The modern age is a rather permissive age in terms of promiscuity and morality. Forty or fifty years ago, most families did not divorce so you had a mother and a father and their children. You were not supposed to have sexual intercourse before marriage because it could end with pregnancy. If you did commit the taboos of premarital sex and found yourself in the family way, it was the responsibility of those parents to get married, no matter how young they were. Of course, this was the societal norm. There were people who had sex and got pregnant and didn't get married. There were people who chose to terminate the pregnancy or to give the infant up for adoption, although the former was illegal until about thirty years ago. In the modern era, Roe v. Wade has ensured that women have the option of whether or not to keep a fetus or abort it. The tagline being, "My body, my choice." The woman has the right to choose whether or not she feels up to the responsibility of being a mother and yet the father has little say in the matter. If the woman terminates the child, then that is the end of it but if she keeps the child, the man is held financially responsible for that child. Deadbeat dads can find themselves thrown in jail and have their wages garnished for a child they did not want. Or a woman who bears a child at the request of the father and then leaves can be found to have a financial obligation as well. People who do not want to be parents and are more than likely unfit to be parents are forced into a role for which they are ill-suited. The question then becomes a matter of whether or not the federal government has the right to impose on the choice of the parents and the answer is that if a person chooses to participate in the child's life, then they must assume responsibility for that child. If they do not want the responsibility of the child, then they should have to relinquish their parental rights as well.
There are people in the world who should not be parents, at least in the moment that they become pregnant or impregnate someone. Perhaps they are too young. Perhaps they are interested in some illegal activities that would be a danger to the child, such as drugs. Perhaps they are just too selfish to become responsible for another human being. If any of these is the case, then a person needs to do what is right by the child which would be to relinquish their parental rights to that child. It is unfair to be a father or mother on paper to a child who will never see the person or who will not benefit either emotionally or financially from that "parent." Deadbeat parents are, by definition, people who have genetically fathered or mothered children and then do nothing to help that child survive in the world.
You cannot turn on a television drama without dealing with characters from a broken home, from a single-parent family, or from a home where the young people have no supervision and consequently get into lots of trouble, both legal and moral. The involvement of a parent is directly linked to how their offspring will turn out when they themselves reached adulthood. The law of the nation takes a direct stand with regard to the participation of the parent in the life of their child. As stated before, parents who do not meet their financial responsibilities to take care of their children will inherently face a judge. This lack of responsibility can occur even before the child is born. A mother might drink or do drugs while her child is in the womb because she is too selfish to take care of another being if it affects her own happiness. A father might do the same thing, exposing the fetus to second-hand smoke. Again, both sexes should be held accountable for their crimes against this baby, but in most cases the mother is usually the only one held accountable for the child in utero.
On the other side of the spectrum, parents have another responsibility to their children: the responsibility to be kind to their children and treat them with love and affection. To this end, the government has established laws which punish unfit parents. People who abuse their children either physically, emotionally, or sexually, will face criminal charges for their actions. The law of the United States demands that both parents take the responsibility over the correct and decent raising of their child. Even in a household where only one parent is abusive, the other parent will be held accountable for allowing the abuse to continue. This is how it should be. Whereas the abuser should face criminal charges, the enabling parent should face culpability as well and at the very least have to undergo psychological help in order to ensure that they never put their child in a similar situation ever again.
Since the founding of the United States of America, the legislature has ensured the safety and proper upbringing of the nation's children by creating laws to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Some of the first laws passed concerned the establishment of criminal sanctions against any parent who abused, neglected, or abandoned their children. Laws from the beginning also established the need for children to attend schools and regulations regarding parents who did not financially support their offspring (Davidson). The history of the United States indicates that there has always been a stress on parental responsibility. The adults are held financially and morally accountable for the activities of their children and in ensuring that the parents do not retard the potential for their child to become a successful adult through lack of schooling.
Besides financial responsibility, parents have also been blamed for the actions of their children. If a minor commits a crime then the parent is usually held responsible. The parent is blamed for their lack of supervision and held financially responsible for any damage perpetrated by the child. Many parents' rights groups complain that this is unfair, that since they themselves have committed no crime, they should not be forced to pay any restitution. In several states, there are laws which dictate that if a child commits a series of crimes and the parents take no action to curb the behaviors, then they can be held criminally responsible as well. One such case occurred in 1996 when Susan and Anthony Provenzino were found guilty of refusing to "exercise reasonable control over their children" (Parental). These laws were created in response to a growing trend in society in which parents are letting their children run amok without trying to control them in any way. It has been proven through scientific research and study that children who have involved parents and whose activities are supervised by an authority figure will be far less likely to get into trouble than children with limited parental involvement. "Penalties for violation of these laws include increased participation by parents in juvenile proceedings; financial responsibility for restitution payments and court costs; financial responsibility for detention, treatment, and supervisory costs; participation in treatment, counseling, or other diversion programs; and criminal responsibility and possible jail time for parents found negligent in their supervision" (Parental). Since 1846, there have been laws which hold parents directly responsible for the actions of their children. These laws, called tort liability laws, would vary from state to state but each mandated that it would be the adult who was accountable for any damages committed by the minor (Parental). This all goes back to the original argument; if a person…