Should Parents be Financially Responsible for Damage Caused by Their Children?

Canada
May 23, 2009 3:50pm CST
With an election looming where I live, out comes the promises and policies the candidates want to put in place. One that particularly bothers me is that this particular candidate, if he wins, wants to make parents financially responsible for damages caused by their children. Say they were out vandalizing, parents have to pay, up to 18 years of age. My beief is this. There was a time when this sort of thing may have worked. And maybe in some places it still would, But over the years, the government has done things to take control of our children out of our hands, and now they want us to be responsible for their actions? There are many little known laws that some children do get to know through friends or through experience. One is that we cannot force our kids to do anything, we cannot confine them forcibly to their room if they decide they arent staying. A child at the age of 13 years old, can decide they are staying out and we cant force them to come home. Now these laws Im sure dont apply everywhere, but they do where I live. Given these circumstances, a child who chooses to be disruptive and is in the "know" of these laws, would be impossible to control their behaviour. I think the children should be made to pay restituion whether its by community service, or working at a local place that needs help, for free til the damages are paid for. I really dont believe that even a perfect parent can control every childs behaviour, no matter how much love and respect they are shown or taught. Unless there are more restrictions first put on the children or teens, then I dont think this idea is fair. What do you think? Im sure there will be a variety of answers.
3 people like this
11 responses
@thezone (9452)
• Ireland
23 May 09
We have no lods as yet But I would agree once they reach a certain age, they should be responsible for their actions. Whenever I got into trouble I was always accountable. I do not think any parent can control a child's behavior totally.
1 person likes this
@thezone (9452)
• Ireland
23 May 09
lods, lol should read kids
• Canada
23 May 09
Oh am I glad to see you buddy, pal..now my lifelong friend I was beginning to feel buried alive!!...lol... We have some crazy laws in parts of canada that allow kids to do as they wish, and they know it..I think many have not experienced this. Even the most perfect of parents can have kids that will at some time misbehave..Those that think their kids dont, are only fooling themselves. Here for the longest time, it was illegal to spank in any way, yelling could be considered verbal abuse, a child can leave home at 13 years old, and you cannot make them come home. Even if you were to find them on a street corner, hopefully not, but you cannot forcibly bring them home. You also cannot forcibly ground a child, If they decide they are walking out of their room, you have to let them go. What I meant was, with laws like that, how can parents be responsible for what their kids do. Thanks for the response and I am sure glad my kids are grown. I think some might have thought I was refering to my own, but no, mine are grown thank goodness!! However I do have a very handsome 19 year old who can be trying at times...Would you like to borrow him????
1 person likes this
@thezone (9452)
• Ireland
23 May 09
They are some crazy laws, how can one be a responsible parent with laws like that. Send the 19 year old to Ireland and he will come back a new man. Zone would never steer him wrong
1 person likes this
• United States
23 May 09
This is interesting me. I didn't know that you weren't already financially responsible for your child. I am not sure I would even ever question this. You and soley you are resposible for raising your children. You instil the values and beliefs into your children. The government can only do so much (I would also like examples of this). How you raise them is up to you. If you think your child is going to do something that is wrong, and that may incure charges for damage, then you obviously didn't raise your children to respect you or other people. I child the chooses to be disruptive is disruptive because you allow them to be. Not because the government allowed them to be. I find it odd you say a child of 13 can make the choice of staying out. I would like to know who your parents were and where you live. The child chooses to stay out, becuase you DON'T force him to come home, not because you can't but because you DON'T. Its a sad sight really, the government has tried to offer so much help, that parents have decided they no longer need to be parents, and they can blame the government for everything. My mother was a single parent, she had me when she was 15, and my sister when she was 20. My mother at the young age of 15 started raising us right. We respect her, and listen to her. Of coarse we have done bad things, but she took the needs neccessary to make sure we understood never to do it again. To this day, respect and listen to my mother. A child that respects you in the first place, wouldn't not listen to you,for those laws to matter. You are the parent, your parenting starts when you get pregnant, and the end result shows you if you were a good parent or not. If choose to let your children get away with everything when they are younger, you can expect that he will stay out until he wants to come home. If you make your children respect and listen to you when they are younger, they will know no different when they are older. Do you spank your child? Do you use time out? Do you ground your child and stick to it? You as a parent let your children be the kind of person who would cause damage, therefore yes you should be responsible. What you do to your child to make him pay back that debt to you, is up to you. But why should the person who had their stuff damaged suffer, because you can't control your child? You can send any children you like here where I live and I promise you won'thave any other problems.
