ones that have more serious consequences to them now, not permanently.

I mean come on, how would you feel if your house was tee peed and your call to the police ended up getting that kid denied from the college of his/her choice because of one bad choice? Now I know there will be people who shout that they should not have done it in the first place. Yes, you are right. However as kids, didn't we all make mistakes? And isn't this justice system already flooded with more serious crimes? Should we be wasting the justice system's valuable time over something that really just hurt your feelings and littered your yard yet did not do serious harm?

Maybe I am a little too lenient, but I really feel that tee peeing and things of this nature are rites of youth. To me it is flattering that kids would choose to spend their time and money on decorating my house in the creative fashion of tee peeing. Hey, they could be out doing drugs and getting into other more serious types of trouble so why get so bent out of shape. At least you know where they are and who they are with.

It seems that so many people want to waste the time of the police by filing charges and endless police reports on trivial things when they should leave them to be doing the more important work. Yes, if my house got tee peed or egged I would be upset. However, I would take it with a grain of salt. It is bound to happen to everyone at some point and it is how you handle it that sets the tone.

It boils down to choices ... Do you freak out and involve the police or choose to handle it the way we used to in the olden days? You get to the bottom of it and work with the parents to find acceptable solutions of punishment. Have the offenders come clean your yard or house. Or if you find out later, have them do community service or yard work to make up for their poor choice.

Call me old fashioned, but I think that pressing charges over a random egging or tee peeing is ridiculous. A more appropriate punishment is in order but involving the police is overkill. Leave them to do their work of finding and apprehending the real criminals. Then take a look in the mirror and ask yourself what the real reason is as to why you would call the police.

Is it more about pride than anything else? Maybe we need to stop and think a minute before jumping the gun and involving the police in every little thing that puts our nose out of joint. Find out who did it and why. With social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, it won't take long. Kids are bound to fess up whether on purpose or by accident. Then involve those who should be involved, the kids and their parents. Eliminate the police and do your job as parents. Come up with an acceptable punishment and hand it down. Make them accountable for their actions. If we do not do it now, who will? It is up to us to show them right from wrong and when they are found gulity, of handing out punishments that are fitting to the crime.

And for the record, yes, my house has been tee peed and by a bunch of high school girls who got caught because they couldn't stop giggling while they were doing it. What did we do? We caught them and had them clean up what mess was left. We didn't involve the police or their parents. We handled it ourselves and have not been tee peed since. Lesson learned? Maybe. Would I file charges? Absolutely not. Matters like this in my opinion are better handled when taken into your own hands. Have I ever told my kids it was all right to tee pee someone? Absolutely not. Have I told them that I did do it as a kid? Yes, I did. But, I did my job as a parent and explained to them that while it may have been fun at the time, the consequences were not fun at all. So they should stop and think about what might happen if they get caught. And, that today, with technology being so advanced compared to the 1980s, their chances of getting caught were extremely higher than mine had been.

So, we all need to stop and think as it always boils down to choices.  We need to step up as parents and teach our children to make better choices when they are bored. Punish them severely for things that deserve it ,like getting into a fight or bullying. Do not over react and punish them severely for something trivial otherwise what message are we sending? No one is perfect and it is a given that we will all make some poor choices. However, in instances like these, since we have been taught right from wrong, tee peeing and/or egging someone's house or car is definitely a bad choice that in today's society can have devastating consequences.

And it all comes back on us as parents. So instead of placing the blame on our children, maybe we need to turn that finger around and point it at ourselves for failing to teach them to make better choices.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kurt Wehrmeister April 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I suppose I would submit, Kerri, that more teens ARE making better choices...choosing a bonding ritual that doesn't involve making a mess out of a friend's front lawn.

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