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Should parents be held responsible for their kid's actions? At what age does it end?

Posted by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 8:32 AM
  • 37 Replies

12-Year-Old School Shooter's Grieving Parents Could Be Forced to Pay for Deaths

by Jeanne Sager

sparks middle schoolPolice are slowly shifting through the horror of the Sparks Middle School shooting that claimed the lives of hero teacher Michael Landsberry and the 12-year-old shooter. Chilling 911 calls have surfaced featuring the panicked voices of young kids from the Nevada school. And now we may have two people forced to pay for this tragedy: the shooter's parents.

Of course, they're already paying an emotional price. Their son is dead, and what's more, he's responsible for a national tragedy. But criminal charges could be coming to make their nightmare that much more intense.

Police have identified the unidentified shooter's gun as a Ruger 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, and authorities say they believe the 12-year-old got that gun from his parents.

We could talk about responsible gun ownership until we're blue in the face here, and the fact remains that responsible gun owners lock up their guns so their kids can't get hold of them. Period.

But how long can parents be expected to keep their kids on the straight and narrow? To know everything it is they might get up to?

This was not a 7-year-old. This was a seventh grader!

We've all known devious 12-year-olds smart enough to find a key and unlock a gun cabinet. If that's what happened, if this kid snuck that gun out of the house, is it fair to hold his parents responsible? Is it realistic to have expected them to check his backpack every morning like you would a kindergartner?

What if he was a bit older? Thirteen instead of 12? How about 16?

As parents, we are often looked at by non-parents and expected to "get control of that kid," but every parent has experienced that flash of fear that their "control" over their kid won't last forever, CAN'T last forever. We can start them on the right path and give gentle nudges back toward it, but in the end, we can only do so much.

A tragedy has happened at Sparks Middle School, and right now we are all looking for someone to blame. But blaming them for what their child did won't undo what has been done.

It would behoove us all to remember that this boy's parents are already suffering. They've already paid the ultimate price.

Should parents be held responsible for their kid's actions? At what age does it end?

by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 8:32 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Chelsey191
by Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 8:33 AM
1 mom liked this
Yes until they are 18
Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting Cafe Steph:

Should parents be held responsible for their kid's actions? At what age does it end?

Parents are not responsible for the actions of others.

Parents are responsible for their own actions, including whether or not they took reasonable precautions to guard against risks they were able to forsee, that they had a duty to guard against.

WhyPiggy
by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM
1 mom liked this

 This is a tough one...yes, parents are responsible for their kids. But, like the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. As the mother of a 13 year old boy, there are plenty of times when I scratch my head and wonder what possessed my son to do/ say certain things, especially when I know it wasn't something we approve of and have been over in our house. We have morals and values, eat together every night, don't let him play violent video games, monitor his iPod, he doesn't have FB and rarely uses the computer, we go to church...even with all that, he has made some decisions that I know we haven't taught him and had hoped he would've picked better. This is a tough call....

stormcris
by Christy on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:02 PM
2 moms liked this

Alright so should not the families of the children who bullied likewise be responsible in these deaths? It is curious to me. Bullies are held responsible for when they drive a child to take their own life but not when they drive a child to take the lives of others plus their own? Responsibility is very far reaching when going down such a road.

No the parents should not be responsible.

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:15 PM
1 mom liked this

We are responsible for our kids actions, up until they are 'of age'.  The degree in which we are responsible, held responsible legally, varies depending on the circumstances.

We do not know how this child got a hold of the gun.  It's clear the gun belongs to the parents.  They are responsible for that weapon and any one who may get a hold of it.

The weapon in my home, because we often have friends of my daughter's over, is locked away when I am not home.  My daughter does not even know where it is.  Better to be safe than sorry.  It isn't that I do not trust her friends, there are only two ever in this home when I am not home and I've known the girls for years.........but even so, I am responsible and I will be damned if I will not do every thing within my power to ensure MY weapon is kept away from every one until such time as I feel the need to have it close by.

KenneMaw
by Bronze Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:58 PM
1 mom liked this

My initial reaction is to say until age 17/18 - whenever they can be charged as an adult with a crime, but then you think, what crimes - burglary, arson, rape??  It seems like there is an age when 'kids know better' and it seems that is age 13, but I am not sure. 

In the instance of the school shooting, the kid could have known where the key was to the gun.  I do think it would be fair for the his parents to pay for the funeral and medical expenses of those killed and injured.   If their son was 16 and driving, they would be responsible for any accident he would have, so why not something like this?

babyspots17
by Bronze Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM

My answer would be if the parent knew there were issues and the outcome was possible violence then I think the parents are accountable in some way.  How that would be proven or what punishment should be taken I have no idea. 

pamelax3
by Gold Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 2:58 PM

 where did it say this child was bullied?


Quoting stormcris:

Alright so should not the families of the children who bullied likewise be responsible in these deaths? It is curious to me. Bullies are held responsible for when they drive a child to take their own life but not when they drive a child to take the lives of others plus their own? Responsibility is very far reaching when going down such a road.

No the parents should not be responsible.


 

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Oct. 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting Cafe Steph:

Should parents be held responsible for their kid's actions? At what age does it end?

Parents are not responsible for the actions of others.

Parents are responsible for their own actions, including whether or not they took reasonable precautions to guard against risks they were able to forsee, that they had a duty to guard against.


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juno1
by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 3:34 PM
1 mom liked this

This is a dicey topic... if parents honestly do everything in their power to keep their kids on the straight and narrow then they have done their best...they can't control their behavior when they are not there.  THAT being said... There is no reason in hell that 7th grader should have known where the key was.  

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