Friday, June 27, 2008

Parental Responsibility

How long is a parent responsible for the actions of their child? Obviously a parent is not responsible for the actions of their 30 year old offspring, but what about a 16 year old? Or a 10 year old? I am not sure, since I don't hold anyone responsible for the actions of another.

You can try to instill responsibility and self-governance in your kids, but that doesn't mean it will "take". Even a toddler has the ability to do things that the parents disapprove of. Sometimes without the knowledge of even the most vigilant parent. The tots don't yet have the ability to accept the consequences of their actions, but does that mean their parents automatically are responsible? Even if the parents did nothing wrong and did the absolute best they could? To punish a person for the actions of another is a collectivist idea; one that disturbs me on a deep level, even if the person is assumed to be the "owner" of the other person (which seems to be the assertion when parents are punished for the actions of their kids).

I think about this because my family gets very disturbed by my activism. I am way beyond the age where my parents would reasonably be held accountable for the things I say and write, yet they still feel that what I say, in these blogs and in letters-to-editors, sometimes reflects badly on them.