Should parents be held responsible for their minor children’s criminal behavior?
Who is to be responsible for the kids if not The Parents?
I would say that up to the age of 12 the parent should share in the punishment of a wrongful child if the little lawbreaker is caught. Parents should be responsible for not teaching right and wrong and even if you did teach them and it didn’t take parents need to share in the responsibility. If parents are not ready to step up to the line then what hope does the child have?
Once my state began ordering parents picked up and charged if their child missed school without a valid medical condition, school absences dropped. Parents became responsible or they did the time for their child.
Being locked in a cell with your child has a twofold purpose. One you the parent must maintain your calm. Hopefully the fear your child has will lessen as s/he realizes you are there to protect rather than harm. Now you and your child can talk without threats.
We know kids will do as much as they can get away with. They need to be taught that breaking a law has punishment to go along with the law. Parenting is not an 8-5 job. Parents need to know what their child is doing 24/7 until the child can be trusted outside the Parents sight.
IF parents have taught the child right and wrong at age 13 then the child will have to step up and take the punishment for the broken trust (law).
Even good kids can screw up if the situation is right but this should not lessen the crime or punishment.
My own son was picked up for shoplifting at age 13. He lifted a $.49 cent item from the grocery store, was caught and the police called. When the police called, told me my son was in their custody and told me what my son had been picked up for I felt the “Not my son!” feeling fall on me. The officer asked me what I wanted to do? My first thought was send him home! My second thought was different.
I had taught my sons the difference of right and wrong. What had happened for him to do this and for $.49 cents! Then all I had taught my sons came to the forefront. I became a little angry and disappointed in my son. “What to do?”
Calmly and as honestly as I could I told the officer, “You picked him up for thievery, lock him up!” Those were the hardest words I ever had to say. The officer thought I was kidding.
He asked, “When will you be down to pick him up. We can’t release him unless you pick him up.”
I asked, “What do you normally do with thieves?”
“We lock them up.”
“Then put him in a cell and lock him up. Treat him as you would any other thief. I will be down in a few hours.”
“Are you sure this is what you want?”
As my heart beat faster, tears filled my eyes I told him, “Yes, lock my son up.”
Two hours later I went to the station with my other two sons in tow. I was allowed to see my son the thief as he sat behind the bulletproof glass without his glasses, shoelaces and belt. He was angry that I, his mom let this happen to him.
I let him know first off “I did not let this happen, he let this happen, he was responsible for his actions. He knew it was wrong to steal. I also let him know that this was the first step down a long lonely road and if he wanted to continue he was in the right place to learn the “tricks of the trade.”
I gave him my stipulations for his release. His first step of being released was an apology to the officers. Seems the kid had some real foul words he unleashed on the officers. The he was going to the store and apologize for being a thief and pay for what he stole.
After about 30 minutes I went back to the officers and said I would take him home but he had a few things to do first. If my son backed down I was bringing him back and would expect him to be prosecuted. He was a thief and as a thief he was not going to get a free pass on this.
My son did the right thing, he apologized, he made restitution and he never stole anything again. Yes he was punished at home for his misdeed. He had 10 hours of grunge work plus he had to do some kind work for an elderly neighbor for free.
As we see from the Paris Hilton fiasco unless we let our children see we will not tolerate breaking the law the child will opt for the free ride. I didn’t want my son to be a thief. I took the hard road in order to make the road ahead less hard for my son.