the difference between right and wrong

kidsParenting is never easy.  It is why there are so many books devoted to the subject, blogs, magazines, you name it.  You can have great kids but then have awkward situations.

Such is the case I heard of recently.

Someone I know has this utterly awkward situation to deal with.  Their kid had someone over to hang out and something got broken.  What got broken was a gift from a grandmother.  Headphones – something not particularly inexpensive.

So now what?  Do you think kids should take responsiblity for their actions after a point?  Do you think their parents should be told when they break something expensive belonging to your child?  Accidents happen, but where do you draw the line?

Apparently the kid who broke the headphones isn’t too interested in stepping up and replacing them and told the other kid NO he’s not replacing them and if he has a problem with that go to his parents. He is not even particularly sorry he broke something belonging to a friend.

Sign me once again the new Victorian.  Is everything so disposable in our society that it also affects personal accountability?

To me this isn’t necessarily the question of money or the object, it is the question of doing what is right.  After all if the kid who did the breaking of things said to his friend “hey man, I’m sorry. But look my parents can’t afford to replace them and I am going to get into soooo much trouble if they find out.” maybe I wouldn’t be wondering about this topic.  But because this kid is sort of cavalier and seemingly uncaring about breaking something that belongs to a friend, I have an issue with that.

If this happened to you, what would you do?  I have been thinking about it and personally I would go to the other kid’s mother at a minimum.  I would be honest with them and tell her it’s not about the money or the object it’s about the principle of it.  Accidents happen, and I’m sorry kids aren’t ever too young or too old to learn that it might be harder to own up to something but it’s better in the long run.

Maybe this kid breaks things with great regularity at other people’s houses.  Maybe when these things happen this is the kid’s M.O. and other parents are too embarrassed to bring this up to his parents. Or maybe the parents know and don’t want to deal.  You can dissect this a lot of ways.

It is indeed a sticky situation. Some say to this that you need to pick your battles, but I don’t see the issue that simplistically.  I think kids should be accountable for their actions, and even if they don’t replace what they broke, good lord it costs them nothing to apologize.  And it is the responsibility of that child’s parents to teach him that. That however in and of itself is another discussion.

Are you a parent?   What do you think?