Off-road bikes, fires and more: Parents need to get a grip on their unruly teenagers – Hayley Matthews

Vandalism and antisocial behaviour seem to be going through the roof just now. That’s just my observation, I haven't looked at any stats, I just notice it everywhere. Fires, off-road bikes, drinking and smashing stuff – all of it, all over the place.
Parents need to teach their children to respect othersParents need to teach their children to respect others
Parents need to teach their children to respect others

I know we blame lockdown for a lot however, I don't think this is all to do with that. I mean, sure it will have played a part in raising boredom amongst teenagers and pre-teens.

However, by the age of five most kids can clearly tell the difference between right and wrong. So what excuse do the teenagers have, if any?

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Yet another fire filled the air with smoke during the week as a group of teenagers fuelled it with their temper and aggression at the back of Baronscourt Park.

It's so sad to see kids take their frustrations out this way. I asked a young girl walking her dog if she could call for the fire brigade as it was in a wild garden area made to help the local population of bees and insects. It was really gaining momentum and growing rapidly, leaving us all a bit worried.

As we waited and chatted, the grey smoke swirled about in the air above as it got darker and thicker. The girl said she wanted to join the fire brigade or the police and mentioned how one of the most popular calls the fire brigade get is to attend a bin fire.

As we stood watching in dismay at how quickly the fire took hold of the wild space behind the Royal High Primary School, my partner decided to go and check it out.

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He was met by the unruly crowd and, in no uncertain terms, told to F-off as they swore more and hurled abuse at him. They shouted that they had lots of gas canisters on the fire and it was their fire and could do what they wanted. My kids were getting upset so he just left them alone and we all waited on the fire brigade to arrive.

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As soon as the the new-naws arrived the kids all scarpered, showing their true colours. They're all a bunch of bored cowards.

My youngest was delighted that he got to see a real fire engine up close, he also loved seeing the water skooshing the fire out up close. However, I wonder just how much time is wasted for the fire service.

The police get it too as I've seen them come out for off-road bikers screaming about ripping up the grass and driving all over the place when people are out walking their dogs, and not to mention the issues on Portobello Beach caused by unruly teenagers. These groups "having a laugh" is at everyone else's expense.

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But back to my point about lockdown. These kids were all bored and unruly well before Covid boredom struck so what's the problem and how do we sort it? I believe a bit of education about how wasteful of a precious resource it is would help. I also think we should take a leaf out or Poland's books and charge for a false call-out.

But ultimately, it's our responsibility as parents to educate our kids to be respectful people and mindful of our surroundings.

Get your kids and pre-teens in clubs, keep them busy, show them respect and they'll respect others. Ultimately, it's our fault these things are happening.

So control your teenagers please! This is getting awful now and it's ruining the fun for everyone!

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