MONEY MORAL DILEMMA:Should Walter's mum pay for Dennis the menace's temper tantrum?



  • Putting aside the obvious tendency to project a personality of our own choosing onto Dennis… as previously mentioned, Dennis is ultimately responsible for the consequences of his actions. Dennis' parents are both morally and legally responsible for Dennis and therefore obliged to ensure that the 'mess' he made gets 'cleaned up'. Though Walter's Mum was, as mentioned, 'in loco parentis' at the time of the incident and had a supervisory obligation, she is not presented as a professional childminder, so therefore is not legally obliged to share the financial burden. As I've heard it said 'Any fool can give birth, but it takes a genius to raise a healthy human being'. Her main concerns here would be relations with her neighbour, and the dilemma of knowing that her son has a ‘difficult’ friend.

    Dennis has to be made to face the ‘victim’ of his actions and apologise sincerely. This is best done by not over-dramatising and thereby locking Dennis into his shell with shame. At the same time the incident should not be played down. It might be an idea to allow Dennis some time to consider his actions and ‘offer’ him the chance suggest how he can make recompense. Future visits from Dennis to Walter would have to be conditional until he proved that he could control his temper.

    As a parent’s goal is to raise a healthy and functioning person into the world in which we live, Dennis has to learn to understand that when we do damage, we cost ourselves in more ways than one. It is not character building to have someone else foot the bill for us, we have to learn from our own mistakes. Aside from the financial drain on resources, he also risks becoming an outcast or scapegoat.

    He could be assigned chores to ‘pay off’ his debt, though not in such a way that he comes to associate the chores with punishment. I would attach the incentive of 'catching lessons' upon completion of the chores to deal with the initial issue, which is Dennis' ineptitude at catching and impatience with himself, which will, if not dealt with now, ultimately turn him into a self-loathing degenerate/criminal. He obviously needs some guidance in how to deal with his frustrations so also needs to be taught how to effectively ask for help. A child like Dennis needs to be treated with respect and care. He seems to already have a pretty low opinion of himself which is why it is up to those of us who can ‘catch’ to encourage those who have a little more difficulty with it. The broken window will long be forgotten, but what it symbolises is a call for attention to a child who is struggling with his own growth.
  • Estimator1 wrote: »
    Obviously, the size & cost of the replacement window should be considered, if it was (for example) a patio door costing £1000, I would try to get the neighbour to claim under their house insurance?
    Isn't that what house insurance is for?:confused:
    Err no That would mean that Dennis and or his parents can avoid their responsibilities and help hike up house price insurance for everyone else.
  • As someone who has been on the receiving end (twice) and has had to pay to replace my own windows, all I can say is that I hope some of my neighbours are reading this.
  • Dennis is the responsible party, so he should pay| His parents are responsible for him, therefore it's their duty to ensure fair restitution.
  • dennis' parents should pay up - he is the one criminally responsible if he is old enough as this was not an accident it was a wreckless act as although dennis may no have meant to smash anything he did willfully and wrecklessly throw the ball, therefore being negligent and resulting in criminal damage. (age of responsibility is 10/11)if the neighbours persued this then denniss parents could bargain to pay for damage in exchange for charges bbeing droppped. even still dennis needs to learn his lesson and this will nly come by being responsible in eyes of his parents ie them forking out.
  • glads69
    glads69 Posts: 8 Forumite
    Do you all seriously think that Dennis' parents should pay and nothing more? :mad:

    Assuming the mum in charge could do nothing more to stop this behaviour at the time, :confused: Dennis' parents should initially pay. Then they should make sure that Dennis works on chores until he has "repaid" every penny value of what his parents had to pay. The trick is to get Dennis to experience the true cost of his unchecked temper. Either he learns to control it or pay the consequences.

    If our kids are going to grow up taking responsibility then we must teach them how from an early age. Too many parents pay for the consequences of their kids' actions without making sure the kids "pay them back". :T
  • Clowance
    Clowance Posts: 1,841 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary I've been Money Tipped!
    Walters mum should pay to keep her neighbours sweet. I dont think Dennis' parents can be relied on to cough up (although they should), however Dennis would never be invited back to Walters house whether they pay or not.
  • But she should try to reclaim the money from Dennis's parents.
  • trejoy
    trejoy Posts: 74 Forumite
    Hang on a minute, why are children playing rounders in the garden with anything other than a sponge ball?
    The responsible! adult should have packed a picnic and taken them to the playing field.
    Walters mum pays and hopes Dennis`s parents are decent enough to accept responsibility, if they don`t, I wouldn`t invite him again.
  • Nicki24
    Nicki24 Posts: 165 Forumite
    Dennis's parents should pay however as someone mentioned above if Dennis's parents didnt pay up then Walters parents should probably pay as its definately not the neighbours fault. I agree that Dennis's parents should issue some form of punishment and he should have to do jobs until the cost of the window is paid off out of his pocket money...he will never learn if he never has to deal with the consequences of his actions.
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