General Question

cornbird's avatar

Should a law be passed that parents should also be punished when their children commit crimes?

Asked by cornbird (1750points) January 6th, 2010

In society today I am sure that the amount of criminals out there is as a result of bad parenting. Should the crimes committed by teenagers should be blamed by the parents?

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22 Answers

HTDC's avatar

I wouldn’t support a law like that at all. It’s not always the parent’s fault that their kids do the things they do. I’d hate to see my mum or dad punished for something I did. That wouldn’t be fair at all. In fact I couldn’t think of anything worse.

Pandora's avatar

I wouldn’t see how it would help. The damage is already done if its from bad parenting. You can’t let the kid off the hook for his poor choices. He will just do it again.

cornbird's avatar

@HTDC But it would make you think alittle harder before you break the law right?

spiritual's avatar

That is a good question, and I absolutely believe that parents in certain circumstances should be held accountable for their children’s actions.
I have a bit of personal experience in this, when I was younger, a young boy stabbed my sister, I was fourteen, my sister was twelve, and the boy that commited the crime was nine. Needless to say it was a traumatic experience for my sister and I.
The boy concerned I don’t think realised the severity of what he’d done. As he was nine years old, he couldn’t be punished because the law stated that anyone under ten is not responsible for their actions. His mother actually bought him knives and army gear, so I feel that she was very responsible for this happening, by being an irresponsible mother. I think in that instance she should have been made accountable for her son’s behaviour as she directly influenced it.

john65pennington's avatar

Most states already have civil laws that cover your question.

cornbird's avatar

@spiritual Of course she was responsible.

Grisaille's avatar

Why start at the ass-end of the problem?

How about we reform the public school curriculum in an attempt to bring up the general intelligence level of all children? Give incentive to newlyweds to take parenting classes? Free college for single parents? I don’t understand how punishing parents rectifies any problem in any way.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

I’d have to say no, the parents shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of their children. Bad parenting aside, have you ever had any behavioral problems with your own kids and stressed yourself out trying to come up with a viable resolution? It happens all the time. Sometimes there just isn’t a good way to punish the child without also limiting their personal growth, their abilities and their future achievements. On the other hand, if that parent is helping plan a heist or inciting the child into criminal pastimes, there should indeed be civil and criminal penalties, but today’s parents face enough financial and societal hurdles without punishing them for not being perfect parents. The idea of punishing the parents for the crimes of the child lends itself well to possible future abuses and political neglect by our already overloaded and inequitable criminal justice system and any companies or individuals who would profit directly from such legislation.

FlipFlap's avatar

Believe it or not, there are people out there who are just bad, no matter what their upbringing or what they were taught. It’s just who they are. Saying parents should be punished for their children’s crimes is like saying that elected officials should be punished for crimes happening in their jurisdictions. It’s not a way to accomplish anything desirable.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Absolutely not. If I commit a crime, it’s not my parents fault. It’s mine.

Bagardbilla's avatar

In free society, personal responsibility should always supercede. Having said that, society cannot hold parents responsible unless it also removes laws absolving them of any societial interpretations of wrongdoing when they do dicipline their children in a manner they see fit.
And if so, why only hold parents responsible while they are underage? Why not forever? Or at leaset on a graduated scale?

Cotton101's avatar

@john65pennington Vicarious liability is a civil action in most states! Parental liability is the term used to refer to a parent’s obligation to pay for damage done by negligent, intentional, or criminal acts of that parent’s child. In most states, parents are responsible for all malicious or willful property damage done by their children.

janbb's avatar

I think the question is unanswerable unless we talk about the age of the child. Should a parent be responsible for the crimes and misdemeanors of a four year old? Probably. For a seventeen year old? Probably not. We have to decide when an independent moral judgment is formed and the “child” can then be held responsible for themselves.

Cotton101's avatar

@janbb ditto! Vicarious liability would not apply to the parents if the child is over 18 in some states and 21 in others. At that age, they would be liable for their own actions!

janbb's avatar

Yes, that is the age of majority but I am suggesting that it might be lowered in terms of holding parents liable – possibly as low as 13 or 14. Not sure in my mind of the differentiation i would make between responsible and criminally liable.

Cotton101's avatar

well, my comment was based on civil action!

janbb's avatar

Ah yes, you can’t really go after a 14 year old’s financial resources, can you?

Cotton101's avatar

right..have mixed feeling about the criminal aspect of it!

Val123's avatar

Depends on the situation.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Only if fast food places can be punished when someone has a heart attack because of clogged arteries.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, when gross negligence is involved.

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