Are parents responsible for their childrens' actions?

United States
October 17, 2008 6:49am CST
I have a friend. Her teen daughter was recently caught shoplifting from a local mall. While picking her daughter up, a saleswoman made a remark in regards to her parenting. She said" It was a shame that she didnt teach her child right from wrong".This upset my friend which got herself and the saleswoman into an altercation. I know my friend almost my entire life. She is a wonderful person and a great mother. She does teach her children everything she can, and trys her hardest to instill good morals in them. My question is, Do you think it is the parents fault when their child acts out like this? Or, do you think it is possible that some teens/children will just rebel regardless if their home is a loving,nurturing one? What do you think about this?
3 people like this
13 responses
@Ithink (10614)
• United States
17 Oct 08
Okay first of all I have been there and I refuse to take responsibility for my childrens actions all the time. I have 7 and 2 out of that 7 have gone the wrong way in life while the other 5 are good kids. Well truthfully 3 are adults but still my kids .. lol My 24 year old is a stay at home mom, married and never gets in troulbe. However my 23 year old from the age of about 13 on was one to get in so much trouble that we tried alot of programs and they didnt work either, he is now in jail. Is that my fault? No he was treated and taught the same as all the others and made his own choices as he still did as an adult that landed him where he is now. I have twins that are going to be 18 and one is in a home for girls as she is alot like the above son. The other twin is at home and doing in life what needs to be done and gets in no trouble. The rest havent been in to much trouble either. Mind you all children have been raised in the same household, in the same way, by the same parents and yes all are our biological children. After a certain age I really believe they do as they want and will do things that the parents can not control. No matter how we as parents may talk til we are blue in the face, ground or whatever, there are just some kids that do what they want.
• United States
18 Oct 08
Wow, thanks for that very thorough answer. Sounds as if you may be right.That is a scary though though. Knowing that no matter how well you teach your children and show them love and the right way to live, they are still gonna chose their own path. I guess that thought of being powerless really frightens me! But, I am sure that it at least helps to increase the chances of them succeding in life,because I have seen kids where their parents arent barely involved in their kids life and the majority of those kids are hanging on the streets and getting into constant trouble from a very young age. I suppose we just try the best we can, be the best parents and give them the best advice possible and just hope that they take it!
@Ithink (10614)
• United States
23 Nov 08
First of all thanks for the BR. At times it is true you can feel helpless but the thing is as parents we do have to admit that there is only so much that we can do, especially when they get to certain ages. I love all my children but yes I am dissapointed in the way the 2 have decided to go. I still talk to them and try to get them to see what you do effects everyone and everything at some point in life. Maybe one day they will get it. Again thanks and good luck to your friend.
• United States
18 Oct 08
I think the fact your friend got into an altercation in from of her child with a sales woman says a lot about your friend.
@dandan07 (1908)
• China
18 Oct 08
Here in my country, we have a word, saying that "it is the fault of the parents that failing in making children act in the right way!" I think no doubt that the parents should be responsible for their children's wrong behaviors, not teaching them in the right way or never take enough care on who they making friends with. You friend is wonderful. But that doesn't means her spending enough time with her children and teaching them all the things they needed. Acting in the good morals is a good way to make children learning. but it is far from enough. Correcting the wrong behavior at the right time is quite important.
@1hopefulman (46074)
• Canada
17 Oct 08
Sad when this happens. But a rebellions child will bring shame on their parents. This doesn't mean that the parents haven't done a good job. Just that after all the hard work, the child has not responded in a positive way. Other influences have taken the upper hand. I think, it's the same with God, He gets blamed when people do bad things. Thankfully with children, the parents are only responsible up to a certain age. Eventually they will have to pay for their own mistakes.
