Should Underage Children Be Held Accountable For Their Actions?

A bunch of kids

via Tom Copeland

A bunch of kids

Underage children should be held accountable for their actions, but at an age where they can tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. With many teenagers, their actions should reflect on themselves and not their parents, as, at their age, they should know whether their actions could potentially hurt people. However, younger children might not know if they are doing something wrong; either because their parents haven’t taught them, or because they don’t understand how their actions affect others. For younger children, it is best to punish them for their actions so that they know not to make the same mistakes again, and older children, should be held accountable for their actions.

Depending on the severity of the situation, underage children should be given the proper punishment. If their actions are small and don’t make a huge difference to others around them, a minor punishment would be appropriate. With a more significant action that may even be considered a crime, it is best to instill a much more significant penalty. When criminal behavior becomes apparent, parents become liable for their child’s actions if they are between the ages of 8 and 17. Although they are considered responsible until their child turns 18, there are some cases where minors, 14 years or older, can be treated as an adult. This law is only applied in California, based on how severe the crime is.

 The debate of whether underage children should be held accountable for their actions isn’t trying to justify the acts they make and excuse them from it, but rather to see if the response differs based on their age. It’s obvious that an adult should be held accountable for any actions they take, but in the case of a minor, people have mixed opinions on what should be done. Although others think that all underage children shouldn’t be responsible for their acts, most teenagers can distinguish right from wrong, so they understand the extent of their actions. If teens aren’t held accountable for what they do, it’s likely that they will continue to repeat the same actions and expect to get out of the situation without any consequences. 

Overall, with all the thoughts on whether or not underage children should be held accountable for their actions, it’s best to hold them accountable if they are at the age where they understand if their actions are acceptable.