Monday, June 21, 2010

TOEFL Essay - Parents jailed for childrens mishaps.

Q: Underage drinking is an obvious problem in the US. Should parents be penalized (jail time, community service, fines) if their children are caught drinking?


Something like ninety percent of all teenagers will drink at some point prior to turning 21, the age in the US when we're legally allowed to consume alcoholic drinks. Therefore, most drinkers are mere children. This is common knowledge, and many people know it. However, lesser known is the new pressure to punish the parents of underage drinkers. We might fine them, make them pay somehow, such as community service and a likelihood of jailtime. What a terrible idea with suspicious outcomes for several reasons. Among these are issues of a finite lack of responsibility and an overestimation of familial influence.

Responsibility for the acts of another is a foundation of our legal code. In this way, conspirators are pressured to surrender their accomplices. Since we're all tried equally, it makes sense to bring everyone into the courtroom to face the law, which is blind. However, this applies to concrete crimes. These are concrete when a victim is present. Usually, a victim is there. Nonetheless, in crimes free of victims, these are called victimless crimes. Crimes where no one is present, and the victim is non-existent. Because no one can find an excuse for a victim, do we need to treat the criminal as someone who commits a crime? There are no major consequences for these actions in the absence of a target, and placing blame on anyone other than the minor law breaker seems misguided and inaccurate. The law is meant to instill accuracy, and hit the target with legal compensation. Imagine if parents were being blamed for every time their children were accomplices, or if they had to watch their offspring constantly for fear of fines? Should we blame parents for schools' plagiarism? How about for graffiti? When a student litters, should we pick up the parents? The fact is, parents control their children only so much, and we can no longer pretend that the family is the sole influence on childhood decisions.

With regard to this topic, that there are more influential factors in our lives of our children that are living. We cannot argue that there is much meaninglessness, that boundaries are fluff, and that this fluff disturbs us, especially if outside influences encroach on what we build in order to take it under, to drown it. The family role in upbringing is less than in decades past. Previous families were perhaps stronger, had better shows, stronger fabrics. In fact, the least of our concerns lie with parental oversight. If we blame parents for the result of whatever the peer-pressured and pop-cultured machine spits out, we're overlooking our kids' ability to be accountable and the necessary knowledge they need to judge. This knowledge interprets what peers and pop seek to transform them into. In sum, blaming parents only teaches children that they can further blame parents for their own drinking actions, as if they didn't control what their own hands put in their mouth.

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