Until when are parents responsible?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by ysabel, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Are we responsible for our children's actions just because they're minor (no matter if they know what is right and wrong and still choose to do the wrong thing)? There might be a legal aspect to this, but personally, what do you think it should be?

    Do we cease to be responsible for our children (and their actions) when they reach the age of majority?

    The reason I ask this is because I hear parents often blamed whether the child is young and something wrong happens (poor parenting!) or the child has grown up as an adult (parents ruined his childhood!).

    Scapegoats? Or simply, parenting is truly a lifetime responsibility. :lol:

  2. Saucepan

    Saucepan Registered Member

    It's fair to say that parent's (or guardians) play a big part in a persons development. There is a limit to how much they are responsible for a child's actions.

    What 5 year old doesn't want to zoom around a room with their arms in front of them pretending to be Superman (or whoever), but it's the parent's who should make sure the child doesn't try jumping out a window thinking they ARE Superman. If you're raising a child you should always try and take a active interest in what they are doing, neglect can have far reaching and unseen consequences.

    Understanding the difference between right and wrong, it's a parent's responsibility to make sure their child understands (of course this depends on the parent's morals), but if that child deliberately makes a decision that is wrong, knowing the consequences then that is their responsibility.
  3. Syndicate

    Syndicate Chirp Chirp

    disclaimer: my parenting experience solely consists of caring for our hamster, Hamlet.

    This has been the case for many generations. When you have a child, you know the burden and responsibility that tags along with the joy. The package deal. That's not to say it's all fair though. You do sign an unwritten contract when you bring a child into this world but there are a lot of terms people belatedly attach when deemed appropriate. While the parents do have to take center stage for the most part -- due to them normally having the largest influence on the childs upbringing, there are times when I do believe parents are asked too much of. Nature has its own role to play too and these curious little whippersnappers do have a mind of their own after a point. You can shape it as best possible but there's no guarantee little Timmy's going to be a good boy. Not everyone is a great parent either (or the term 'great parent' couldn't exist) and some might not realise this until after the fact. What's more important is that they're doing their best and are not negligent in their duties. Anything less in unacceptable.

    As for how long the responsibility lasts; it's hard to put an accurate, minimal marker down. There might be an official number but we're all unique and our permanent personalities are formed at various pace. The law works on figures though eh. By age 18 (at the latest) I think you've unlocked enough social benefits for yourself and in return should be more than willing to accept responsibility for yourself. In most cases I've seen, age 16 seems a fairly self sustaining level to reach and I would be disappointed, as a parent, to take the brunt of any drastic swings thereafter.
  4. Merc

    Merc Certified Shitlord V.I.P. Lifetime

    The problem is, it's not so much a 'when' as in years but a 'when' as in "When are they capable to live alone?" Societies seem to think that age is a definite measurement of maturity and overall progress. The problem is, some people are ready to live on their own at 16 and some are never ready. I'd say the parents are responsible until the child has proven they can hold their own.
  5. Hiei

    Hiei The Hierophant

    It is the parents responsibility to make sure that the child has the ability to be a productive member of society. These characteristics are instilled at a young age, and if the parent neglects these responsibilities, then it is their fault.

    But then again, some people are who they are because of their upbringing, and some people are who they are in spite of their upbringing. It's a double edged sword.
  6. agphoenix

    agphoenix Everything goes.

    No, I'm not a parent, but I believe I am beginning to have parental instincts. [33]

    My simple answer...Until the children are responsible, able to be an integral part of society and most importantly, until they are capable and willing to be parents for the people who bore them; until the day they die.
  7. wolfheart

    wolfheart Registered Member

    I think its hard to put a time on when a parents responsibility for there child ends,as a parent you want to be there for your child when needed,and sometimes when your not.
    I dont belive that age has anything to do with it,as all people are different,you may become a productive member of society at 16,but you will still make mistakes,with money,personal issues and then you turn to your parents for advice/help.

    I do belive that parenting is a life long responsibilty,but as parents we need to realize that as our children grow they will make mistakes,some of them the same ones we ourselves made,and they will need to deal with the consequencses of there actions.
  8. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    I guess it depends on what you mean by 'responsible'. A parent is responsible for a child, in the sense that it's their duty to raise them. A parent is never fully responsible for what the child does, in the sense that it's not completely the parent's fault. But on the other hand, a parent will often share at least part of the blame if they raise their child poorly, and said child grows up and does something horrible.

    And there's probably other uses for 'responsible' that apply that I'm forgetting :rolleyes:.
  9. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Since parents aren't perfect and neither are the children, I suppose this means parents will share the blame for their child's bad actions for a lifetime.


    Another angle of responsibility I can think of is the case when parents divorce. There are kids who would blame the divorce on just about anything that goes wrong with their lives (even the usual growing up pains) or they become miserable, withdraw from the world, pay less attention to school, choose drugs, etc. I used to be one of those leaning towards that path until I realised I'm in charge and responsible and not my parents. So perhaps I just coped better when my parents split, but I still find it unfair that people wouldn't take responsibility for their own actions and decisions (including their decision to wallow in miserable feelings instead of moving on with their life). Sure our parents affected us, but they don't necessarily have to be responsible for how we turned out or chose to live our lives.
  10. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Sure. SOME parents receive part of the blame for the way their offspring act, even 40 years later. By some, I mean the parents who screwed up their kids' lives.

    Like I said, the parents' actions have some influence on their kids, but the kids ALWAYS share some of the responsibility (the only exception is if the kids are mentally incapable of knowing better, in which case it's quite possible nobody's fault).

    People like passing the blame. It makes themselves look better. Almost everyone does it some - for some people, it becomes a way of life.

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