1 person likes this
• Canada
23 May 09
Hi there, and thanks for the response...I think that either the laws are much different where you live, or like I said, there are laws that many dont realize. My parents were very strict with me. I didnt dare go against what they said, and there were punishments. My own children are all grown now. I do have to correct what you said about a child would stay out all hours because they were allowed to be and were not made to come home. Not true at all. It is a law where I live, a child can leave home at the age of 13 years, and you cannot make them come home. You cannot ground them to their room if they do not want to stay. It is considered confinement and is illegal, These are things that many dont know or ever have to face. Thats why I said about the government taking away our rights as parents then expecting us to control them. Its also absolutely not true that a child is disruptive because you allow them to be. That is very far from the truth. When we grew up, we respected our parents, for the most part, we did as we were told. Today there are many freedoms, and the children are aware..Im not saying all, but some will abuse these rights when they learn of them. I guess what I am saying, and its not an excuse to blame the government, parents do not have the rights here to raise their kids any way they want to. The government has taken away those rights by making it illegal to keep kids grounded if they decide they arent staying in their rooms. By making it legal for a child to wander the streets at 13 years of age and the parents cannot forcibly bring them home. There are scenarios out there where kids have fallen prey to predators reguardless of their home life, and been lured into lives of crime. It can happen to a child from the best of families. Im saying withoug being ABLE by law to control childrens activities, why should we have to pay for their wrongs, If we had full control , then yes, but we dont.
1 person likes this
@CJscott (4184)
• Canada
24 May 09
You sdodson, are not understanding. If you spank you child here, and the government finds out about it. They take your child and fine or imprison you for child abuse and assault. To ground a child is illegal confinement. You break laws by implementing the punishments you describe. That is how it is. If your child, talks to other children or to teachers or other adults about home life, embellishes even a little, and some one informs Child Family Services (CFS) will come and investigate your home, talk to your child about, and more often then not, take your child away from you. It is not as simple as you make it out to be. Especially with teenagers, who really like to test their limits. I know, I was one of them teenagers, and I do respect my parents, it doesn't mean I didn't want to test my limits. The child should be responsible for the child's action after age 6. By then, if they do not know the difference between right and wrong it is already too late. Parents, should be guidance, not bail outs.
• Canada
24 May 09
Thank you CJScott...You have described perfectly what I was trying to say. Many just look at the question and not what the laws are now here and voice their opinions. And some kids, no matter how good their parents are, will still test the waters. I know i did and that was a great many years ago. It was just in different ways, I never harmed anyone else or their property, but was I disrespectful to my parents at times? Yup! I have since worked with the system, and it is pretty sad. We cant be responsible totally for what our kids do, if we have no right to exercise our authority.
@meandmy3 (2229)
• United States
23 May 09
Yes they should be and I for one would pay for damage that any of my children did and then they would pay me back, they would get a job and work to make sure they paid me every penny. Even with the new laws we can still control our children and parents are responsible for the actions of their children. If you raise your children right and teach them the fear of YOU then they will behave as they should. I know that this does not work in every case and you have a few that will still rebel and do things they should not do, but as a parent you are still responsible for their actions and if they are old enough to pay for the damages themselves by getting a job then they need to do that.
• Canada
23 May 09
Hi meandmy3...thanks for the response..I think I would be more worried about trying to control the actions of the teens. Maybe the laws are different here but instilling fear, can be considered abuse too. Even looking sideways these days is not acceptable and can be misconstrued somehow to be abuse. But for a teen, if you cannot ground them, cannot make them stay in, how can you control what they do? Right now they do have community service for the teems who break the laws, but this politician wants the parents to pay. I dont agree. Especially at an age where they are capable of being responsible for their own actions, I think they should be made to be.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 May 09
Sandy I am sorry, but this is just baffling to me. Your children should have that FEAR of you or respect as I call it, from when they were younger. If you raise them right to begin with they rarely stray. If you let them do what they please, thats what they are used to. Every state has those laws about abuse, and most children try and test those laws, becuase they can. I remember my cousin telling my aunt he was going to call the police, that didn't change anything. Every city, suburb has curfew. You just may not know what yours is. No matter what the government is doing, your children are your children, and you are responsible for them, just like your parents were of you.
