A baby is born and raised by its parents to become a child. From then on, it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their child the difference between right and wrong.
Yes, a parent is responsible for their child and their behaviour. Hopefully then that parent will have made a great job of raising their child and instilled in them moral codes, from an early age.
A child has an understanding of what they consider to be right and wrong from a very early age. Therefore where a child knows the difference between right and wrong, then they should be punished if they commit a criminal act, not their parents.
Whilst parents should be responsible for their child’s behaviour, they cannot always be held responsible for how their child acts and what their child does.
Committing a criminal act is down to who is considered to be at blame. People always want someone to blame. You can’t just blame the child alone can you? The parents are responsible as well, aren’t they? Well no, how can they be, not unless the parent was jointly involved and coerced their child into committing a crime.
If the parent did not commit a crime, how fair and ethical is it to blame the parent? How does blaming and applying sanctions to a parent help the child understand what they did was wrong or prevent them from committing a further criminal offence.
A child is not an extension of their parent, but is an individual human being with his or her unique personality traits. If that child commits a criminal offence, that crime belongs to the child, not to the parent.
We excuse children far too much for actions of criminality that they are fully aware of doing. Yes, they are children first and foremost and yes, parents do have the responsibility of parenting their child. Parents shouldn’t be the ones who take responsibility though for something their child did because they couldn’t stop them, or they weren’t there at the time of the offence.
Where children commit crimes then children should be held responsible and a suitable sanction should be applied to that young person. The seriousness of the crime committed is what should dictate what punishment should apply to the child. The sanctions given should be about teaching the child about taking responsibility for what they have done and in what way the crime will have negative consequences for others
Overall then, the emphasis should not be on blaming the parent, but be focused more on supporting and re education of the child and its parents.