@emarie (5450)
• United States
17 Oct 08
parents aren't perfect. no parent can really predict how their child will be in the future. it is a real gamble at some points. most people who make comments like that don't have or raise children of their own so they just make those. i probably would have made a statement, but not got into an argument. actually if my child was caught shop lifting i would ask for them to be placed in a jail overnight because its not something i tolerate. now the point of are the parents responsible. in some ways, yes. but its not teaching the values of right or wrong. teens do things for many different reasons. i would have to look at the whole situation before coming to a conclusion onto why the tee would have shop lifted. some do it because of peer pressure, because they really want it, or just for the thrill of it. its not a question if they know its right or wrong. if they have no deductions of their actions being wrong, then there is something seriously wrong with them. most teens know if they shoplift that its wrong. it was just good that she didn't get away with it because if they get away once, they feel like they have more power. no matter how you were raised everyone can be prone to this effect. if you got away with something once, won't you try to do it again? parents can teach and teach all they want, most of this comes when they're still young and learning those values. BUT majority of the blame will lie with the person themselves. ultimately, they made the decision. parents can't hold their child's hand their whole life. they need to live and learn may it be easy or hard, but its something they have to learn. parents can be there to cushion the fall when things go wrong and help them evaluate the situation, but once you pass a certain age, you become in control of your own actions and take the consequences of them yourself.
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
17 Oct 08
Alot of ppl will see it as a result of upbringing but in reality it is a choice that the kid made...a bad one at that. A parent can be the most wonderful parent in the world and a kid can choose to screw up...by the same token a parent can be rotten at parenting offering no structure or upbringing and the child can still end up making good solid choices. To blame the parents everytime a child makes a mistake is to give the child the message "It's not your fault" which is totally untrue. [b]~~IN SEARCH OF PEACE WITHIN~~ **AGAINST THE STORMS, I WILL STAND STRONG** [/b]
@sid556 (30989)
• United States
17 Oct 08
It is unfair to put automatically put the blame on the parents. Kids do things that they should not regardless of how well they were raised. Likewise not all kids that come from bad homes are bad kids. At 16, she is almost an adult and should be held accountable for her own actions.
@belk89 (1103)
• Philippines
17 Oct 08
Parents is not responsible for everything that kids do. But sometimes if you spoil your kids they no longer fear anyone in the family. Somehow parents play a very important rule on raising kids but sometimes when the children are all grown ups peers and people around them could also influence them. There are also kids who are irresponsible and brat. It makes me upset when people blame the parents when in fact as daughter i have my personal choice in life. I think when children grows up they already knew what is right and wrong. But sometimes some of them are just inconsiderate of what there parents feel and doesnt care of what will happen to there life at all. So sad that people would right away blame parents for what there kids have become.
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
17 Oct 08
Parents can only do so much. Children have their own thoughts and feelings too though. I remember when my son was about 10, we were at the grocery store checking out. I thought it odd that I had two managers bagging my groceries but brushed it off. Then they followed me outside. Once out, they confronted me and my son asking me if I "forgot" to pay for something. I was embaressed and humiliated and said NO, of course not!!! Then they looked at my son who looked as white as a sheet. It seems he had pocketed several packages of baseball cards. I apologized and we gave them back and I made an appointment to speak to the manager the next day. I KNOW I taught my son right from wrong, but he chose to do this on his own. I don't think its fair to always blame the parents in these instances.
@quinnkl (1667)
• United States
17 Oct 08
Don't you just hate when people (sales-people, people walking around you or riding in same train or bus, etc) judge what is happening with your children when they know NOTHING about you or the child in question? That is so wrong. Parents are partially responsible for their children's actions, of course. We do have to teach them respect, manners, right from wrong, etc. BUT we have no control over the decisions they make as to whether to use what they are taught or even believe what they are taught when they are away from us. All teens and kids make bad decisions sometimes. Some make bad life decisions at this time too, irregardless of the way they were brought up. I like to believe that most kids are respectful of they way they are raised except for a few slip ups along the way. But, unfortunately, some are not. So always blaming the parent in these cases is just not fair!
• United States
17 Oct 08
It is the parents fault not fully but it is also prepressure.
@mensab (4204)
• Philippines
17 Oct 08
there are many factors that might have influened the child's action of shoplifting. one could be the parent's lack of interest and negligence in raising the child to be a better person. another factor could be the peer pressure of the child. you missed to mention what the child stole from the mall. if it is a trendy goods, then his/her action might have been influenced by the desire to highlight her/himself in the group. another factor could also be the personality and standing of the child. any of these factors could be the reason why the child did it. but the best way to know is to ask the child, why did s/he do it?
@carmela0210 (1591)
• Philippines
17 Oct 08
yeah think so in some aspects but not all the time, ayways everyone of us has its own freewills we do things because thats what we want to do, we should just be careful and cautious about it, but sometimes or mosre often it really start from the parents upbringing to their dhildren on how they raise them...happy lotting!!