There is a young boy that lives across the road from me that lives with his grandmother , I see his father on the odd occasion once or twice a year and I am pretty sure he has no imput in his life .
Of late there has been a police car visit the house at least twice a week , there have been car break ins a house that was recently sold and left vacant has had holes put in the plaster walls graffitied , the criminal activity is escalating . One of my neighbours is friends with a policeman from our local cop shop and as the boy is only 14 there is not much they can do so his advice was to beat the shit out of him but I don't think it is the most productive way to fix the situation .
Last night I was talking to another neighbour about a plan of action and we thought some kind of intervention , a big group of us front up tell him we will not tolerate the thefts and vandalism any longer he is to go back to school stick to the curfew the police placed on him , his accomplices are no longer welcome in the street , if he does not comply maybe then he would get a serious beating .
How should this situation be dealt with ? , is the threat of violence the only solution ? We always say that it takes a village to raise a child but how far do you go to put someone on the right path .

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At fourteen this kid is about to enter a stage of pre adulthood. The choices he makes will influence the person he becomes as a young adult. I'm guessing a group of people who he might not know that well threatening him might not be the best way. The only advice I can offer right now is that to get a person to agree to someone elses terms takes knowledge and understanding that people don't always exhibit.

I like the intervention idea. If you do it, speak with his grandmother first so she's not left in the dark. Even if she objects I would recommend going through with it anyway.

I don't think the threat of violence, even after the intervention, is the best course of action. Leave it in the hands of law enforcement. If he keeps doing what he's doing he'll have to learn the consequences that the law set out for him.

It sounds to me that he needs a strong, guiding force in his life, and his grandmother isn't (and can't) provide that. You and your neighbors can be his mentors and guide him back to the right side, in place of his father. Maybe that will set him straight. 

Out of curiosity, where are you from? 

D J I'm from Melbourne , Australia
My thoughts were to talk to the grandmother as well .

Who is this "we " that always says it takes a village? 

 Let me help you out;

  Put your hands on the kid, you go to jail. 

  hold an intervention and the kid just has something new to rebel against. 

 There is nothing you can do about it until he does something strong enough to have him incarcerated.

Somehow, I can only see that approach leading to even more strife. 

I does take a village, but as someone who works with teens, I know that confrontation won't work. If his grandmother is raising him, he probably harbors lots of resentment towards his parents, not to mention the grandparent who, in his mind, screwed up his parent. Someone needs to help him understand that people care about him, but do not approve of the choices he's making. Both grandma and the teen need some professional intervention, like a social worker or psychologist. Remember-- teens have underdeveloped brains. Support this family, don't threaten them. This approach might not succeed either, but it's worth a try.


It does not take a village. It takes two parents. 

 There is nothing functionally practical that can be done from outside of the family unit. 


 Unless of course the O.P. is considering adopting the boy. 

While that is the ideal, in this situation getting involved as a mentor/friend can have some impact. No guarantee, but a lot of kids without an ideal family have benefited from a family friend, relative, boy's and girl's club mentor, or other adult that was willing to stick around and be a role model.

It just can't be a one time thing. You have to be willing to get involved for the long term, even when the kid is being difficult or it seems to be going nowhere.

It just can't be a one time thing. You have to be willing to get involved for the long term, even when the kid is being difficult or it seems to be going nowhere.

Kinda what I was getting at. 

"We" , the people of my village .
The police were the ones that gave the advice to beat him senseless .

The kid probably deserves it.


think for a second, he's got no guidance from any blokes, his dad who's not around is clearly a dropkick who can't set an example (maybe he's already copped a ton of beatings in the home from his dad), and suddenly he gets the crap kicked out of him by all the other guys in the neighbourhood where he lives...what part of that scenario ends well for anyone?

No 14yr then dusts himself off and thinks they must be good guys and I better follow their good example. You'd think, screw those guys they just bashed me, it's war.

My younger brother went through the same thing when our dad left. It started with just a little bit of anger and getting in trouble in school but everyone just came down on him hard rather than working out what the problem was, it escelated. Schools, cops and other people in the area. He was singled out, targeted and as a young kid it gave him more to have to fight against and added to his anger and anxiety. It simply meant he was ready to fight.

He's never recovered from those years, the anger is just part of him now.

I don't know the answer, but bashing kids isn't it.

There'll be two different approaches depending on what the real question is that you're asking.

Do you and your neighbours want to help the young fella get back on track?

Are you just wanting to protect you stuff?


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