Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC
I don't know about you, but the world is a much different place, now, than when I was a youngster. The things that my son understands, at 7, is at a much advanced level than when I was a child. But, even at a very young age, I understood the consequences of my actions, mainly because it was instilled in me by my parents, my teachers, and the adults that I grew up around. It is a real shame that all children do not have that advantage. What I see now, are many parents and a lot of society making excuses for all sorts of abhorent behavior and finding reasons why their children should not be punished, rather than teaching that rights come with responsibility for one's actions. As another thread suggested, it is a very sad world that we are living in.
I'm not arguing about right and wrong, you should do this and shouldn't do that...I'm pretty sure the 9 year old girl knows that killing is "wrong." but, at 10 years old I knew that talking back to my parents was wrong, but i did it anyway, in large part because I didn't understand, fully, the effect my actions were having on them or why they would or would not do certain things. Kind of tough to spell out in an email, I know, but I don't care what kind of parents you have, your upbringing, your environment, etc. The idea of cause-effect is a tough one for children of any age to grasp. It's not so much WHAT'S wrong, but WHY it's wrong.
It's why children are deemed to lack the capacity to make important decisions about themselves, why they are not able to enter into contracts (or may back out of them at any time if they so choose), why they can't vote or drive...they lack the capacity to understand the full effects of the choices they make, even those they know to be 'wrong."
I'm in no way trying to excuse what the 9 year old did, it's absolutely horrible, and anyone that behaves like that obviously has some serious mental defects. But I'm also not going to say that, at age 9, she has made a decision that should deprive her of her free life for the remainder of her life, either.