As violence by juveniles has increased in recent years, the debate about parents’ legal responsibility for children’s behaviour has escalated in much social research and public circles as well as within institutions.
Parents bear many responsibilities, among them providing for their child’s basic needs, ensuring the child is educated and protecting the child from harm. Also, parents are responsible for instilling moral values and social norms. By teaching lessons about right and wrong, the parent prepares the child to embody normative behaviours in a society whose law and order depends upon the individual exercise of good judgment, reason, and insight. When children are young, parents can exert a considerable amount of influence in compelling them to conform to the values and norms they have been taught. Parents reinforce positive behaviour and punish those actions that do not conform to expectations.
In most countries in the world, there are rules of state law that force parents to take responsibilities for their children’s misbehaviours. Some parents only know they give birth to their children, and they do not care about teaching knowledge for their kids. Children will not know how to do the right things and have misbehaviours. Thus, these rules are created to make parents more responsible for their kids. For example, in Vietnam, some rules force parents taking responsibilities for teaching as well as feeding until their children are 18 years old. Finally, if the parent observes violent behaviour and fails to intervene, then he or she is accountable according to the law. Reasonable care is thus seen to be more clear-cut.
Most parents exercise reasonable care and want their children to do good, not harm. When children, armed with values and knowledge, choose to harm others, then the responsibility for their actions rests squarely upon them.