Over the past couple of years, child violence has been a major topic in American society. The continual school shootings represent a crisis in the raising of American children. This problem must be addressed with the utmost of urgency and in the most straightforward fashion. The resolution to this problem lies with the parents of the children committing these atrocities. In order to end these horrible acts of violence the parents of the children committing the crimes must be held accountable. Accountability by law seems to be the only way for societies wants and needs to be enforced. Children are born innocent and it is the parent s responsibility to instill them with good morals and to know the difference between right and wrong. Parents also maintain the ability to enforce their rules while their children live in their household and their rules should include not breaking the law.
When children are born they are virtually blank sheets of paper. Human babies possess nearly zero instinctual skills and must learn everything from the environment around them. Parents are the primary force in this environment. The parents determine exactly what goes on that blank sheet of paper at each stage of development (CDI). Parents have control over the behavioral development of their children. If parents do not provide the source for the attention and information babies need in their formative years it is unlikely the babies will be able to get it from anywhere else. And it can only be expected that if the child was not provided with the necessary information, then the child will lack the necessary skills to make socially correct decisions.
Parents and the media are usually quick to blame other social institutions for the actions of the children. Over the past couple of decades teenage activities such as rock music, Dungeons and Dragons, and now video games have burdened the brunt of these accusations. However if these subjects truly cause teenagers to bring guns to school and shoot all their classmates then these items should be withheld from the kids. It falls on the parents to control access to these subjects. Many parents feel that they do not possess this control, this false excuse only demonstrates a lack of involvement in their children s life. Parents must have control over what happens in their own household. They have the ability to take away their children s stereos and install passwords on their computers. Parents also must be able to control what their kids are doing away from the house. While this is much more difficult it should be achieved through the proper development of the children. The parents have to take an active involvement in knowing where their children are going and whom they are hanging out with. And if the parents learn that their children are participating in activities that they should not be, then the parents need to take actions to prevent it.
Some parents again complain that they have no way of knowing what their children are doing outside of the house and even if they did they would not have any resources to prevent it. This statement again reflects an excuse showing a lack of initiative on the parents behave. There are many free public resources teaching parents what to look out for and what to do in the event those problem signs begin to occur. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has a comprehensive website detailing the warning signs of children in trouble. The site also provides suggestions on how parents can prevent these possible problems from developing into greater ones. The website s articles on children s violent behavior strongly support the theory that the child s early development will have a great impact on the child s behavior during adolescence. The articles place great emphasis on monitoring child s viewing of violence on TV/videos/movies and do not place the blame on those institutions themselves (AACAP).
The responsibility of the parents to provide the proper upbringing and control of their children must be enforced. The only way to enforce societies wants and needs is through the law. When the Columbine High School shooting took place, thirteen states had laws making parents criminally liable for the actions of their children (Walker). Since that incident a number of other states have begun to enact similar laws. A great variance exists in the requirements, limitations and consequences of these laws. Some of them have very little power, such as a South Carolina judge ordering a mother and daughter to be tied together by a two-foot rope (US News). Other carry much more weight such as liability for up to $300,000 in damages. Although the proper level of punishment must still be determined, almost all cases in which some punishment was enforced led to a positive reaction. The general trend found so far seems that the more effective punishments appear to be less criminal ones. This emphasizes that parents need to educate themselves on how to properly raise and control their children, unfortunately many parents need a court order to proceed along this course of action.
Parents have to be held responsible for the actions of their children. Parents are the people who create their children. As a society, we cannot stand by while parents choose to raise their children in an uninformed fashion and ignore the fact that their children may be developing deviant behaviors. The information parents need to be able to determine if their children are beginning to go down the wrong roads is readily available as is the information parents may need to help their children steer away from these socially unacceptable behaviors. Parents also have the ability to control their children. They can stop actions in their own homes and they must be involved in their children s lives to tell what is happening outside the home. It is unfortunate, but truly necessary that law enforces these responsibilities. Today s parents do not seem to be responding by any other means. This is demonstrated by the fact that even though American society has recently seen a number of teenage and child related tragedies, they seem to continue without recourse. Hopefully one day these tragedies will no longer occur, but that can only happen if the parents become responsible.