‘Parental liability’ refers to a parent’s obligation to pay for the damages caused by their children. It is the legal term to refer when a child makes a damage and the parents are forced by the law to support the financial part of the damages made by the child.
Being a parent means a lot of obligations and efforts which start from the moment the child is born or adopted. A parent must offer his child clothes, food, education, medical care and a shelter and the moment a parent cannot afford this basic needs of the child he or she can be accused by negligent.
The parents must assume their children behaviour and be responsible for their lack of education which may cause damages or problems to other people. The education a child gets at home becomes his way to act and think in life. If the education is right and the parents are responsible people giving a good example to the child, he or she becomes a law abiding citizen.
From this point of view, laws are similar in all the countries and parents are responsible for all malicious or wilful property damages done by their underage or minor child. The age a child is considered an adult and responsible for his own acts in the eyes of the state law is 18 in most of the countries (in Europe is 14 or 18 but in the USA the age is 21).
For example in Australia judge asked the parents to pay 60.000 dollars ,even if they haven’t committed any act of vandalism and the judge was aware of this fact : their children were the ones to blame but the parents were the ones that must pay for the act.
Another example in Russia where parents can pay huge amounts of money if the children ‘are left unsupervised and get into zones where their access is denied’. In Romania, if the child makes fake bomb calls to a public institute the parents are accused and asked to pay for their children behaviour.
The most common act of vandalism caused by underage children at an international level is destroying of private property. If the child is between 9-14 years in Russia and Europe the adults are the ones to blame for the damage unless they can prove that a proper supervision was made on the child. If the child is between 14 and 18 he must assume the act of vandalism and the damages he or she has caused.
The huge amount of money parents are asked to pay in different countries for their child’s actions may be considered a hard and drastic solve to the problem but it has been statistically proven that parents take their obligations more seriously. For example when parents were asked to pay big amounts of money and children even sent to juvenile jail for school absenteeism it has been noticed a 67% rise in school presence.
It must not come as a surprise that there are two sides of ‘parental liability’. There are the people that consider that parents should be accused and asked to pay for the damages cause by their children because they consider that a child is a parent’s responsibility. On the other hand there are the ones that believe it is unfair to be responsible for other human’s actions.
As a conclusion I consider ‘parental liability’ a good way for parents to be more responsible if not from their own will but from the fear of being accused and sentenced to pay financial feeds for the education they have given to their child.