Responsible parents are the only kind of parents we want for all children to have.
If parents are let off the hook for things their children do, they can’t show their children how to deal with life’s inevitable challenges. They also model to their children that there are ways to get away with things, and not have to pay natural consequences for behavior.
All choices, good, and bad, come with a consequence. Sometimes even doing the right thing comes with a negative consequence. Life is unpredictable. Lessons are learned from it. It is only when we blame others that we lose our focus of control, and our power.
If a child drops a book upon another’s child’s foot, and is blamed for misconduct, it does not matter whether the child was trying to hand the other a book out of kindness, or malice. The consequence, which as we have all experienced, although not always fair, is REAL. Dealing with it directly is always the best option.
Having the child go through the challenges of unfair, and fair, outcomes is a good life lesson for all human beings. While meeting about the incident, the child is given an opportunity to present his or her case for guilt or innocence.
An outraged parent slamming a phone down and refusing to meet about the incident just teaches the child that it is “okay to self-righteously act belligerently.”
The child has just learned a lesson in powerlessness that teaches the following:
“It is okay to let outrage and indignant refusal to cooperate in an investigation take possession of me. It is okay for me to just blame all external people, place, circumstances, and events, and take no power or control over the influence of my own life.”
Let us take a more severe example. In some childhood tragedies, one child accidentally shoots a companion. Should the parent be responsible to the family who lost their child to the other child? Yes. Although, both families will forever already have a lifetime loss to deal with, part of maturity is facing things directly. Thankfully, most incidents (which are far too numerous and easy as a result of adult irresponsibility) most accidents with guns are not fatal. Yet, in those cases where they are fatal, there is every reason for the parents of a minor to have to face full on consequences of something their child played a part in an unfortunate unfolding of events.
This is simply because, in the moment of conception of creating that child, a man and a woman, unless they are cowards, are fully accepting all consequences of the future deeds and misdeeds of their children. Even if raped, a mother, must decide whether she is ready to take on the consequences of not only all her choices, but the choices of her child to come. If this sounds unfair, that is because life is supremely unfair. Hence, there is rape, for example.
It is even more heart-breaking in the example of adoption. A loving couple may adopt a very damaged, and violence prone child. Still, they are responsible, even though they did not contribute genes, they signed on for full responsibility.
All people have to face the consequences of all choices and not run away from life’s challenges. When we have the courage to work through even the most fearful situation, we have discovered the only path to destroy fear, and that it to confront it, face it, and be as diplomatically accepting of all responsibility for even the slightest influence we may have had in the event.