General Question

Wildfunsummer's avatar

I am doing a paper on arguing value, and i cannot think of a topic for the life of me, what are your honest opinions about parent accountability laws?

Asked by Wildfunsummer (14points) June 28th, 2009

Should parents be fined or put into jail because their child is bad? I have mixed feelings on this subject, depending on the child’s age, but i really need some opinions

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18 Answers

seekingwolf's avatar

As long as the kids are minors, then the parents have to be held accountable for what they do. It doesn’t matter how “mature” the kids seem, they have no say in what they do and cannot be held accountable. There has to be a line drawn sometime for “parental responsibility” and “self responsibility” and the line is here.

As parents, they have to watch the child and make sure that they don’t break any laws. I see nothing wrong with punishing the parents when the kid does something bad when it could have been prevented. (exception: kid has mental illness or something or sometime happened when the parents were not and could not be there (ie at school) – then it’s not the parent’s fault, and child should be punished/sent to an appropriate psychiatric place).

In my opinion, too many parents these days are irresponsible and expect society to raise their children. I think dual punishment would be beneficial because it would not only teach the child, but it would force the parents to develop some sense of accountability.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

We need a license to drive. We need a license to sell booze. We need a license to marry. We need a license to own a gun. We need a license to burn trash in the city. We need a license to own a business.

Which one of these things is more difficult that raising a child? Which one is more important?

You won’t be able to hold parents accountable for the actions of their children until we require a license for procreation.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Parents are accountable for damage their underage kids do to public property.

seekingwolf's avatar



Reminds me something my dad told me. He said he saw a movie (I don’t recall the name) and there were these 2 inner city guys talking to each other and one says “Man, you need a license to have a gun, you need a license to drive a car, you need one to get married too, but ANY dumb fuck can go out and have a baby.”

I don’t see this happening though. As much as I’d LOVE to make people get licenses before they unleash their offspring upon the world, it just won’t happen. You’ll have people screaming “it’s MY RIGHT to have kids no matter how SCREWED UP I am” and it would never fly in court, let alone the government.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Mommy drinks, Daddy cheats, Grandma smells funky, and Grandpa’s got his hands in little Johnny’s cookie jar. None of them are actually raising the child. Half of them are missing in action.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think that parents who are derelict in trying to raise children correctly should have consequences. It happens in some communities with truancy laws—the parents whose children don’t show up for school and be fined or jailed for not getting their children to school. That’s an easy one, because either the child shows up or doesn’t. There would have to be laws that spell out specific behaviors on the part of the student and consequences for the parent. Providing alcohol to minors would be another easy one.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


It could happen just like every other license requirement came about. It’s for the betterment of everyone in society… for the good of all.

Is it working in China? Debatable…

But it’s not too much to ask prospective parents to take a class or two about raising a child. Two hour investment towards the success of a twenty year project is not unreasonable. Fine those who have children accidentally until they take the class. You’ve got nine months to enroll before the fines begin. Daddy’s who disappear should not be imprisoned. They should receive a tattoo on their forehead with a great big A-S-S imprint so everyone can see.

wundayatta's avatar

In Philadelphia, parents can get slapped with a fine if their kids are on the street during certain school hours. The city also held a mandatory meeting for parents of chronic truants. Parents who failed to attend could have been fined or jailed. This Philadelphia school teacher believes that the laws requiring parents to make sure their kids attend school should be enforced much more strictly.

Parents have a great deal of responsibility for their children ethically, legally and socially. When parents won’t or can’t do a good job, they can be jailed or have their kids taken away from them. They need to protect their kids, care for them, and make sure they get to school. They need to make restitution when their kids harm other people or hurt their property.

Children are not considered to be responsible for their own behavior until they are sixteen, give or take a year or so. That is the age of consent in most states and countries in the world. In most states, you have to be over the age of 18 to be prosecuted as an adult for a crime, although, for some crimes you can be prosecuted as an adult when you are as young as 14.