1 person likes this
• Canada
23 May 09
Hi again...actually I live in Canada..Where I live, they do not have a curfew. This I know for a fact by working with family and childrens services. They are talking about bringing one into effect, and I think there should be. I think a lot more things need to be brought into effect before making parents responsible. I guess my main issue is teens who are out of control. It is by no means the majority either. Im just saying that how can an area that has made spanking illegal, no curfews, unable to detain or ground your kids if they dont want to stay, and making it legal for 13 year olds to not come home, expect parents to be responsible, to pay for their damages. I think the teens should have to be responsible for their actions and find a way to pay back themselves, whether its through community service or working.
1 person likes this
@lawana_f (327)
• United States
23 May 09
If by the ago of 13 your child has not learned the importance of obaying their parents and caring for personal and private property then yes the parents should be held responsible for the things they do. It is one of the things that parents are responsible for. In Texas parents have had the responsibility for many years. But now if you have a problem child it is easier to have them taken out of the situation as a parent. If you cannot control you children someone has to. Otherwise how do we have responsible adults in the future. One of the most importants jobs adults have is teaching children how to become the best adults that they can be. That involes actually parenting, it is not the teachers job once they start school, as with charity it begins at home, and at the youngest ages. It is a shome that parents do not raise children right these days. No I did not spank my children often, there are punishments that they liked even less. Have you ever had to pin down grass runners in the yard with hair pins. It makes your fingers and thumbs sore in about 15 minutes. Plus it help the grass to spread and root if it is pined at the joints. Pulling weeds also works. I do believe if you spare the rod you spoil the child and therefore the adult will not be a productive citizen. But the rod does not have to be a rod per-say.
• United States
24 May 09
If I lived where it was illegal to spank my child I would move. I am not saying that it is the only form of punishment but there are times when it is needed and I would just sit my time out in jail for it. I also happen to know from experiance that yard work is VERY effective, expecially if it starts when the sun comes up. It had an attitude changing effect on my sisters and I when we most needed it.
1 person likes this
@lawana_f (327)
• United States
24 May 09
Amen, my dear And the yard work never killed you, but I bet you still think about all of those hair pins we went through.
@lawana_f (327)
• United States
24 May 09
Sandy, I did not spank my children because they had been abused before I got custody of them and the one time I spanked my youngest daughter, I founf them all hiding the the oldest daughters closet crying and with her promising to protect them from then on. I agree with okkitokidokki that I would not live in Canada now as you have stated the laws, and I feel that I do have the right to spank my children, well now my grandchildren and I do. (Even the ones in Utah where I could get into trouble when I am there). But there is a difference in a spanking and a beating. My grandchildren are not old enough to pin runners or other things like that and if time out does not work thenthe parent has the responsibility to make the child learn right from wrong. I am truly sorry that where you are it is not allowed and agree at a certain point the government may go to far. But I would do what I know is right even if it meant jail time, my children are that important to me.
@rebelmel (1390)
• United States
24 May 09
I can understand from both perspectives. I totally agree - some kids will NOT listen, no matter what! I feel like that some parents would get really screwed over from this law. But at the same time, if your kid broke someones window, who SHOULD pay for it? I think that maybe there should be an option. Like, if you're sick of paying for you kid when he vandalizes something, maybe you kid should spend some time in juvy? Or doing community service. If you are saying you can't keep paying for your kids mistakes, then he needs to be diciplined by someone else. If you can punish your own child, and trust that it works, then you end up paying.
• Canada
24 May 09
Yes some will get the rotton end of the stick, and thats my point. Naturally if a child breaks something like a neighbours window or something, a decent parent is going to step up and pay for it. But with this law making all parents responsible for their kids actions up to the age of 18, its going to be tough when you cant control where they are and what they do because theres another law that stops that right. Other laws need to change first, before they jump in with this one, and I guess that is my point. If you happen to have a disobedient 16 year old, which is not uncommon these days, and they are legally allowed to be out as late as they want and you cant Legally control where they are and what they are doing, then how can someone MAKE you responsible for what they are doing. There needs to be much stricter laws for kids before all parents can effectively do their job here.
