The debates on whether parents should be responsible for the criminal actions of their children are continuing up to these days. It is no secret that there were cases when teenagers were engaged in underage drinking, possession, and use of drugs. Moreover, some young people commit more serious crimes like robbery, auto theft, and even rape and murder. When such incidents happen, some people claim that parents or official guardians should take responsibility for the actions done by their children.
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However, there is also another group of people who assert that teenagers should take responsibility for their crimes and be punished according to the law. Even though young adults under the age of 18 often viewed as human beings that are reasonable enough to understand what kind of actions they are performing, parents have a significant influence and control over their children’s activities. Therefore, parents should be held responsible for the criminal actions of their children.
From the very first day, parents are the most influential people in the life of the child. During raising a child, parents are the ones who explain basic moral norms, shape their character, and show the difference between what is right and wrong. They are the ones who are responsible for the environment in which their children are developing and with what kind of people they interact. According to Altintas and Bilici, childhood traumas are typical for the prisoners (2). At an early age, children should be raised in a comfortable environment where they are not subjected to any physical or psychological danger because it will have a negative effect on children’s actions in the future.
Parents cannot control and be aware of everything their teenage offspring does, and this is the moment when other people can influence the person. Some people believe that this can be a reason why parents should not be responsible for the criminal actions of their children. However, it is still the parent’s responsibility to maintain a trusting relationship and ask questions to be aware of what their teenage children are doing when he is not at home.
Teenagers can understand basic laws and obey them but their ability to make rational decisions is different from the one adults have. Scientists have found that adolescents act differently from adults because their brain changes throughout time. It is important to note that “a specific region of the brain called amygdala is responsible for immediate reactions and aggressive behavior” (Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making, 2016, para. 2).
This region develops early, while the frontal cortex that is responsible for reasoning develops later. This means that teenagers have a more emotional response to the problems. When parents create rules and force their children to obey them, children learn how to react and respond to issues or wrong choices they have. It has a positive effect on children’s decision-making skills.
To conclude, kids and teenagers are subject of the significant influence of their parents, who are mostly responsible for their happy childhood and comfortable living environment. Therefore, parents have a responsibility for the criminal actions of their children. If parents realize that they will be responsible for the actions of their children, they will be more engaged in raising their children and creating a comfortable environment for them.
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“Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.” AACAP. 2016. Web.
Altintas, Merih, and Mustafa Bilici. “Evaluation of Childhood Trauma with Respect to Criminal Behavior, Dissociative Experiences, Adverse Family Experiences and Psychiatric Backgrounds among Prison Inmates.” Comprehensive Psychiatry, vol. 82, 2018, pp. 100–107. Web.