Being a parent is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs that any person can do. Raising a child in this crazy world takes skill, patience and a lot of work – it can also get you trouble with the law if you are not careful! What are the legal issues that parents face? Some might not be quite as obvious as you would think, and it’s best to learn now rather than find out after it is already too late. The following paragraphs will illustrate a few big things to avoid in order to keep your children safe and stay out of legal trouble.
Here is a big one – spanking, or corporal punishment, is such a controversial topic that just the very mention of it can get people riled up. In some states, spanking is entirely illegal and physically punishing your children in a public place can get you arrested. Whether or not this seems fair is irrelevant – parents need to use caution. While some states completely ban spanking, other states allow even teachers to use corporal punishment in the classroom. In short, spanking can indeed keep your kids attitudes and behaviors in check – but it can also leave you sitting in a jail cell.
Don’t Leave Kids alone in Vehicles
It seems rather obvious, and although most parents say that they would never do this, exceptions do get made frequently. Leaving your child unattended in a car – whether it is running or not – is never alright and can end up getting you reported for being a bad parent if you get caught doing this. Keep your kids with you – at all times. Similarly, leaving your young ones alone at home has led to a host of problems – even if it is a hassle, it is better to take your kids with you than risk the consequences.
Seatbelts and Safety Seats
Kids need to be buckled up at all times, or properly situated in their safety seat. Most parents know the importance of keeping their young ones in car safety seats, yet a majority do not know how to properly use them. Kids should be in some type of safety seat until at least 7 years old according to the Department of Motor Vehicles and some states require booster seats for children up to the age of eight.
Drinking with your Kids
You may have heard that it is ok for your kids to have an alcoholic drink or two as long as you are around to supervise them. This is actually not true at all – alcoholic drinks are banned in virtually every state. Yes, there are exceptions, but unless you are an expert in the law, permitting your children to drink can put you in some very tough situations.
Speaking of drinking, did you know in many states it is against the law to breastfeed in public? It may seem like your God given right, but the government does not necessarily agree – so be careful.
Depending on your place of residence, there may be laws in space regulating the minimum age of baby sitters. Even if it is a neighbor or friend of the family, this can get you in trouble with the law. Again, find out what or if there are age limitations in your area – it is always better to lean on the safe side when your children are concerned.
There are many grey areas when parenting and the law enter the equation which makes it very important to research local laws and regulations. Being overly cautious about these matters is a good thing and more important if you are getting divorced as any trouble with the law will make your situation worse with child support lawyers. You need to be there for your children, and facing legal headaches is something that you can easily avoid using the aforementioned tips.