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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Teens' parents' 134m repair bill
Image of a teenager
One out of every two teens has thrown a party
British parents are spending 134m every year repairing damage caused by their teenage children, according to research published on Thursday.

Most of the 500 parents asked by PCP Ltd for home insurer Zurich said their offspring had smashed windows, damaged cars or stained carpets and furniture.

One out of every two teens has thrown a party, and one out of every 10 failed to forewarn parents, the report says.

And six out of every 10 teen parties results in damage to houses or gardens.

One in every five parents said their offspring failed to confess when things had gone wrong, with a further two out of every three children blaming damage on their friends.

They can end up putting dents not only in their homes but also in their parents' wallets
Maria Donald
Zurich

Younger teens cause the most damage - one out of every two teenage perpetrators of household floods and fires is aged 13, according to the study.

Zurich spokeswoman Maria Donald said: "With the summer holidays upon us and exam results just round the corner, many of the nation's teenagers will be gearing up for a celebration.

"Most parents view teenage parties as a fact of life and rightly encourage their children to enjoy life to the fullest while they are young.

"But it is important to prepare for the possibility they can end up putting dents not only in their homes but also in their parents' wallets."

Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.


Your comments

Take up the rugs, hide the ornaments
Oliver, Northampton, UK
I look back with great fondness on my days of having parties when the parents were away, fortunately all passed without incident. Why? Damage control! Take up the rugs, hide the ornaments, cover the TV, make sure people vomit outside, etc etc. A bit of common sense helps no end.
Oliver, Northampton, UK

I remember my own teenaged parties. I was fortunate, in that my parents insisted on being in the house, but very kindly shut themselves in their bedroom after 8.30 pm! We had an unspoken agreement that we would not embarrass each other. Nothing ever got out of hand, because they were there, and because I was careful with who was invited, but we didn't feel watched.
Octavia, Sheffield, UK

If children are damaging their own homes at 13, is it any wonder that at 18 and 20 they are out on drunken binges damaging other people and themselves. This is all down to slack parenting and no discipline.
David Ball, Colchester, England

So many teen movies from the States inevitably show successful teen parties as an orgy of drinking, sex and destruction: the "American Pie" series, "10 Things I Hate About You" and countless others. Now our teens think this is the norm rather than fantasy. The irony is that these are the same kids who will expect their parents to fund their university education and buy them a house later in life. Perhaps we could have vandalism loans, just like student loans, which will pay for the damage they wreak and need to be repaid by them over the years.
Lesley, UK

I've had thousands of parties in my life so far (I'm only 18) but my friends know to respect my parents otherwise they won't be coming back. We've had a few accidents admittedly but because people have owned up and paid for the damage themselves it was no hassle. I was taught from a young age to respect people's property and that's how it's stayed. And my parents trust me.
Natalie, UK

My parties usually continue well into the next day
Martin, Leeds, UK
Being a 17 year old I'm one of the two teens that have thrown parties. My parents always know and always ensure that I have enough drink and food to throw a party for an army. My parties usually continue well into the next day and have around 25 people at them and yet nothing ever gets broken or smashed. Drinks get spilled but they always clean up. We're teenagers, let us live a bit!
Martin, Leeds, UK

For goodness sake - being young is about thrashing around in the world and finding your place in it. This is on the path to responsibility yes, but saying that 'carelessness' is unacceptable and should not be tolerated is ridiculous. Young people learn from their mistakes - if they are not allowed to make any, they never learn.
Katherine, London, UK

My student son had a party when my husband and I were on holiday last month. Apart from finding all our pictures in different places and red wine stains on the carpet you would never have known! He had told us he was having a party, but the handful of friends turned into quite a lot more, most of whom stayed the night.
Calypso, Oxford

I wonder how much damage "DIY disaster" dads can cause when armed with a pipe wrench and a drill? We're almost guaranteed to be wringing carpets out in my house if my father decides he's going to do a bit of "Handy Andy".
Neil Thompson, Northwich, Cheshire

As a teenager (17), one of my friends decided to throw a party at her parent's hotel whilst they were on holiday. She actually leafleted the town to get more people to come. Unsurprisingly, the place got completely trashed - furniture thrown in the pool, windows and doors broken, laundry ripped and all the alcohol consumed. My friend suffered a broken arm as she helped trash her parents business, but told her parents that people had gatecrashed the party. They believed her, even though she had almost bankrupted them.
Ruth, Bristol, UK

Why should we accept that teenage enjoyment equates to causing damage? Whilst having fun is to be encouraged, teenagers must also be taught responsibility. Carelessness, drunken behaviour (at such a young age) and wanton vandalism are unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Why should all other insurance policy holders be expected to pick up the costs in higher premiums?
Paul, Lelystad, The Netherlands




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