9 tips to keep your bored school holiday kid from breaking the law for kicks.
There’s a saying: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” It's mostly meant as a caution: If we don’t stay
constructive, we end up being destructive. This is also true for some kids,
especially during longer holidays.
When kids are older, parents won’t necessarily spend the
entire holiday with them and as a result these children are sometimes left to
their own devices. Boredom, peer pressure and thrill-seeking may all influence
these children to act out in ways they’d normally avoid, sometimes even
breaking the law.
School break bandits
It’s a phenomenon noted by local police, who are aware
that petty crimes such as vandalism and graffiti increase during holiday
periods. Teens may be allowed out later and their movements may not be as
closely monitored by parents during holiday periods. They might be tempted to
be destructive just for kicks, but can also get themselves into much bigger
trouble, by breaking into cars or stealing from neighbours. Holidays present a
long time period with reduced supervision, so the risks of substance abuse and
experimentation may also increase.
9 tips for worried parents
Not all teens are would-be criminals, so don’t keep your kid
on lockdown until school starts, but do keep building on the parent-teen
relationship. Here are some tips for avoiding that dreadful feeling when the
police knock on your door to chat about your wild child:
1. Keep the curfew. Consider an appropriate time
for your child to be home and make sure they stick to it.
2. Even though it can be annoying, offer to drop
them off and pick them up at their friend’s houses or the mall to prevent them
wandering the streets. This will also ensure that they don’t get mugged or
targeted by real criminals.
3. Most teens have phones. Insist they keep the
phone charged, on at all times and that your kid is always contactable. If you
choose, you may even have an open-phone agreement, which allows you to check
their activity in terms of chats, searches or calls.
4. Join your neighbourhood watch or at least stay
in contact with them. Some neighbourhood watches have active social media
accounts where they share relevant information. A roving teen may be noticed
and monitored here. This can also be a great place to ensure that your teen isn’t
going to high-risk crime areas.
5. Give your child suggestions for things to do and
provide the resources to do it. Get creative with your kid! If you give your
child money, it’s not unreasonable to ask for receipts to make sure that the
milkshake they claim to have bought is not a can of spray paint!
6. Many businesses take on extra workers during the
holidays: Your over-16 child could learn what it is to work and earn some cash,
7. Get to know your child’s friends and preferably
their parents, too.
8. Make sure your child understands the value of
property, and that vandalism such as graffiti can cost money to repair. If your
child destroys someone’s property and you find out, make your child pay for it
by either performing chores or out of their own savings.
9. Keep an eye on your child for any signs of drug
or alcohol abuse or experimentation and make sure you keep chatting about these
Not all kids are bad or tempted to break the law during the
holidays, so with a little creativity, your kid can be kept busy and
What do your teens get up to during the holidays?