Surprise! Your Child…
What you should do: Prepare your child for at least a slap on the wrist. The police take prank calls to 911 seriously. “We trace the calls, and an officer will show up and may give a stern lecture,” says Chris Schmidt, a police officer in New York City. Kids may also have to do community service, like picking up trash or cleaning graffiti.
Resist the urge to: Keep digging for an explanation when your 12-year-old says, “Eh, it seemed funny at the time.” Says Trosper, “The part of the brain that handles impulse control and, with it, the ability to weigh long-term consequences is not very developed in young adolescents.” There should be punishment at home, but excessive anger could make a preteen withdraw and be less open with you in the future.