As a responsible parent, you need to help your kids grow up strong and healthy. If your family is your priority, as it should be, then you’re there for your kids through whatever life throws at them. You need to put a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food in their bellies.
If you engage in certain activities, though, the law considers that child endangerment. You need to know what those activities are so you can avoid them. That way, you can keep your family together.
Unjustified Physical Suffering
Parents have a lot of discretion when it comes to raising their children. For instance, if you spank your kid when they do something wrong, there is little the law can do if you use an open hand and don’t leave a mark on them.
However, psychiatrists say you should use other disciplinary methods. That’s because:
- Kids that get corporal punishment often act out more
- Violence perpetuates itself
Instead of hitting your child, you can put them in time out, or you can take away their privileges. You might ground them and not let them play with their friends. You might take away their toys, video games, smartphone, etc., depending on how old they are.
If you go overboard hitting your child, and the legal system finds out, they will call that child endangerment. Any time you strike a kid with an object or leave a mark on them, that’s going too far.
Unjustified Mental Suffering
Maybe you don’t hit your child, but you punish them in needlessly cruel ways. Perhaps you:
- Lock them in a closet, attic, or basement
- Take away all of their toys and games indefinitely
There are many ways you might punish a misbehaving child, but you need to know when you’re crossing lines. The punishment should always fit the crime, and if your child doesn’t clean up their room after you told them to do so several times, it doesn’t make sense to lock them in a dark basement for a couple of days.
Doing so probably won’t kill or injure them, but it’s unnecessarily vindictive. If social services find out about it, they could take the child or children from you.
Depriving Them of Food and Water
If you punish your kid by taking away their food and water for many hours or days at a time, that’s child endangerment. Again, there’s nothing a kid can do that would justify you doing that to them.
As a parent, you must feed and clothe your child. You can’t starve them or deprive them of water, clothing, shelter, or anything along those lines.
You hear stories of parents locking their children in kennels, not feeding them for days, taking away their blankets, and other atrocious behavior. Any of that is child endangerment, and if the authorities catch you doing it, they’ll take away your kids.
Driving Drunk with Your Kids in the Vehicle
If you’re a parent, but you’re also a problem drinker, you need to control that behavior. You might drink before driving and have your kid in the car.
If the cops pull your vehicle over and you fail a breathalyzer, they can take your kids. You will probably need to attend some AA meetings or take other actions to satisfy the court that you can care for your children again.
If the police come to your house and find you lying drunk on the front lawn or passed out in the living room while your toddler is crying with a dirty diaper, they’re going to take them from you.
Doing Drugs with the Kids in the House
This can also happen if you’re doing drugs with the kids in the house. If you’re smoking crack or shooting heroin and you have kids on the premises, the law can take them from you.
Like problem drinkers, you’ll need to attend counseling and get yourself into a drug treatment program. If you value your family life and being a parent, you need to overcome these behaviors for your kids’ sake.
There are other situations the law considers child endangerment, like you allowing a kid to sit on your lap and steer a vehicle. You giving them drugs or alcohol also qualifies. There are more poor parent behaviors than you can even count, and you need to avoid all of them.
You need to put your children before yourself. That is what it means to be a responsible parent.