Parents liability Children Acts

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Parents liability Children Acts


It is very evident that the young break laws with or without their knowledge. The young will find themselves in criminal acts such as drinking, possession of illegal properties and drugs and vandalism of other people’s properties (The New York Times). In some cases, underage persons commit crimes of greater magnitude beyond the expectation of many, such as theft and burglary, murder and robbery, rape with violence, theft of motor vehicles and even breaking in private homes. Children are capable of breaking the law irrespective of the age. From many research findings teens that are almost attaining maturity especially the adolescents and due to peer pressure, the probability of committing crimes is enhanced. The question thereby arises as to whether parents should or should not get held responsible crime behavior and acts of their children.

Should Parents Be Held Responsible for the Crimes of Their Children?

There has been an ongoing debate about if parents should be legally held accountable and responsible for their children’s increased rates of criminology acts with some individuals supporting it while others are opposing it. The proponents of the argument indicate that parents should be held responsible for the crimes committed by their children since they are the authority figures in the lives of those children and should thereby guide how their children behave (The New York Times). Another reason advanced by those who support the idea of parents taking responsibility of their children’s crimes is that parents influence the behavior of their children through their actions and that how a child behaves is a reflection of their parents. As such, children committing crimes is an indication of the failure of parents to be good role models to their children.


According to The Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law, parents are liable of any crime done by their children provided they are of minority age, the age at which they are termed infant and not recognized by the law as adults. The proponents of this idea state that infants are incapable of managing their affairs and that they require guidance from their parents in making decisions. Any minor who commit any damage must not be questioned; it is indeed his or her parent who is legally liable for the child’s unlawful acts.

In Christopher and Benjamin’s article, “Parental Pitfalls in the code,” predicts parents’ bankruptcy. The authors argue that parental liability is real and cannot be avoided. They note that parents incur voluntary expenses when raising their children and this is normal. However, parents must be keen on the malicious behavior of their children. The law requires parents to take responsibility for their young ones before they attain major age. In instances of malicious acts by children such as theft, breaking into other people’s property, and reckless use of social media who are of minor age subvert their parents to a court of law. Most state governments have initiated laws that hold parents accountable for their infants’ unlawful acts.

Jamie A. Anderson and David C Marletts article, “Foster Parent Liability Risk,” focuses on the roles of foster parents in bringing up a child. Foster parents are trained and licensed by children authorities to take care of children and ensure they grow up responsibly. Foster parents are legally liable for foster children’s crime behavior. Taking care of other people’s children is challenging and requires foster parents to exercise due care and diligence when handling them. There is a high probability for foster parents to face criminal charges and get sued for damages resulting from their reckless actions to foster children.

However, there are other individuals who oppose the idea of parents taking responsibility for crimes committed by their children. This group argues that parents should not be blamed for the actions of their children since children are rational beings and from principles of rationality, a rational person makes an informed decision (Donovan). Therefore, the child should be liable for his or her criminal acts. Opponents of the idea that parents should take responsibility for their children’s crimes also indicate that parents cannot the ones pushing their children to commit crimes. They argue that most people commit crime expecting fate to be on the way. Similarly, teenagers commit crimes with the deep expectation that they will not be found. This is never a show of how someone has been brought up, but a rational decision made with a wrong perception of the child (Donovan). Unsound mindedness, anger, insanity, craziness, and depression will never justify the victimization of a parent since some are acts of nature which beyond their control.

It can be argued that no one is immune to law and everyone should face it for criminal offenses committed regardless of the age of the minority or the majority. When children commit crimes, they must be charged accordingly since they know that they are not doing the right thing. Therefore, parents should not be held solely responsible for their acts of crime.

In NY Times article, the author find out whether parents are legally responsible for their children’s use of internet and the crimes they commit over the internet. Most children use the internet and understand the do’s and don’ts while using the internet. Some children involve themselves in cyberbullying and go tarnishing other peoples’ image over the media. Cyberbullying is an act of defamation under the law of tort; a crime committed knowingly by an individual with an intention to defame another person’s name. There is no single parent that teaches children to use the internet to engage in cyberbullying crime behavior; it is the children who rationally decide to engage in cyberbullying.

David Donavan’s article, “Parents not liable in negligence for kid’s vandalism,” he argues that parents are not legally liable for their children’s negligence since nobody can foresee that his or her child is going to do the act. Most teenagers develop bad behavior while schooling and always sneak out of their dormitories in the night. In such acts, teenagers vandalize property in their neighborhood, and such ill-oriented acts are unknown to their parents. Although the law strictly holds parents liable for their children’s destruction of property, this is not right and should be stopped.

Final Thoughts

The question about whether parents should be legally held responsible for their children’s acts is worthy debating. The task of raising children with good values and ethical behavior is difficult for every parent. Essentially, children are a reflection of their parents and absorb everything that they experience and see from their immediate environment. Parents are undoubtedly responsible and accountable for actions of their children whether right or wrong. Parents make the first teacher of every child. The behavior of a parent sinks to his or her child, and this affects their psychology and actions. Children stand to be corrected by their children when doing the wrong, failure to do this leads to the generation of bad habits that slowly grow to become crime before societal eyes.


Formation of bad behavior by children results from parental negligence. It the duty of every parent to discipline their children and get them do the right things. Also, the law requires that every parent take full responsibility for their children’s acts, behavior, and prospects. In the event children engage in unlawful acts, their parents should be charged for damages under a court of law. Further, parental responsibility is a cultural norm, and every parent is expected to guide and advise their children on ethical, societal behavior. Failure to which, it is the parent to be blamed by the society and not the child. Therefore, children should not get blamed for their unethical and irresponsible behavior for this result from poor parenting by their parents. To this extent, parents should be legally held liable for crimes of their children. If parents become responsible and understand their roles in the upbringing of their children, I believe that criminal behavior by children will considerably decrease.

Works Cited

Anderson, J. A., & Marlett, D. C. (2014). Foster parent liability risk. Journal of Insurance Regulation, 33, 265-287. Retrieved from

Donovan, David. “Parents Not Liable in Negligence for Kids Vandalism.” North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, Nov 30, 2017, ProQuest,      881031?accountid=15152.

Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law. “Parent Liability Child’s Act.”, edited by Gale, 3rd Edition, 2013. Credo Reference, Accessed 27 Feb 2018.

The New York Times. “Are Parents Legally Responsible for Their Children’s Internet Use?” The New York       Times, 8 Dec. 2000,      their-childrens-internet-use.html


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