I think there’s a pretty clear difference between doing crazy shit when you’re a teenager, especially with hormones, love (or what you think is love, certainly an extremely strong emotion), sex, alcohol, drugs and so on involved, and “spending £700 on worthless cosmetic tat shit in an in-game shop which barely has £700 of stuff in it*”. I mean to me there is. Both are entirely different mindsets.
What you’re describing is about being young, free, and bold, maybe a bit rebellious.
What that kid did, and what his dad enabled, is being a greedy little twat who knowingly steals then blames others for his greedy twat-ness (the pair of them are doing that actually). It’s doing what you feel you should do, not hurting anyone else, vs mens rea thievin’.
I can say I definitely never stole from my parents, or spent money that wasn’t mine to spend, that I hadn’t been authorized to spend. I think the worst I managed was to run the phone bill significantly higher than expected one month due to primitive internet charges (which was actually kind of complicated when we tried to work it out, because I’d spent almost as long on the month before and been charged a much more sensible amount - that wasn’t knowingly spending money on tat).
Now to be clear I don’t think the kid needs to be “punished” in some kind of terribly mean way (that stuff just makes kids bitter) but I do think he needs to feel the consequences of his actions. His dad is clearly the sort of guy who spends a lot of cash on him, so skipping 1 birthday and 1 Xmas to cover that £700 seems pretty reasonable to me.
I know REAL parents who did precisely that to their also-12 kid who spent £200 on FIFA characters. But neither of them cried about how unfair the setup was or how their bank should have stopped it, and the kid acknowledged that he knew what he was doing was wrong. So they skipped him getting anything for his birthday that year (still cake and stuff, just no presents from them), given he’d effectively got his present early in the form of overpriced FIFA characters. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me. Do you think they’re bad parents? To me that seemed exemplary.
- = Hyperbole but you know what I mean. I seriously doubt there’s any way to even wear £700 of stuff at once.