Photo Credit: Julia Wheeler and Veronika Laws/Photodisc/Getty Images
We've all had those moments as a parent where your kid just totally embarrasses the crap out of you and you wonder where you went so wrong. You feel like it's all your fault, but it's hard to know where nurture ends and nature starts.
But what if in the eyes of the law, it really was your fault -- and you could be legally penalized for your child's bad behavior?
Get this: Moms and dads in Monona, WI near Madison, now have to pay if their kids bully and they don't fix it. A new city ordinance actually tickets parents who refuse to address their child's bullying behavior. The penalty is $117 for a first offense, and $177 for the second within the same year.
Lawmakers say the law is only to be used sparingly and as a last resort, and parents won't be held liable as long as they are trying to address the problem with their child. "Sometimes you'll knock on someone's door and they won't want to talk to you -- their kids are perfect, they could never do anything wrong," Monona Police Chief Wally Ostrenga told Fox11. "This is for those times when we get the door slammed in our faces."
We're all for getting tough with bullies, and it sounds like the law is intended for only those extreme cases where the bullied party has no other recourse. But as a parent of small children, who sometimes act less than lovely, despite my best parenting efforts, this law doesn't sit right right with me. Are parents always to blame for their child's behavior? Kids have bad days and tough phases, and they're not always a reflection of how you’re parenting. This is especially true with teenagers, who are huge swayed by friends, media and influences beyond a parent's control.