Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Parentand Child

Parent and Child. The duties of parents towards their children are mainly three; viz. (1) their maintenance, (2) their protection, and (3) their education. All these rest, more or less, on natural law. 1. Their Maintenance. The common law, which has proved in some respects deficient herein, has been supplemented by several statutes, the joint effect of which may be summarised as follows.

The father and mother, grandfather and grandmother, of any poor person not able to work shall maintain him or her at their own charges if of sufficient ability, according as the quarter sessions, or two justices in petty sessions, shall direct; and if a father runs away and leaves his children chargeable to a parish, the churchwardens and overseers shall, upon obtaining an order of magistrates for the purpose, seize his rents, goods and chattels, and dispose of them towards the required relief. Moreover, the parent himself in such a case may be punished under the Vagrant Acts; as he may also be, if, being able, he shall wilfully refuse or neglect to maintain his family, whereby they become chargeable. Also all the relief given under the poor laws to any children under the age of sixteen (such children not being blind or deaf and dumb) shall be considered as given to the father or (if he be dead) to his widow; and every person is made liable to maintain the children of his wife born before his marriage to her (whether legitimate or illegitimate) as part of his own family and is chargeable with all relief granted to them under the poor laws until they attain the age of sixteen or until the death of the mother. Again, by other statutes, in any case in which any child is detained in a certified t; reformatory" or "industrial" school, the parent, step-parent, or other person liable for his maintenance, if of sufficient ability, is made liable to contribute to his support, maintenance, and training therein to the extent of 5s. per week or such lesser sum as shall be directed. No person, however, is bound to provide a maintenance for his issue, unless where the children are impotent and unable to work either through infancy, disease or accident, and then is only obliged to find them in necessaries. 2. Their Protection. This duty is distinctly recognised in English jurisprudence, it being laid down in particular that a parent may maintain and uphold his children in their law-suits without being guilty of the offence of maintaining quarrels, and that he may also justify an assault and battery in defence of their persons. 3. Their Education. The third duty of parents is to give their children education suitable to their station in life, a duty which is also pointed out by reason. In our own country ample provision for the education of children has from the earliest times been made by our churches and chapels and by the multitude of wealthy persons and corporations; but by reason of the vast increase of the population the supply (at least of elementary schools) has never outstepped the demand, and this matter received the special attention of the Legislature in the year 1870 by the passing of the "Public Elementary Education Act," by which Act very extensive further provision was made for the education of the poorer classes of children, and the duty of seeing to their education was made compulsory on the parent, and in 1891, when education was practically made free.