Dealing With A Troubled Teen: How Parents Can Cope With Teen Vandalism

By Subodh / September 30, 2013

If your adolescent child is spending a lot of his time with his friends, breaking your neighbor’s windows, breaking into school after hours, and misplacing traffic signs, it is sign that your teen has a behavioral problem. Teenagers, who engage in such behaviors, are often viewed as troubled teens with vandalism problems. Your troubled youth focuses on destroying public property simply because he finds it funny or because he wants to cause problems for other people.

As a parent, you need to recognize these signs for what they are- signs of a troubled teenager crying for help. Do not disregard these acts as childish pranks which your youth will grow out of. Remember that vandalism is a crime and if your teenager gets caught, he will face serious legal problems. With that said, the first step to coping with teen vandalism is to make your adolescent child understand what vandalism is as well as its legal ramifications.

teen vandalism

Vandalism: When A Childish Prank Turns To A Crime

According to the US Department of Justice, vandalism is the intentional or malicious destruction or defacement of any public or private property without the permission of the owner. This is a criminal act which may result to legal charges ranging from class 2 misdemeanor to felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. This behavior includes a wide assortment of acts, including:

  • Keying cars
  • Painting graffiti on private or public buildings, walls, sidewalks, or other structures
  • Egging property or vehicles
  • Slashing tires
  • Breaking windows
  • Trashing school property or vacant buildings
  • Smashing mailboxes
  • Stealing or misplacing street signs

Destruction of private or public property is clearly wrong; however, in the mind of a juvenile it may seem funny and rebellious. What many youth fail to understand is that if they engage in this kind of behavior, they will face serious consequences, such as limited college admission opportunities, scholarships, or future employment. If your child is involved in such acts, you might want to get to know who he is hanging out with. These inappropriate behaviors are often influenced by peer pressure.

Coping With Teen Vandalism

Your adolescent child must understand that vandalism can lead to negative consequences and serious legal ramifications. As a parent, you need to make him understand why vandalism is a crime and prevent them from committing the criminal offense in the future. As a tip, you must discipline your child to demonstrate that his behavior is not acceptable. For instance, taking away his driving privileges, his play station, or other privileges is one of your options.

Make Him Apologize For His Actions: If your teenager vandalized a property, you should make him write an apology letter. It is also a good idea to make him go to the victim and apologize for his mistakes personally. Putting a face with the victim’s name can help teach your teenager that he has truly hurt another individual.

Make Him Pay For The Damages: Another way to cope with teen vandalism is to tell your teen to pay for the damages he has inflicted. Your teen can work and save money to pay for the damages. This may seem like a harsh punishment; however, this can teach your young one to take responsibility for his actions and to make things right again after committing mistakes.

Perform Community Service: Your adolescent child may also offer his services to repair the damage he inflicted upon an equipment or property. For instance, if he broke a store window, he can work for the business establishment without getting paid. This option can help him respect other people’s property as well as his victims. It is also a great way to make him understand the consequences of vandalism.

Despite committing a criminal offense, the law can still protect your juvenile. He has the right to a lawyer. Making use of this right can mean a huge difference in the outcome of his case. The main goal of the lawyer is to bring his client back on the right track and avoid a permanent criminal record.