@rebelmel (1390)
• United States
24 May 09
Yes, but you can't expect that if your 16 year old is out of control, that you shouldn't have to pay. Someone needs to replace or fix whatever may have been broken, and just because you can't control your kid, this person shouldn't be left with the bill. He didn't sign up for that. You did when you had a child. But, I understand that some kids can't be controlled, and if that is the case, the child should have to do community service to pay for the repairs. If he fails to comply, then he should go to juvenile hall. It sounds mean and heartless, but this is where it all begins. People form habits at young ages. Do you want your kid to grow up and end up in prison? Absolutely not.
• Canada
25 May 09
Any decent parent would pay for what their child did, and that is not my point, Maybe Im just not good at explaining it. My point is the law here is in favour of the kids. There is no discipline that we can use to force better behaviour. Our lawmakers need to bring give back the parental authority to punish our children as we see fit, within reason ofcourse. I dont mean abuse them. As it stands now, most kids know that there is no consequences for their actions. The government instead of tightening these laws first, is saying let mom and dad bail them out. One more point for the kids. No, there needs to be harsher punishments for the kids and rules that are allowed to be made.
@jesssp (2743)
• Canada
26 May 09
I agree with your points. We have a lot of problems with youth in our community and I don't even know what the right thing to do about it would be anymore. I would like to say that, yes, parents absolutely should have to pay for the damage. But the reality is that many parents simply don't have the money and/or simply wouldn't pay it. Plus we have a lot of situations where the type of kids who do this sort of damage don't have parents who care about them let alone the community which is really sad. Then it's just a lose lose situation; no one learns a lesson and nothing gets paid for. I think that the kids should have to work it off and it should be things like picking garbage and other highly unpleasant - but necessary - tasks. They need to be made aware that there are consequences for their actions but for the most part there isn't any. They pretty much know that they're untouchable and I think that needs to change. One suggestion would be to link their youth 'record' to their driver's license so they aren't able to get it if they haven't worked off any debts owing for damage they caused. That probably wouldn't work but I think it's along the right line. I think that there needs to be real consequences and they should stand to lose more tangible things.
• United States
25 May 09
I'm dismayed and flabbergasted by these responses! I wanted to respond to each one, just to be sure mylot would send them a notice saying someone replied so they would be sure to see it. But I'm worried if I write basically the same thing to almost every responder, then it would get flagged and delete your discussion. So, hopefully some of you who so clearly did not read her entire post will read this. How can you answer and some of you several times, when you obviously did not pay attention to what she said?? This discussion is not about whether parents should be responsible for their children. It is about whether the government should be allowed to take parental rights from parents, and if they do, why then should the parents be responsible. Are you paying attention? I don't mean to be rude, and I'm not trying to be, but she has plainly said more than once that the government in her part of Canada has already made it illegal for parents to ground their kids -- she did NOT give a lower age limit -- illegal for them to send them to their room and enforce it, illegal for them to even force a 13 yr old to just COME HOME!!! These parents where she lives clearly do NOT have enough parental control to enforce any rules with their children and no way to be responsible for their child's behavior! Sandymay & CJScott, I would really appreciate it if you would post on the politics boards about this, in detail, because there are lots of US citizens there who need to see what the outcome of our current laws will be. This is exactly where we are headed. Canada also has some extreme laws regarding hate speech, don't they? We in the US really need to take close notice of what is happening in Canada, because it all started from the same kind of laws and campaigns that we are now seeing here, and have been seeing here for the last 20 years. It's coming to a US city near you -- soon. It is laughable that most of you who disagreed with Sandymay were detailing how you would discipline your kids, [b]and yet, everything you suggested she has already stated is ILLEGAL there!!! [/b] Sandymay, to answer your question, these laws alone would be reason, in my opinion, to move to another country. Really. Your child is worth it. Move back when the children are adults if you miss it, but I would do everything in my power to scrimp and save and move to somewhere that the laws have not yet gotten so out of control. I mean that with all my heart. In fact, for some similar reasons I moved from the NE United States to the Southeast, where parents are still allowed to legally be parents, somewhat. Yeah, when I was a kid, 40+ years ago, I had a healthy fear of my parents, as all of you are suggesting kids should have. It didn't stop me from ever misbehaving, but believe me when an activity presented itself, there was no way my mind would not be immediately weighing the "fun" of the activity against the wrath of my parents. I was never abused. My parents were free to set limits on me as a young child on up thru my teens. To this day, as a 52 yr old mother myself, I care deeply what my own mother thinks of me -- to the point it still influences my own life decisions. That doesn't mean I am or was perfectly well behaved and never make mistakes or got out of line -- I certainly did. But I could never stray too far, and when I did stray some -- the testing most all teens or young adults do -- I always returned to my parents' values. This was the result of a selfless and unconditional love my parents gave us -- a love that was strong enough to tell us No, stand by that No, and to punish us as well as discipline us. But my parents were unfettered by an over reaching government. Parents today find it harder and harder to provide that love and discipline, because of government interference. It's not like that nowadays, and especially in a place such as Sandymay is describing. When the government repeatedly ties the parents' hands, and restricts every option, it sends a message loud and clear to the children that parents are just idiots who have no reason or right to interfere in their "fun". How can such a parent ever hope to gain this child's respect?
