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You love watching your child grow and explore the world. You can’t wait to answer every question he or she has about nature or explain why the sky has its brilliant blue color.  But now your child is old enough to start questioning rules. He wonders why he should do as you say, or she feels that certain laws shouldn’t apply to her. Rather than simply commanding your son or daughter to obediently follow authority figures without question, teach him or her the “why” behind the law.  When your children understand what laws do and don’t do for them, they can gain a respect for the law and make sound decisions about when and how to obey rules.

Encourage Safety

Good laws need to protect the citizens who follow them. By restricting certain behaviors, they can reduce the likelihood of injury and damage. For example, speed limits in certain areas help people drive more cautiously and pay more attention to obstacles in the road, preventing crashes. Or seatbelt laws encourage you to take extra safety precautions that protect you if you become involved in an accident.

Settle Disputes

Most people fight now and again, but not everyone can resolve their arguments peacefully. Each person has a different idea of what’s fair, so they need outside help to settle the dispute. Lawyers and mediators will direct the conversation so everyone can decide the best outcome for those involved.

Doesn’t Take Away Your Freedom to Choose

Laws may restrict you from engaging or participating in behavior that harms yourself or others. However, you (and your child) will always have the ability to choose when to follow a law. You can say “no” and refuse to cooperate. But of course, your children will also need to understand that they cannot choose the consequences of their actions. If they don’t follow certain laws, they’ll need to know the effects that choice will have on the rest of their lives.

Doesn’t Always Protect You

Not every law works out as the original writers planned. And some older laws don’t make a lot of sense. For example, in Galveston, Texas, any person who sits on the sidewalk may receive a fine of up to $500. As a result, you may accidentally violate a law you have never heard about, and you may suffer surprisingly extreme consequences. To ensure the law works in your favor, you need a lawyer familiar with local and federals laws, like Collin County Lawyer, Jeremy Rosenthal, who can fight for you in court.

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Keep in mind that this information may be difficult for some younger children to grasp. You may need to make simpler comparisons and create more basic anecdotes to help your children understand the information.  And remember to be patient: your child will need the chance to think through these concepts before they can internalize them.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

2 thoughts on “4 Things Parents Should Teach Their Kids About Respecting the Law”
  1. I love that you included teaching to settle disputes. I really think that if more parents taught their kids conflict resolution skills, there would be so many fewer cases in court and a lot more mediation! I will definitely be teaching my children these skills.

  2. One of the hardest things for me to teach my daughter is that she’s never “forced” to make a decision. I agree that the law doesn’t take away our freedom to choose. We may not like the consequences, but it’s still our choice.

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