Are Parents Responsible For The Choices Their Children Make?

United States
October 27, 2008 8:29am CST
The other day I overheard a conversation between a couple and a friend of theirs in regard to the couple's child, a boy. Basically, their child got into trouble with a girl and the police are now involved. As the couple (parents of the boy) were telling their friend how rough it's been on them...the friend offered the consolation that "parents cannot be held responsible for the choices their children make". The conversation continued and they went on to discuss the girl that was involved in the incident and how she was making things very difficult for the boy. The friend then responded with this..."obviously the girl's parents raised her with no moral value". Same friend, two completely opposing statements. I'm curious what everyone's thoughts are on this topic....Are parents responsible for the choices their children make and why? Also, if it depends on the situation, I'd like to know how one determines this.
2 people like this
8 responses
• United States
3 Nov 08
i think so, atleast up unto the point where the kid knows right from wrong and then after that as long as as a parent you taught your child the right way no one can blame you and you shouldnt blame yourself either.
1 person likes this
@lisa0502 (1726)
• Canada
27 Oct 08
I think that you raise a child to a certain age and then they take over. You may not want them to but they do. You are the one that instills morals and values in your child. What your child does with that in their teenage years is up to them. In my opinion if my child does something at the age where he is legally responsible then he/she has to be held accountable. If my child who is younger does something then I see to it that he/she is punished. There is no way that in that situation can the girl be at fault and the boy not be. Would I support my child if he/she did something wrong yes I would. But I would not excuse what he/she did. And I certainly would not put all the blame on the other person. If I needed to then I myself would call the police on my own child, especially if he/she did something wrong that may hurt another person.
• United States
28 Oct 08
Thanks lisa - I agree with you. Once you instill the values and morals in your children, you can't walk the path for them. You can only guide, love, and support. It's hard not to blame yourself as a parent though. However, you reason with yourself that you can't choose for your kids and they will learn the hard way that with every decision there are consequences...sometimes good, sometimes bad.
@thedaddym (1737)
• United States
27 Oct 08
I agree with Lou, parents should be held resposible to teach thier kids moral responsbility and to be a good influence. But sometimes even if you have brought up your kids the wrong way that can do bad things. Unfortunately society teaches our children things as well. But I believe to a degree the parents are responsible because it is their job to teach their children right from wrong, but like I said it is not only parents who raise children, it is the schools, and their friends that teach them as well, so I think parents should not take all the blame, but should take some of it. If this boy assaulted this girl and his parents think that the girl has no moral values because she reported him, then very likely they are at fault though, and don't hold their own children to any moral standards. If they turn a blind eye at what he has done, and blame the victim instead, and it happens again, then they will be part of the problem, and even more so responsible.
• United States
28 Oct 08
Thank you thedaddym - From what I overheard...the situation was that they boy was considered a legal adult and the girl was a minor. She lied about her age and when the boy found out her real age he didn't end the relationship. Apparently the girl's parents found out (not sure how) and they pressed charges against the boy. By the way...I agree that society, school and friends definitely play a part in raising our kids.
• Philippines
27 Oct 08
I guess it depends upon the situation though but in most cases since most parents do care about their children, they make themselves responsible for it eventhough they shouldn't be.
• United States
28 Oct 08
Thanks inthecircus - you're right...most parents do blame themselves or feel they could have done something more to prevent a situation. My husband and I are guilty of feeling that way when it comes to our own children.
@lou_66 (909)
27 Oct 08
i think parents are responsibel for the influence they have in the choices their children make but ultimately the only person who is truly responsible for a decission is the person who made it
• United States
28 Oct 08
Thank you lou_66 - I feel that parents are responsible for teaching their kids values, responsibility, respect, etc... However, a child has a mind of their own and will do as they choose no matter what they are taught and even if they know it's wrong.
• United States
18 Feb 09
I agree with many people who have posted here. Parents are resposible for teaching their children morals values, etc.. They are not responsible for the decisions that child makes. We all are born with free will and you can't make people behave and make the choices you want them to make unless they themselves want to.
• United States
18 Feb 09
This is such a difficult one to deal with for any parent. It's not easy dealing with a child who is in trouble with the police on any level. It's very easy for parents to not take the blame but to blame others for their child's choice. This makes it difficult to dicuss. It is almost as parents want to here that they did all they could and someone else is to blame. I'm torn in this one because I feel that parents are responsible for their children, yet perhaps not their eventual choices in life. I feel that if parents raise their children with morals, that you don't see children making such mistakes. Though, I could not tell you what I thought occured in parenting or that family that would cause a child to break away from the norm of the family. Meaning, I can't tell you why a child from an upstanding family suddenly begins stealing or what not. I could suspect it was because the child was not receiving the attention he wanted. Perhaps the child simply thought it would be cool with his friends. There are so many factors that could influence a child. Just as the other friend, in this story the girl, could have been influenced by many factors. She may have thought it would keep her "man" happy. Perhaps she really didn't have any values and was talking the boy into it. I would say the best bet would be if these parents could sit together and discuss the issues, perhaps they could come to the bottom of things.
@tjburcham (690)
• United States
28 Oct 08
So it would seem that we are responsable to some degree. I don't think that this means that we should be held just as accountable as the kid-because we all have choices to make and even as adults we do not always make the best choice.