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Parental Responsibility

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If society holds parents responsible when their children break laws, the children may never learn right from wrong. On the contrary, if a parent cannot be punished, they may not care as much about the way their children act or the ways in which they raise them. In some cities, parents can be fined if their child is caught doing something illegal. However, if those parents agree to attend parenting classes they can avoid the fine. This option makes the most sense to me because you really are getting the best of both worlds. The parents will be attending parenting classes to help them learn how to raise their children better, and then they will use what they learned on their children to make them grow up to be law­abiding citizens. If children today grow up thinking that it is okay to not follow the laws, I believe that as they get older they will keep the same mindset. Children need to be taught right from wrong from the beginning, no excuses. I am a firm believer that, most of the time, the way a child acts has something to do with the way they were raised or the people that influenced them while they were growing up. The problem starts with the parenting, and parents need to take action. If a child is raised knowing what is right and what is wrong, they will use their knowledge throughout their whole life and will eventually raise their children better, too. Children nowadays are proven to be more violent that in past generations.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, teens are now more likely to be victims of violent crimes than adults over twenty­five (Strategy). The first thing we need to know is the reason that kids are becoming more violent these days. Is it because of the way they were raised? Are children that were abused growing up more likely to become violent as they age? According to one child advocacy group, Love Our Children USA, “There is a definite correlation between domestic violence and child abuse. Growing up in a violent home can set patterns for children … patterns that can cause them to commit violence and abuse, and continue the cycle of violence and abuse.” (Growing up). This shows us that if children nowadays are being abused, they will grow up into a violent young adult. The cycle will keep on continuing with their children and eventually their grandchildren. If parents now know ways to guide and teach their children without becoming violent, the object of being responsible for their illegal actions becomes irrelevant. There would be no need for such laws because no one would be violent and children wouldn’t commit crimes. Of course, this would take many generations and is highly unlikely, but parents should still be taking steps to reduce the crime among their children and teens.

On a different note, the use of guns by teens has increased by twenty percent in the last fifteen years (Strategy). This should be alarming considering it should be harder for a child to find weapons than it would be for an adult who could easily go out and buy a weapon. Parents who don’t want their children to have access to guns should either not have them or keep them locked up where a child would not find them. There are many ways for parents to avoid having their children find guns or weapons. They should keep them in a safe or find a locked place to keep them that only the stable adults could know how to get to it if they needed to. Children will not be able to use them if they have no access to them. If parents would be held responsible for their child committing a crime with one of their guns, the adults would be more likely to do a better job of hiding them in a safe place. Also, juveniles are responsible for one third of all reported property crimes (Strategy). We want children to know from a young age that damaging property is not acceptable. All parents should feel responsibility for the way their children act or the things they say.

Children learn their actions and words from observing. If a child is correctly disciplined for swearing, they are less likely to do it again. If they are punished properly for swearing, they will be too afraid to do it again, or they will have to face another, maybe even worse consequence. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, parents held accountable for their children’s delinquent behavior are more likely to reinforce good behavior in youth (Strategy). If parents know that they could be facing a consequence because for something their child does, they will be more conscious of what their child is doing. They will also be more aware of where they would store weapons if they had any. For example, the gun issue. Parents will be sure that their children are being safe and smart, and not doing something that could possibly have them facing a fine or other punishments. Not only for the safety of their children, but also to protect themselves. Another source states that parental delinquency is usually the cause of juvenile delinquency (Parental Responsibility). If a child sees their parent smoking, they might think that it is okay for them to smoke, too. Or if the child sees their parent break into a house or steal something, they will be more likely to think that is okay for them to do.

Parents need to lead by example. Let your child know that doing such things is wrong, and then listen to yourself and don’t do them either. The source also states that parents who work more decrease the amount of supervision given to their children (Parental Responsibility). If children are left alone for long periods of time, they’ll eventually get bored and their minds will start to wander. Now, all US states allow parents to be sued. As a matter of fact, many states automatically hold parents financially responsible for all expenses associated with a second false bomb threat or call made by a child. (Parental Responsibility). This is smart because if a child did something like this once the parent should make sure the child knows that what they did is wrong and impose a proper punishment. If the child child still has not learned and does it again, it is the right thing to do to punish the parent for their bad parenting. Many states impose a prison term of up to eighteen months on parents and order payment of restitution to the victims if a child commits a crime. A prison term or fine may also be imposed if a child uses a gun owned by a parent to commit a crime. These can also be imposed if a child does not attend school or skips more than ten times (Parental Responsibility). I believe that these laws should be enforced. A parent should be forcing their children to go to school, even if they don’t want to.

Children are too young to decide what is right or wrong for them. They need parental guidance until they are old enough to make right choices for themselves. Once they are considered adults, it should all fall on them if they still choose to do something wrong. With the right parenting, children will be less likely to make such mistakes as adults. There is a law called the delinquency of a child/ child corruption law that almost every state has contributed to. It states that if a parent teaches, allows, or participates with a child in something illegal, the parent is held responsible (Parents’ Responsibility). This is strongly enforced because the parent would obviously know about the crime that their child is committing or they are helping them commit it. Even if a state decided to not hold parents responsible for all crimes, they would almost have to hold them fully responsible for crimes that they are teaching or helping with. In Maryland, parents may be forced to pay up to ten thousand dollars in restitution if their child is found guilty of a crime (Parents’ Responsibility). This may be going too far, considering that the state is taking money from parents and not giving the option to teach the children before fining them.

In Silverton, Oregon, parents can be fined up to one thousand dollars if their child is found carrying a gun, smoking cigarettes, or using illegal drugs (Strategy). On the plus side, parents who agree to parenting classes can avoid the fines. This is ideal because the parents will take the classes to get out of the fine, and then they will use what they learned from the classes to teach their children. In 1995, within two months of the law being put in place, seven parents were fined and many more registered for classes (Strategy). It shows the point that parents will try to avoid the fine because more signed up for classes than actually paid the fine. If a parent would be willing to pay a thousand dollars instead of taking a class, their parenting should be questioned because it shows that they don’t really care what their child does, and they would rather fork out the money that try to better their parenting skills and their child’s future. In thirty­three states, local judges can require parents to pay restitution for crimes committed by their children.

These crimes included the late night curfew, truancy, graffiti, gang enforcement, and gun laws. (Strategy). Someone should be paying for damages if their property is ruined or if they are hurt because of these or any crimes, but it could be debated as to whether the parent or the child should be paying this restitution. There are also penalties and possible arrest imposed for parents whose children violate city ordinances (Strategy). Parents should know where their child is at later hours if not at all times, and being fined for their child breaking the late night curfew would force parents to pay more attention to where their children are and what they are doing. In conclusion, holding parents responsible for their child’s actions is the best solution possible to the question as to whether we should hold them responsible or not. Of course, parents should have to attend parenting classes if their child has committed a crime. It should be up to the states then if also they want to fine the parents and how much they want to find them. With this in place, children will grow up to be better adults and raise better children, leaving our society as a better place.

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