Proposed law to jail negligent parentsMikey 4 comments
A new law set to go before parliament would see negligent parents who abandon their children to go gambling, drinking or shopping face up to 3 years in jail. The law applies to parents with children 12 years and younger.
As a parent with 2 toddlers, I am in 2 minds about this proposed law. On one hand I believe negligent parents do need to be punished, but putting them in jail can have devastating affects on a child. If it is an infant, a year or so away from their mother is long enough for them to completely forget their parent(s). And what happens in the situation when both parents are negligent? What happens to the child if the parents are sent to jail?
On the other hand, some parents are not fit to have children and taking a child out of an environment where they are constantly neglected (left in a car for example) could be beneficial to the child's future well being, as it protects them from further neglect and possible permanent physical damage or worse.
For the record, nothing sickens me more than parents who leave their kids in the car while they do the shopping or go into the garage to pay for petrol, or worse. Parents like that need a good slap across the chops and a kick in the teeth, a punishment I would be more than willing to oblige. One very hot day I found a toddler (about 2 years) and a child (about 5 years) in a car in the parking lot, windows down, doors unlocked, and parents nowhere to be seen. I was in total shock. I waited for the negligent moron to arrive some 3 minutes later and gave her a stern bollocking. She didn't even respond, the look on her face clearly indicating she knew she had done a bad thing, and just threw her shopping bag into the front seat and drove away. A few more minutes and I would have called Child Welfare.
I waited for her not because I wanted the satisfaction of lecturing, but because it's not uncommon for cars to be stolen here in Australia with the kids still inside, or for the kids to perish because of the intense heat inside a car. I did see her again months later at the same supermarket and I noticed she had both her children with her this time. I like to think my stern words sunk in, but I might be kidding myself.
I would like to hear your opinion on this proposed law. Good? Bad? Room for improvement?