Obviously, the age of acquisition of personal responsibility varies according to the person’s maturity. However, until the child become mature enough to be personally responsible, it seems like it is the parent’s responsibility to make sure their children don’t run amok in society. If the parents can’t do it, then the state can take over, and some say that’s punishment enough for the parents.

I think that the parents of children who get into trouble should be forced to attend and pass parenting classes, with the threat of jail if they fail to show up, or fail to pass. It’s far too easy to say that the kid is a “bad kid” and there’s nothing the parent can do. I think this is a copout in almost every case. I think that where children are mentally ill and being treated, their parents can not be held responsible. On the other end, where children are abused, the parents are obviously responsible, perhaps even up to the age of 18, or even 20.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


I wonder if I could get an insurance policy to cover me from the actions of my children against others. Why not…? An Adolescent Underwriter of sorts.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I do think parenting is a lot more difficult that people imagine it to be and I do think that many shouldn’t parent, ever, but in terms of requiring a license to procreate, who would be in charge of coming up with the ‘standards’? in terms of blaming parents for what the kids did – well it’s situation specific, both parties shold be punished somehow – minors can and do think for themselves, they should bear the consequences but if parents clearly allowed for the crime, they should, as well

wundayatta's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I’m not sure you are allowed to insure yourself against criminal activity. It’s considered a moral hazard—as in if you can insure against it, you are much more likely to commit a crime. We don’t generally want to encourage such behavior. Such insurance would lead to increased irresponsibility.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, you can increase your personal liability insurance on your car and homeowners, or take out a separate policy, in the event you are party to a civil suit because of the actions of a minor, or negligence on your part.

wundayatta's avatar

Still, can you get insurance to protect you if you’re sued over the crimes of someone you are responsible for? I know that boards of non-profits have insurance in case the organization get sued or they get sued for the actions or negligence of the organization.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You can get a general liability or umbrella policy to cover bodily injury or property damage. Your car insurance and homeowners policy usually has some general liability coverage, but you can get a separate policy, or increase coverage.

filmfann's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Wow, I read about 1/3 of the posts so far, and got to your statement about parents needing a license, and blew a gasket!
You want to let the government get involved with what you do, including raising a child? Can you imagine the government telling people “Sorry, you need to get off welfare”, or “You need to find a better job with health care” or “You need to improve your own education” or “You need to have a child friendly house and car before we allow you to have kids”
Raising your kids is an awesome responsablity, but I will be damned if I will ever agree to let ANYONE else tell me what to do, including the government.
I know you have good intentions, but your solution is scary.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Sure, it truly is a scary solution. The current situation is even more so. It’s easy to run down the negatives of what if’s about welfare, jobs, health care… and more. I understand your concerns, share them with you, and consider them valid.


I only suggested a couple of classes to weigh against a twenty year investment on a child. Better parenting is the main solution to fix the problems with our culture. And I must again ask why licenses are needed for other cultural pursuits that are not nearly as important.

We treat our children like trash. Throwing them to abortion clinics, orphanages, and video games. And after butchering them, society is showing signs of blaming them for our troubles… hence this question thread. The problem is not the children. The problem is not the youth. The problem is the parents, and like all other fiends, parents will do anything it takes to escape the responsibility of their choices and actions… even if it means backstabbing the kids.

Hold the parents accountable. Give them education and direction. Watch the world change for the better.

All of your suggested fears are beneficial to everyone… both parents and non parents alike.

”...get off welfare”
”...a better job with health care”
” improve your own education”
”...a child friendly house and car”

Fantastic goals for everyone… not just parents. A bit of caring can help bring it about.

filmfann's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Ya, then the government ends up choosing who they want to reward with children.
Racism will come into play.
Peoples dreams of being parents will be held up by bureaucrats with their own agenda.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


Peoples dreams ARE the problem. Don’t you understand that we don’t really live in the wonderland that Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald built for us.

Barbie turned out to be a drug addict and G.I. Joe burns infants behind the coconut tree. When something is broken, it needs to be fixed… Otherwise we all perish upon the rusty roller coaster. Our culture is broken because people are dreaming and they really need to wake up.

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