General Question

flo's avatar

Should the parents continue with the precedent they set with their child?

Asked by flo (7176 points ) January 30th, 2013

That is, doing a bad job of parenting, spoil the child rotten. Let’s say the child takes them to court as soon as they start parenting right? I know the court wouldn’t say because they have established a precedent or pattern of behavior and expectation they have to continue doing it wrong. So what does precedent mean?

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16 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

As with many terms used in court, the legal definition is whatever the court says it is, not the common sense definition that everyone else uses.

A legal precedent is based on previous rulings.

flo's avatar

Judges make mistakes too. Why do other judges have to follow his/her mistake?

njnyjobs's avatar

Parents should always strive to practice good parenting skills. A mistake in parenting or bad parenting skills previously demonstrated or exhibited to a child should be corrected and avoided in the future.. so, in this case, the preceding (bad) practice should not be continued.

flo's avatar

Judges sometimes decide x, y z just because that is what another judge did in the past, as ridiculous judgement as it was.

burntbonez's avatar

Precedent has to do with interpretation of laws. We do not have laws that govern every little aspect of parenting. So a lot of what parents do to or with their kids is not under the purview of the law.

As to judges—they can always be overturned by a higher court. Cases work their way up to the highest court in the land: the Supreme Court. Decisions made by the Supreme Court can not be overturned by anyone else. However, the Supreme Court can overturn itself at a later date. This is rare, but it does happen. Usually they don’t say the prior decision was wrong so much as that the interpretation of the prior decision needs changing. It’s subtle.

In any case, precedent generally means that current decisions will follow the precedent set in prior decisions. Except for the Supreme Court, all other courts must follow precedent. Only the Supreme Court can change things around. However, if a lower court changes things, people can argue that they didn’t follow the precedent all the way up to the Supreme Court.

There, a prior decision could be overturned. Thus law stays current. It is flexible. This can be frustrating for folks who want things to be decided and stay that way forever. But it is good for society, because it allows past wrongs to be corrected.

JLeslie's avatar

Are we talking about parenting or the American legal system? Parents can always change what they are doing to try and better their child’s life. Parents learn along the way.

Courts do overturn or disagree with old rulings, but judges usually are reluctant to do it, especially the lower courts, but it happens.

A family court judge is not going to reinforce bad parenting just because a parent has been doing it for the child’s entire life.

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flo's avatar

The OPwas satirical, I was trying to make the point why is there such a thing as precedent? Why would every judge not be to required to just look at the case in front of them and judge it’s own merit, why look at what other mistake of a judgement another judge had made?

burntbonez's avatar

There is precedent because we want consistency in the justice system, and consistency in parenting. Otherwise, every time you visit an issue, you might decide differently, for random reasons, with nothing in the past having any bearing on the present.

The only person who would do this would have grown up in a very chaotic environment. It would probably have been very violent. I think of Jerzy Kozinski’s “The Painted Bird,” as story you might want to read to get an idea of what it is like to live without precedent. I little hint: is is highly unpleasant.

flo's avatar

@burntbonez “consistency in the justice system, ....” Even if it is consistently bad/wrong? Out to lunch judges.

burntbonez's avatar

@flo The justice system should be self-correcting. So that bad decisions are overturned at the court of last resort. This is the could that needs to get it right. But if they get it wrong, it can still eventually be overturned. But no matter what, there should be consistency with the highest court, even it if is wrong, so people will be able to predict the consequences of their behavior.

If there is no consistency, even if it is a wrong consistency, then life become extremely chaotic and no trust is possible between anyone. Read the book I suggested to get a feel for that. Or hell, read “Lord of the Flies.” That’s all about the struggle to create a society when there is no consistent source of power or accepted model for social structure.

flo's avatar

@burntbonez I guess we are miscommunicating.

burntbonez's avatar

It’s quite possible. Believe me, I am doing my best to figure out what you are talking about. Apparently, I’m not doing well.

flo's avatar

Should I cross the street on a red light following the other people in front of me just for consistency?

burntbonez's avatar

Well, If I’m in a car waiting for you to cross, I hope not. But if there are no cars coming, and you’re hurrying to catch up with your crowd, I don’t see why not. Is there a point you are trying to make?

flo's avatar

Yes, but we are miscommunicating. So, maybe next time.

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