Photo: Corbis Images
One North Carolina couple got more news than they anticipated when they sat down to watch their local TV broadcast on New Year’s Eve. The parents, who had recorded the program while out at church, spotted their 14-year-old and 16-year-old sons in surveillance footage burglarizing a store.
Nine different cameras caught the teens, who were supposed to be staying with an older sibling, busting into Fayetteville’s Tech Boyz shop with three others at 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 29 and allegedly robbing laptops, cell phones, and other merchandise.
Within hours of seeing the footage, the parents brought their kids down to the police station where the boys turned themselves in. Fayetteville Police tell Yahoo Parenting the 14- and 16-year-old were issued four charges (breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods, and conspiracy to commit breaking and entering) and will be processed through juvenile court because of their ages.
"To the [parents] who turned them in, thank you," Tech Boyz co-owner Jesse Hill told ABC11."I hate if it’s your kids, but thank you for doing the right thing." Hill’s message for the boys? "I hope you learned a lesson."
The entire family likely got an education through this experience, psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert tells Yahoo Parenting. “I can’t imagine it was an easy decision for the parents,” he says. “But they made a bold statement to their kids, and to their community, about doing the right thing.”
Going forward, trust will have to be repaired on both sides. “Teens may initially resent their parents, and ironically, perhaps not even trust them,” Alpert says. “The kids must remember that the parents did what they were legally obligated to do. Anything short of turning them in may have led to them facing their own charges.”
But before the parents can put faith in their sons again, some serious changes to the family dynamic are in order. “Trust problems exist between most teens and parents because they’re coming from different generations,” he explains. “The adults now need to be crystal clear about what they expect and get strict. They need to be more aware of who their kids are with, their whereabouts and establish some accountability.”
If the teens are first-time offenders, this experience could actually serve as a useful wake-up call. “Now is the time to really address underlying issues that led to this crime,” says Alpert, who advises getting to the root of the teens’ real problem. “Were they bored? Did they need the money? Were they funding a drug habit? Did they cave to peer pressure? Herein lies an opportunity for the parents and kids to work together toward healing and moving past this.”
“People are resilient,” the expert adds. “Teens, and parents, can make mistakes and they can bounce back.” What better focus for a brand new year?
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