Our 14-year-old is a great kid. No joke. He causes very little issues for us.
Lately though, he has simply turned reckless in his behavior at times. I have attributed this change to the fact that he has grown considerably over the past 2 years and is now tall and strong and thinks he can do just about anything physically. He doesn't often recognize his own strength or his own mortality (like many 14-year-olds).
He is constantly breaking things. When I see him doing something reckless, I tell him to be careful or not break this or hurt that. There have been several times in the past few months that I have told him not to break something and within minutes it was broken.
I know he isn't actually doing any of this on purpose, but when I warn him about his behavior, he either looks at me like I am an idiot or shrugs it off as if things would never go poorly for him.
That being said, last weekend the family went for a hike with the dog. We stopped in a creek where our son skipped two stones (3-4 inches in length) very closely to our dog's head. The second one literally skipped off the water first and flew right over the dog's head missing it by inches.
I looked at him and said "Don't hit the dog in the head with a rock!"
He looked at me like I was an idiot.
Two minutes later he drilled the dog directly in the eye. It was a terrible thing to witness (and in the moment) I yelled at him aggressively for it.
Since then, we have spent nearly $700 and just now confirmed that the dog is permanently blind in that eye and will most likely have to have the eye surgically removed (an additional $1500-2000).
I did have a talk with my son the next day (before we knew the full extent of the dog's injuries). I told him that we all know it was an accident, but he was acting recklessly again and actively putting the dog in danger by seeing how close he could come to its head (a very disrespectful behavior towards a dog we all love). Thus he is fully responsible for her injuries. I told him that if he drove recklessly with a car and killed someone, he could go to prison for that. He heard me and expressed honest regret for his actions.
My wife is a good mother and is very concerned how our son will take the news long term for hurting the dog that he loves. She didn't want him to accompany us to the vet because she was afraid it would be too traumatic for him.
I recognize his pain and guilt for what he has done, but I also want to make sure that this is a lesson learned.
How have others helped their children with similar behavior issues (recklessness, destructive) to recognize it as such and take it seriously?