TP-ing: Can we please stop this before my kids get to middle school?

TP-ing: Can we please stop this before my kids get to middle school? September 24, 2012

On Saturday and Sunday mornings as I drive through the neighborhood, I inevitably see a couple of homes and yards that have been artfully decorated with long white strands of toilet paper. Every time I drive past one of these homes, I think to myself about how annoyed I would be if I woke up on Saturday morning to find toilet paper all over my trees and bushes, and I inwardly groan! Our neighbors have a new 6th-grader, and just last weekend they spent 3 hot and sweaty hours getting the TP out of their yard, and this was with all 5 family members joining the effort! Apparently it is all in good fun, almost a rite of acceptance, just as it was when we were all in middle and high school, but now that I’m the parent I just think that I will be totally annoyed if and when it happens to us.

My friend told me that the new trend is to “chalk” someone’s driveway rather than TP their yard. This seems like such a great option – no mess, fun for all involved (as long as nothing rude or inappropriate is written or drawn!), no mess, more creative, and did I mention, no mess?! In some ways, the whole thing is one big mystery to me, but I know that it will do me no good to be a naive parent.

Those of you with older kids, have you dealt with the TP-ing issue, and if so, how have you handled it? Are kids really “chalking” driveways instead, and does this seem like a better option?

Again, nothing terribly profound this Monday morning πŸ™‚ I’ll get my act together and write about something more serious one of these days. For now, enlighten me on this very important topic, please πŸ™‚

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  • Kellie “Red”

    I agree that this is annoying. I think kids should use their time in a more productive manner than roaming the neighborhood in the evening hours and making trouble for other people. We don’t have this is our town, because we live in a more urban area and someone would call the police on teens acting in this manner. Unfortunately, the teens in our neighborhood would probably be doing more than just TP-ing houses…

  • JMB

    The only time I ever see TP-ing is the night before Halloween in my area and the entire town pretty much goes nuts. In a reverse of the norm, the more “popular” your kid is, the more the house will get hit. The football coaches usually offer up their homes to get hit, and then there’s a slew of letters to the editor in the town paper urging parents to keep their kids inside and CVS to band selling toilet paper the week before Halloween. It’s really the only time in my town that people trash each other’s homes with toilet paper I think what bothers me (more so than the tp) is when kids take people’s pumpkins and smash them in the street. To me, that’s just plain mean.

  • Bethany “B-mama”

    I have a different perspective on this one. I think TP’ing is a benign prank and a much better way for a teen to “get away with something” rather than spend his/her time boozing, partying, etc. I probably think this way because back in the day I was the goody-two shoes kid with straight A’s who loved to TP with my other goody-two shoe friends. We were really good kids and got such a kick out of our TP wars. It was good-natured fun and went both ways, so everybody was cleaning up TP at some point. I can even recall catching my TP’ers in the act and chasing them away–it was the best. Immature childhood fun!

  • B-Mama, I know it’s totally benign, I just think it’s so annoying for the parents! Do you think that the chalking thing is totally no fun at all? I agree with the need for kids to be able to take controlled risks, and I know that this is such a benign way for kids to get a thrill compared with what they could be doing…Still, it’s so messy, especially when you’ve got big tall trees and lots of rainy weather!

  • Emma

    I don’t think it’s benign, but it wasn’t the thing to do where I grew up. We were in an old suburb with huge trees, and it would have been really hard to get all the TP out of 50+ foot trees once launched up there. We rarely saw TP’d houses, around Halloween, and my parents let me know that they considered it incredibly insensitive and rude to do it. Who has 3 spare hours in a weekend to clean up their teen’s mess?? I guess if I were facing the possibility of getting TP’d, I’d let my kid know that I would expect him/her AND the TPers to clean it up, and maybe try to get in touch with the friends’ parents to get their support on the stance. I do think the chalking would be boring unless what was chalked was fairly offensive.

  • TPing was a fairly common occurrence in my area growing up. As teens, we usually saw it as a flattering badge of honor to be TP’d. The standard parent line in the neighborhood was that the teens had to pick it up themselves. I never saw parents picking up TP on the weekends, but I drove past plenty of friends doing it. Sometimes, if the offending parties were suspected, they were called the next day, and were asked to come help clean up as well. My parents had three children on multiple varsity sports teams and numerous school activities and knew that such attention was in our family’s future. They always seemed okay with such antics as long as the mess was cleaned up by the teens and offenders. My parents also made it very clear that there was a huge difference between TP as opposed to eggs or paintballs or spray paint, because those are truly destructive, and there are plenty of teens doing those things and worse to peers.

  • Katrina

    I love the idea of having my kids clean up the yard, but I know that I wouldn’t let my middle schooler get up on a ladder in my 50 year old trees πŸ™‚ it would be a huge effort!

  • Oh, right on! Ladders in trees and kids = bad combination πŸ™‚ But then, I wouldn’t want you or Mr. T up there either!!