Throughout the COVID pandemic, many parents have relaxed their control over their children’s activities in an attempt to help maintain the mental health of their children by allowing them more online and recreational freedom. It is important to remember that a parent can be found legally responsible for their children’s actions, even when the parent believes they are providing adequate supervision. If a child is engaging in an activity authorized by a parent, such as using social media, but the child commits a harmful act to someone else, the parent can be liable for not properly supervising how the authorized activity was performed. A Court will examine if the parent’s supervision of the child was reasonable under all of the relevant circumstances, and if not, then the parent may be liable for any harms caused by the child. Despite what many people believe, a parent is more likely to be liable for damages caused by a younger child than a teenager, as a parent’s duty to supervise is higher with younger children. Regardless of a child’s age, parents need to remember that they can be liable for damages if they do not reasonably supervise their kids.
FAQs: A Parent’s Liability for their Child
Are you responsible for your child’s actions?
Yes. You are legally required to supervise your child so he or she does not cause harm to others, to themselves or to property. For older children this includes unlawful activities—and, for example, if your child steals or damages property you, as the parent or legal guardian, are responsible.
Can parents be sued for child’s actions?
Yes. However, the other party would have to prove that you did not exercise reasonable care for your child, which resulted in damage to property or a person.