Friday, October 29, 2010

Teenagers These Days

Barbara: I read this appalling article the other day about a family who came home to their house after a two-week holiday only to find that it had been invaded by a group of teens and used as a party-pad for several days. The kids had destroyed and vandalized the whole house, drinking all the booze and leaving the telltale signs of their sexual escapades in virtually every room. The worst news: the group of teens was known to the family, friends of one of the daughters, each of them receivers of much family favour, from carpooling to pizza-hosting. Apparently, the daughter’s keys had been stolen from her purse and, knowing the family was going to be away, this group of hooligans broke in and wreaked havoc. Oh wait, it gets even worse: despite knowing the names of each kid (the idjits signed their names in a coffee-table book), the police couldn’t press charges because it was too difficult to confirm who had done what. And it’s too expensive for the parents to take any of them to court for nebulous pay-off. And wait, there’s even more: the parents of the kids, despite the fact that the police told them in explicit detail what went down, did absolutely NOTHING. No repercussions (as far as we know) for their children’s heinous actions. And okay, there’s even worse: the teen daughter whose ex-friends perpetrated these crimes? Have all shunned the daughter. Starting a landslide shift away from her at school. She’s the pariah.

Read the article; it’s a fascinating peak into the ugly side of humanity in a horrific car wreck kind of way.

Thing is, I read this article the day I was hosting a houseful of teens myself. My daughter was celebrating her 17th birthday and had asked for a party and sleepover. Because she asks so rarely, my husband and I were happy to host it. I know a lot of her friends and I like them and trust them. But I have to say, the article put the little demon of doubt in my mind. After all, the events described above happened in my own city. Maybe not far from my own home. How could I not consider the possibility of mayhem in the wake of a houseful of teenagers?

But the party went ahead as planned and it was a resoundingly positive experience. Sure, there were a lot of them. And oh my god, the noise. Even the white noise of so many voices is disarming. Never mind the throbbing music, the laughter, the shrieks of delight (no, I mean, SHRIEKS). But they were adorable. They knocked politely at our bedroom door as they arrived to say hello, adding that they hoped they weren’t being too obnoxious and thanking us profusely (oh, and exercising their newfound skills at ego-boosting: we were the kindest, sweetest, most forthcoming, best cooks, chillest peeps EVER). I mean, it was awesome! And when it was all over (the next morning really because several of them slept over), they cleaned the house and proffered more profuse thanks before they went their adorable merry ways.

Teens these days? Despite the above article, I think they get a tough rap. Sure, there are some bad apples. And their immature followers. But so so many of them are decent, wonderful, thoughtful beings. With a lot on their minds and in their hearts. Remember those days?

Deb: Oh, I do indeed remember those days, Barb. And trust me, we were wild and we could party! But we never ever would think of destroying our friends’ parents’ property in any way. I read that article too and thought, “Wow, was I a teen on another planet?”  We would get drunk, stoned, and silly but we were always careful and respectful of our friends’ homes. Even in the park we had a sense of “this is our neighbourhood” and we would not harm a blade of its grass. Okay, we would puke, sure, but that’s good for the soil. So it was so foreign to me when I read that article.

And yeah, Luke had a party here a month ago and same deal as Michele’s party. Respect, noise, drinking, loud noise, eating, drinking, noise ... and respect.  WAY more good teens than bad on this earth. Not news though, right? 


  1. Never really had a huge party when my paretns were not home. I have had friends come over and sometimes things get out of control but we have never tore up the place that bad at least.I think that the worst thing that my parents have a problem with when my friends are over is when we leave things out on the table or there are things on the floor. We did other things that I am sure my parents didn't like buy hey at least we leaned up after.

  2. I hope they weren't drinking alcohol because my state California can throw the parents in jail if kids/patrons leave a party drunk and then get in an accident on the way home (just as a bar here can get prosecuted). Sad state of affairs when the parents do nothing. I would figure out a way to make the parents of the kids (those they know were there) pay for the damages. It is trespassing at the very least.

  3. At the site of this article, there are now over 100 comments in response. Several people discuss ways these homeowners can get some kind of restitution. Maybe justice will prevail in the end...

  4. Once my teen daughter asked to have a New Years party at our home, but I had previous plans and couldn't be home until about 10:30. I was wary, but I liked my daughter's friends and trusted my daughter.
    I'll never forget as I drove up at 10:30 that night and heard raucous screams and shouts. I rushed up to stairs to find....a bunch of teenagers playing a board called Outburst, laughing and screaming out answers.
    Teens these days.

  5. When I was a teen and dabbling in all things debaucherous (is that a word - if not it should be) my parents knew what I had been up to before I even walked in the door. And that's in the good ol' days before voicemail, internet, FB, email.....

  6. Hysterical, Hollye! Tannis, I love "debaucherous". We'll add it to our list of glorious words that ought to be. Yeah, parents of yore -- they truly had eyes in the backs of their heads...

  7. Now that I have got my own place,I have come to relize that if I am going to have friends over or have people over that cause a lot of noise (me included)than I need to have it at my own place and not a my parents place. Like I said,we do not mess up anything that often but we do tend to get very loud so I know if I have a party at my place than I can make as much noise as I want and not have to worry about making to much noise or messing up anything. That way my parents don't have to worry and I don't have to worry as well.

  8. I'm not a party gal, so no stories there, but this DOES remind me of just last night... I'm on the Campus Activities Board and we hosted a Homecoming dance--Alice in Wonderland themed. About an hour or so before the dance was over we were forced to start taking down the decorations and bringing them back to the office because people were STEALING the pink flamingos we had out front, the flowers that were the centerpieces on the tables, and when we started moving some of the balloon decorations a group of boys "claimed" they thought we were just random students taking them so they grabbed and RAN with an ENTIRE BALLOON ARCH. We are all 18+ years old and I just wanted to bring every single person back and ask if their parents taught them NOTHING. The girl in charge of the dance even caught one of the girls taking flowers, and the girl first LIED to her face, but when she called her out on the lie, she refused to give them back, saying, "I'll only give you one." When she took three. The nerve! [/rant]

    Ahem. Anyways.. that poor family. Especially the girl. I'm so amazed at the way people can treat their so-called "friends." *shakes head*

  9. Kassy, that's well-deserving of a rant and a half. I hope you still managed to have fun at your Homecoming!

    Lyndsie, I'm sure your parents very much appreciate your good manners! :)

  10. OH, ugh!!!

    As someone who had to call 911 two weeks ago from the public library because 2 boys (maybe 12? 13? years old) had shoved/punched the small, elderly librarian because she told them it was time for them to get off of one of the computers, nothing about that article surprises me.

    FWIW, one of my biggest regrets in life is that I DON'T have a misspent youth. I was such an uptight goodgirl in highschool and college (although, slightly less so in college). Now that I'm trapped in being all responsible and conscientious as a single mom in my 30's, I regret that I never got to sow my wild oats. I sincerely do. But, I would've never trashed someone's house. (Although, I have TP'd a couple.)

  11. Rigel, I remember that story about the boys. So sad.

    As for your lack of a misspent youth, there's always an adulthood you can misspend (which needn't require destruction of property or others' feelings). Just sayin'...

  12. Kiddo graduates in 6 years and 7 months. Not that I'm counting or anything...

  13. 1/15/2012:

    Commenting here only to say that, in addition to having her vacation home ransacked, a co-worker of mine also had the house burned to the ground by the group of neighbor kids, whom she knew.


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