• United States
25 May 09
I forgot to say, while the situation and laws remain as they are now, in Canada, then the children are actually the responsibility of the government, which took away the parents' rights. If the parents are not allowed to punish the kids, then the kids should be responsible for their actions -- after all isn't the government making them like little quasi adults? So, the kids damage property or something, then the kids should be the ones to pay it back by community service of some kind. NOT the parents. Otherwise, the parents would have to pay it back, but they would not even be able to force their child to pay them back -- how could they with these laws? So then again, the child learns that the parents are the cartoon characters, the bad guys, and certainly no one worthy of their respect.
• Canada
25 May 09
Hi there..and thanks so much for having the insight and understanding to READ what I had written. I felt a lot did not and just jumped to conclusions. Some may not have teens who have reached those harder years. I too am 49 years old. I have 4 children who thankfully are grown, or I just might take the opportunity to move away. When my kids were growing up, things were Not this way. We had the right to discipline. This foolishness has all come about in the last decade or so. I have worked with and known families who are good families, torn apart by foolish laws, taking away their rights. I guess I have started 3 very controversial discussions, and I dont know if its my wording or what, but many responders dont seem to READ or get what I have written. In response to your question, Canada has a lot of strange laws and yes hate speech is one of them. Unfortunately, most laws are for the benefit of the "wrong" way to live life. For a country that is supposed to be so "free", the freedom is in the hands of the criminals and the children. A very sad state of affairs. SOme are responding with parents should do this or that....well, in the free country of canada, freedom is not always an option. Thanks again for your opinion.
@venshida (4839)
• United States
24 May 09
I agree with the law. I see to many irresponsible parents. Lack of parents responsibility is leading a lot of kids to crime. I agree these kids knows the law, but parents need to have control. My oldest daughter with an exfriend tried pulling that I am abuse crap because she did not want to do what I told her. I took her right down to the child welfare office, and I told them folks keep her. You bet she never gave me that crap again. I am the mother, and plain and simple what I say goes. I don't know of any law where a 13 year old can stay out late, but I guess every place is different. Bottom line some parents needs this law to do the right thing.
• United States
24 May 09
This has to be the best discussion I have seen on mylot yet !! Sandy great job!! I agree with you on everything . Rights have been takin away from the parents , and kids have gone a bit wild because of it . I disagree with one of the mylotters though. I raised both my daughter and my son the same exact way , same rules , same attention , same love . My daughter turned out to be a wonderful young lady with great moral's . My son is a different story . He is unhappy, drinks and is abusive . One saves money not spending a cent, and the other can't save a cent . One believes in God , and one laughs at God. Both kids were raised the same, but both turned out compleatly different . It happens that way alot . You can mould your children to an extent , but they are born thinking their own thoughts. When you look at a new born you can see that they are already thinking . When it comes to paying for damages a child does. I think it depends on the sitution. The main thing is that the child learns something from what he has done in the long run .
