Should Parents be Responsible for Crimes Committed by Their Children?

In some countries, children criminality is a big problem. It is time to ask this question – Should parents be responsible for crimes committed by their children?

Great many crimes are being committed daily. While adults are responsible for most of them, children-criminals are no exception too. Some countries have laws for punishing these “little” criminals. However, many other countries do not. So, who then gets punished for those crimes committed by children in those countries? Should it be their parents? But ask yourself why should parents be responsible for crimes committed by their children?

Well, there is at least one good reason for such a drastic measure, the motivation. I know it might seem a bit odd at the first glance. But, I can explain my point on certain example.

Here in Slovakia (part of Czechoslovakia before the 1st of January 1993) the parents used to be tried for their children’s crimes in the past. Of course, crimes committed by children were rare compared to the present-days. The children were motivated to avoid any criminal activity by their parents as those did not want to go to prison for something they did not commit. Parents kept their children in check. Also, if person considered to be a child committed a crime, he/she was also punished by staying in correctional facility for problematic children. So, there was a double motivation for them to uphold the law. Very few children would want to end up in correctional facility and then even face an angry parent who just got out of prison too.

However, as socialism got overthrown by so-called democracy (in other words republic, reign of the financial mafia donating the politicians’ campaigns etc. – the same type of government as in most western countries), there was a hype of eradicating almost everything positive that there was in the past; one of the victims being the laws for punishing children-criminals. Today, if a child under 14 commits a crime, police drops all the charges and no one gets punished (with the exception of very violent crimes, like murder, when problematic children are sent to correctional facility). As a result, children criminality sky rocketed and it still does rise. Many children now have double motivation to commit crime. They know that the only punishment they will ever get is feeling of embarrassment when caught (and sometimes lowered mark for behavior at school). Also their ill-minded parents know that no one will get in trouble, if they sent their children to steal and rob people on the streets.

So, how is this fair? The answer is simple. It is not. If you get robbed by a group of 10-13 year olds, you get no satisfaction even if the police catch them. It is highly improbable that they will still have your valuables with them at that point. No one gets punished and the only ones who profit are those “little” criminals and parents who probably sent them to rob you.

Now, think a little longer whether parents should be responsible for crimes committed by their children. It might seem unfair towards the parents, but it is not. If there is a fixed penalty for parents (so they would not be tried for certain crime done by their children, but for the fact that they did not stop their child from committing a crime), I am sure it would not do any damage, just help to significantly lower the criminality. Of course, the children would have to be responsible for their actions too. This way a crime victims would get at least some satisfaction and great portion of them would not even became a victim of crime (at least not the one committed by a child).

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  1. To an extend, we are responsible for our children’s actions but only as far as bringing them up is concerned. Children learn criminal behavior from the society without also and therefore parents may not be entirely to blame.

  2. Definitely a topic that will stir debate… but I believe it should be looked from the lens of what causes delinquency. Society provides the medium, the individual is the protagonist but as parents we have a duty to guide, inspire and correct; it is a shame when parents become the catalysts of such anti- social behavior.

  3. You bring up an interesting point. Parents who don’t care or raise their children to be caring people have no incentive to NOT have their children be criminals! Here in America, though, I haven’t heard too often of parents using their children for crime for lack of punishment. But I know it is a problem related to gangs. The thugs over 18 would go to prison for at least 10 years and a permanent record if caught with drugs. But if they can get someone under 18 to carry drugs, and they get caught, the child only gets a slap on the wrist and when they become 18 their record is virtually “wiped clean”. Parents have become more selfish and are basically kids raising kids..

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