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This is an excellent example where VSD should enter the frey. I suspect that there are a number of ways this might be handled. Lets examine a few:
1. The kid did the deed, some might actually attack the child out of anger. Obviously, this is not a good choice.
2. Some might rightfully assume the parents are responsible for their minor children and attack the parent who did not respond in an acceptable manner. This is not a good choice either.
3. Gary walked away and will feel the afteraffects of being ridiculed and not being able to retaliate. A choice many of us would probably take when something like this happens unexpectedly.
4. I probably wouldn't have thought about this at the time, but wouldn't a great response be to calmly walk up to the parent and ask where to send the bill for the ding and scratch the snowball made when it hit my car! I don't know about your car, but mine has a number of dings and scratches that could be used. I'd also claim to have a witness to the insident (even if I didn't) to shake up the parents.
Small claim court would be an inconvenience I would most certainly take in such a situation. Again, this is an action I'd now consider if something like that ever happened and the parent acted like a jerk.
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In The Dojo Rountable Forum thread titled Invasion of Privacy, Gary Khoury mentions a confrontation he had where he confronts a parent concerning a mischievous juvenile who is throwing snowballs at cars. The parent is not willing to reprimand his child. And alternately tells Gary to mind his own business.
A parent who is being confronted because of behavioral problems with a child, may become defensive assuming that the confronter is placing the blame for the child's behavior on the parent. It is easy to see that this conversation could get out of control as soon as it begins. It does not matter that the parent can't control his own child, what matters to the parent is that here is another person challenging the way that his child has been brought up.
The parent who takes no disciplinary actions concerning his child’s incorrect behavior is with out a doubt teaching the child that there are no paternal consequences to bad behavior when the law is not involved. I am sure that this parent would not act in this fashion if the police were confronting him. If the child was breaking a law, no parent could protect the child.
If this child was throwing snowballs at your car, and you stopped to confront him, would you be as tolerant as Gary was? I know I would not. Especially if the parent was going to let the child know that his actions were tolerated. The confrontation is now between you and the parent. The child was the anatagonizer in the beginning and now the altercation is between you and the parent. Two people who were minding their own business and now were brought together by a third party.
This becomes a no win situation. You want to see that the child is reprimanded for his actions and the parent wants to get you out of his face.
The only acceptable way to resolve the confrontation is to do exactly what Gary did. Walk away and argue no more.
It is too bad that we run into people like this jerk who should not have acted this way. I wonder if he would have acted different if Gary had damaged his car and threatened to bring forth a lawsuit.
What if you saw this kid throwing snowballs at other peoples cars? If you see someone doing an injustice to someone else, do you intervene? Would you try to resolve conflicts that are none of your business?
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Years ago when snow was common in this area, snowball fights as well as throwing snowballs at cars was not only common but was popular.
I guess in those days cars were made out of steel and often all a snowball did, even when it was laced with ice and rocks, against the side of a car was go thump and make the driver jump.
The cars of today can easily command a repair tag of $500 or more from one snowball hit which no longer makes it a game, but a serious attack against someone else's property and should not be condoned.
The problem gets much worst with the current practice of dropping rocks off bridges onto interstate traffic passing below.
There are a lot of junk parents around, and some of them are extremely rough to deal with; I've had encounters with them concerning my sons when they were little. There is nothing one can do except grin and bear it, or at least log who they are and stay away and report the atrocity to the police department and let them do the deed else you may be the recipient of unjust parental and/or kid vindictive retaliation.
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