Barbados Nation:- Parents should be held accountable for their children’s deviant behaviour, according to a lawman, but only in special circumstances.
Head of the Juvenile Liaison Scheme of the Royal Barbados Police Force, Sergeant Hallam Jemmott, in proposing this position highlighted a few examples where the parents should face the consequences.
He said if the parents were grooming the child to steal or to use and sell drugs, or knew the child was engaging in unsavoury behaviour but did nothing to curb it, then they should be held accountable.
He got some support from Magistrate Graveney Bannister, who also said parents should have to answer for their children’s deeds in specific circumstances. He said if a child injured someone or damaged property, the parent should be responsible for paying restitution.
Jemmott and Bannister were part of a panel at Cave Hill Wesleyan Holiness Church recently, along with president of the Barbados National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations, Shone Gibbs, and director of PAREDOS, Sheila Stuart. They also supported the idea that parents should be accountable, depending on the specifics of the case.
Jemmott said the Juvenile Liaison Scheme saw parents who, in some circumstances, tried their best but were impacted by other issues.
While noting parents had to bear the full consequences in instances of truancy, he said there could be underlying factors causing the problem. He gave the example of a child staying away from school for more than three consecutive weeks because she was being bullied. The parent prepared everything for the child to go to school but the child waited until the mother went off to work and stayed at home.
He also spoke of a parent who would take the child to school, see it go through the school’s gate, but the child left on the parent’s departure.
However, he said the major issue that surfaces is parents who have given up on being parents, with some deciding “I am done”. This was particularly so where the child had been delinquent for a long time and where other family members had also given up in frustration, Jemmott explained.
Stuart said some of the problems were caused by parents who engaged in deviant behaviour in front of the children and those who no longer cooperated with the schools