In order to protect society from crimes and the negative impact of individuals, the state elects and adopts appropriate laws. However, this area is not completely universal, since in some cases it is difficult to bring to justice. According to the norms, parents should be held responsible for the crimes of the child, since he cannot yet be fully aware of his actions. However, such a rule cannot be interpreted as unambiguously positive, since this can often be unfair. Based on this, it is necessary to analyze why parents should not be punished for the misdeeds of their children.
Responsibility for Children’s Crimes
First of all, it should be noted that a crime is an act that is completely guilty and with malicious intent. According to this principle, each crime should be considered individually, but children rarely commit such acts on the basis of an intentional violation of the law. Adolescents are often characterized by inattention or carelessness in this context, so it is impossible to automatically determine their actions as criminal (Tang 79). It makes sense to explain to the child that the incident is socially dangerous, and that this should not be done (Kratcoski and Kratcoski 56). If these warnings are ignored, the child can already be interpreted as knowledgeable and malicious intent can be detected, which means that they can be held accountable.
Secondly, criminal law works with socially dangerous elements whose actions are aimed at causing harm to people. Incorrect or ineffective parenting of a child cannot be a guilty act in relation to society. This does not mean that the parents are not completely involved in the crime, but they cannot be in the status of criminals. This leads to the fact that individuals cannot be held criminally liable for the fact that a crime was committed by another, albeit their own person (Kratcoski and Kratcoski 98). In turn, it is the child who forms the obligation to be punished for their own unlawful or dangerous behavior.
Opponents of this point of view are sure that in a situation of a committed crime, the perpetrator must be identified and punished. This is true, but it does not predetermine the criminal responsibility of the parents (Tang 50). The guilty person in the analyzed context is always the child, which means that from a certain age and in accordance with the established norms, he independently bears responsibility (Cave 15). In the event that the individual is young, then it is necessary to apply other sanctions that are less severe, but retain the nature of punishment. For example, it can be realized as educational conversations, compensation for damage, ignoring which will lead to bringing the child to criminal liability (Kratcoski and Kratcoski 37). Thus, irresponsibility and permissibility to break the law are eliminated, since the offender will be punished one way or another, which means that justice will be restored.
Based on the foregoing, parents should not be punished for the misconduct and crimes of their children. This is explained by the fact that the parents themselves did not commit acts that could be criminalized, which means that they are not guilty. In turn, this does not mean that the state should ignore and forgive the crimes of minors. It is necessary to develop or improve the mechanism of influencing children in such a way that they are aware of the danger of their own actions. This is equivalent to emancipation, which is, equating a child in the context of criminal responsibility with an adult, which leads to justice.
Cave, Emma. The Mother of All Crimes. Human Rights, Criminalization and the Child Born Alive. Taylor & Francis, 2018.
Kratcoski, Peter S. and Kratcoski, Lucille D. Juvenile Delinquency. Theory, Research, and the Juvenile Justice Process. Springer International Publishing, 2019.
Tang, Commie M. Children and Crime. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018.