HICKS: Parents let teens do stupid things

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If my daughter ever were in a situation that included free transportation from law enforcement, I would wrap the host family’s home in a figurative roll of evidence tape and call it off limits. It is, after all, a crime scene.

Confronting other parents is always a dicey option. In circumstances like these, you’d hope that the parents would reach out to you and apologize that such behavior took place at their home. That’s pretty old school, though, and doesn’t happen much these days.

So yes, avoidance is smart, but this situation also would call for a strong and consistent response on your part to the one person who matters most: your daughter.

Behaviors have consequences, after all, and the erosion of parental responsibility takes time to repair. It can be rebuilt, but only with a Reaganesque strategy: trust but verify. A teen who trips up must have chances to demonstrate that she has learned her lesson. But that means accepting a level of parental supervision that permits ease of mind for Mom and Dad.

Have a question about parenting in today’s culture? Email marybeth@marybethhicks.com.

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