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



  • nej
    nej Posts: 1,526 Forumite
    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.

    I wouldn't say that - it wrecked the window!

    Sorry.... :rotfl:
  • I certainly don't think that the neighbour should have to claim on his house insurance as it would increase his premiums for years to come and wasn't his fault. If he did try to claim the insurance company might insist that it is reported to the police as an act of vandalism anyway - this could work out to be a good thing as it might give Denis a fright and make him curb his temper in future. Debis should pay, via his parents, whatever the cost.
  • Children today are spoilt and have very little respect for anyone else but themselves but its todays parents to blame....
    As a child i worked during the scholl hols to earn pocket money and it taught me a valuable lesson in that you have to save up for what you want.
    Consequently i have never been in debt...
    Make the little toe-rag earn the money to pay for his damages.
  • Dennis should be charged with criminal damage, go to youth court and face the consequences, whatever they deem fit. why should his parents or his friends mum pay
  • If not Walters mum then Denis's Mum should be paying for the damage. Possibly household insurance would cover the cost?
  • i think dennis and walter's parents should split the cost, and walter should go to dennis's house, so if dennis breaks anything else, at least it's in his own home
  • Criminal responsibily might not apply here: we haven't been told Dennis' age. If he's under 10 under English law or 8 in Scotland, he cannot be charged with a criminal offence. In Scotland, even if he is over 8, the matter would still almost certainly be dealt with by the Children's Panel if it were reported to the police. To do so would put Walter in a very difficult position though: if he's asked to give a statement, he's likely to feel very guilty, whether he lies and claims it was a completely innocent accident to protect his friend, or tells the truth (which would presumably coroborate his mum's account of events) thus dropping Dennis in it (even though it's Dennis' own fault, Walter will feel partly responsible if he "tells on" Dennis).
    Though he may not be old enough to be legally responsible, if Dennis is old enough to go to his friend's house unchaperoned then he is old enough to take some responsibility for his actions. It should be made clear to him that he must pay for the window. If it is very expensive and an insurance claim is appropriate, then Dennis should pay for the insurance excess and no-claims loss. His mother (and/or father) should go with him to the neighbour's house to see him apologise. He should then have money deducted fromhis pocket money to pay for the damage, and if that's insufficient, he should be given chores.
    In the meantime, the two mothers need to decide between them how to divide the bill, since it would be unreasonable to ask the neighbour to wait perhaps a year or two until Dennis has paid his debt. Under normal circumstances, I would say that the parents of a child who causes malicious damage should pay regardless of who is supervising the child at the time. However, as trejoy pointed out, it was somewhat irresponsible to allow a game of rounders in the garden: it could easily have resulted in accidental window damage, for which Walter's mother would be responsible.
    Since Dennis' mother will be reclaiming the money from Dennis it's probably best if she foots the bill in the short term, though depending on their financial circumstances a 50/50 split with Dennis' mother later repaying Walter's mum's half may be easier. Whatever arrangement is agreed, they should keep discussions amicable for the childrens' sake.
    I don't think it would be helpful to stop Dennis from seeing Walter: this would effectively punish both boys when Walter is innocent, ad if Walter is a well-adjusted child then his influence could be beneficial to Dennis. Separating him from his best friend is not likely to help Dennis' behavioural problems.
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