Don’t be afraid to ask, 'where did you get that?'

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Please forgive me, but this week I’m leaping to boundaries and expectations after a few stories I’ve heard of lately.
I’m looking for feedback from parents and caregivers for situations that have others throwing their hands up in frustration.
Here’s the scenario: A teenage boy spends the night with friends and leaves his backpack behind the next morning. He returns to the same house later that afternoon, only to find his iPod gone.
The sad part is the boy spent his own money, $250 to be exact, to buy the electronic device, after many hours of work.
What is a parent to do? Being that you’re dealing with a teenager, you can no longer say, “Well I’ll just call his mother,” so how do you handle the situation?
I’m mainly interested in the adults on the other end of the spectrum.
Suppose your student is sporting a pretty, pricey possession they didn’t own the week before? Do you say something? Do you question its existence?
Do you become a little suspicious if they say a friend gave it to them?
The other two instances relayed to me are of a stolen bike and a stolen scooter. Someone has them that didn’t have them before, I wonder as adults if we have become complacent or too bothered to question our kids, or feel it isn’t our right to do so?
There are some anal retentive parents out there, myself included, that actually make their kids work for the “big ticket items.” Unless there’s a major holiday or a birthday, we’re just not that giving.
I also know of students that purposely damage cell phones because the insurance will replace it.
It worries me greatly that we’re allowing some youth to develop the wrong attitude about what one is entitled to.
I’m not necessarily sure what the answer is to the question. Perhaps it is just that sometimes kids have to earn things on their own.
Perhaps waiting for the gratification makes the receiving even better.
What I hope is that if you have a question, you ask it. The answer might not be the one you want to hear. The truth may be ugly but enforce a consequence, have them accept responsibility and then allow them to move on.
If nothing else, it will make the anal-retentive parents feel a little better.

Bernadette Lauritzen is the Assets In Action coordinator for Los Alamos. She would love to hear your feedback or ideas at 661-4846 or AssetsInAction @att.net