Judging from the experience my daughter – and more specifically – my 11 year old grandson just had – I would have to say that changes have taken place but not necessarily for the better.
Today’s papers are filled with news accounts of “bullying”. There have been many deaths caused by bullying. In some instances parents have goaded their children to “bully” another student and seem to think it is funny. There was the young lady that thought she had a boyfriend because he told her nice things about herself. And then things turned nasty and she committed suicide. Turned out there was no “boyfriend” involved; rather, it was the mother of another female that “encouraged” the bullying. There is the case of the young male that had his sexual inclinations shown all over the internet. He, too, sadly, ended his own life.
What happened to Zac, my grandson, is not anywhere as grandiose as the above two cases. In fact, one could think that the entire happening was of a comical nature.
It seems that Zac went to a dance. And…he left the dance without saying “goodbye” to the girl he was dancing with. Duh! He’s only 11 years old. But the girl and her friends decided to toilet paper his house. They did, and left a note telling Zac why they papered the house. That was three days ago. My daughter and her husband cleaned up the mess.
Yesterday, my daughter heard voices outside her house at night and thought it was Zac and his father. She went outside to see why they were out there, and found the same girls toilet papering the house again. But…here is the rub…One of the girls mother’s had driven the girls to the house and was waiting while they did the job!!! The girls saw my daughter and they ran to the car that was idling at the curb. Since they were caught red-handed, the mom made the girls turn around and clean up the mess. Funny, she didn’t have them clean up the mess when they were not caught!
So…here is the question: Is it OK to drive pre-teens to a house and sit by while it is being toilet-papered? Sure, she knew where her kids were at night, but this doesn’t seem to me to be the behavior I would expect a mother to model for her daughter.
My daughter – and her sister – another one of my daughter’s, decided to ask their friends about this behavior.
In a way the answers were appalling – the expected and the unexpected.
For example, a woman said that “in Austin if you ask permission of the home owner to T/P a house you will not get in trouble.” Ask permission? Is she kidding? She also said it was an “honor” to have your house toilet papered.”
Someone else asked the question “Is it okay for a parent to drive their kids to someone’s house to vandalize it?” Her answer was the obvious one.
Others said that when they went to slumber parties – is that word even used anymore? – her Dad used to drive the girls in his truck to different houses to T/P. Her Dad had a good arm and could throw those rolls clear across the branches.
Others said that my daughter should have called the police; taken pictures of the girls and their mother for publication in the newspapers, etc. One comment was made that “ . . . if my Mom went with me to T/P a house it wouldn’t be fun!”
There were three comments that I find interesting: One said she would never let her kids T/P a house, but if her house was a “victim” she would think it was funny.”
Another said that “where I grew up, toilet papering was considered vandalism. It wasn’t cute or a friendly thing to do. Some would call it bullying and could be considered a hate crime. What does ‘contributing to the delinquency of a minor’ mean to the mother?”
The final comment that I want to quote was a mother who said:
“ . . this is no way to set an example and be a role model. This just smacks of parents trying to be their kids friends rather than their parents. When did it become OK to parents to encourage and facilitate their kids juvenile shenanigans? When did parents stop being adults and start acting like 12 year olds again along with their kids? How irresponsible can you be? Would the mom have made them clean it up if they had not been caught?”
And so, fellow OB Rag readers, is my dander up for nothing? Is it okay for parents to take their kids to houses to T/P them? Is this a form of bullying? Can it take an evil turn or should the person that had the house toilet papered be honored.
I’m curious as to what others think. I know where I stand.