• Canada
24 May 09
Hi beachstarz..I knew there had to be someone out there who could see my point of view. No matter how we raise our kids, there are some who just dont turn out as perfect as we would like them to be. And it is NOT always the parents fault. Given some of the laws we have here, it would be impossible for a parent of a disruptive teen to be responsible for what they do. They need to change some of the other laws here first before there was even a chance. I have 4 kids and thank goodness they are all grown now, but they are all different personalities. Things can happen in life that are out of parents control. Some laws people know nothing about unless they have to encounter them. I used the example of a 13 year old girl because this happened to someone I know. Her daughter didnt like the rules at home, and was led astray at school by pimps. She didnt come home one night and her parents called the police. THe police did look and found her in the company of who was a known pimp, looking rather like she had slept outside all night. THe officer confronted her and told her her parents were worried, and she should go home. She refused, and although this guy was known trouble, the officer said that because she was 13 years of age, there was nothing he or they could do to make her go back home. Very sad. THeir only route was to get a court order through the courts which would probably take days, to say her child was in danger, and then she could be picked up. THis same child also learned the ropes that it is illegal to ground a child against their will. If they so choose to walk out of their room, there is nothing physically the parents can do. Now this was a girl, from a very good family, who had a sibling that was the opposite. She was just lured from school and promised the world by some unsavoury characters. I hope all these parents who think they can and should control their kids, never have to live what this lady went through in the end. The laws need to be tightened, before we can be totally responsible for what our children do.
@la_chique (1499)
24 May 09
Parents should absolutely be responsible for the damages their children cause to people's property. In my area, even though it is a nice area, there are still plenty of parents who allow their children to act atrociously, vandalising and maliciously damaging other people's property with no consequence from the parents. In fact I know of people whose children have caused such damage and the parents actually think it is funny. I would love to see parents being forced to pay for the damages their children cause, and then hopefully we may see parents actually starting to do something about the disgraceful and unruly behaviour that children these days get away with. If I had tried half the things some kids do these days when I was a child, I'd have received such a slap, grounding, or confiscation of my personal posessions to show me what it's like for someone to do that to me. Needless to say, I never once ever vandalised anyone's property, and if I'd have accdentally damaged someone's property, for example a ball through a window, I would have gone to that person and apologised and asked them what I could do, usually before even telling my parents. Good on whichever candidate wants to do this! He'd have my vote!
• Canada
24 May 09
Hi la_chique..I agree that some parents just dont care. But there are many that do and still cant control their kids through no fault of their own. I guess what I am saying is that Im not against parents paying for what their kids do, but in order for that to happen here, many other laws need to change first. There is too much freedom for the kids and they know it. Most of them do. Until a year ago, it was illegal to slap or hit a child in any way. Now we are allowed but only to a certain age. We cannot ground a child and forcibly make them stay in their room, It is considered confinement. There are no curfews here. And if a child decides to stay out all night, and they are 13 years of age or older, theres nothing you can do. I guess what I am getting at, is that the laws need to be tightened much more in other areas first, before they can make us totally responsible for our kids. If we have so say, there are many kids that just wont listen.
• China
24 May 09
Everyone has their own idea of it ,but I agree with your point of view.
• Canada
24 May 09
Hi weinpengliu...Yes, everyone has their own opinion, and laws are different in every place. Often life experiences can dictate our opinions to different subjects. Those who have never had a troubled teen, can easily say the parents are to blame, when that may or may not be the case at all. I have dealt with many families, and seen this one too many times to know it is true.
@twoey68 (13662)
• United States
24 Sep 09
I can kind of see two sides here. If a 14 year old kid (we'll call him Bobby), if Bobby goes out and smashes in someones car window...why should the car owner have to pay for it b/c Bobby's parents aren't bothering to watch little Bobby? Sure, the owner might have insurance but if not, then the owner is stuck with it b/c Bobby's parents don't have to pay it and of course Bobby is too young to pay for it. At the same time, it sends Bobby a bad message if parents are made to pay for his actions. It tells little Bobby that "Nothing is his fault". He doesn't learn responsibility for his actions. Then by the time he's 18 or 19 he's gotten that "Not my fault" mentality going on. Also like you said, how do you make kids do what they are told. When I was growing up spankings and woodsheds were still in use, these days those things have been outlawed. Kids can accuse their parents of anything and the courts believe it as if it were gospel. [b]~~AT PEACE WITHIN~~ **STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS**[/b]