It is commonly known that one of the Ten Commandments is to “honour thy father and thy mother”. But, a bill is pending Spain could make this moral imperative a new law. A bill has been advanced by lawmakers that would require children under the age of 18 to take, “co-responsibility in caring for the home and performing household tasks regardless of age and gender.” In addition, children would, “also have to be respectful to their parents and teachers, and have a positive attitude towards learning.” The draft of the law, however, doesn’t set out penalties for children who are found guilty of violating the law.
The rules come under a section of the law called “the rights and duties of children”. This law is part of a wider child protection law, that, strives to establish a list of known pedophiles and make it compulsory for adults to report possible crimes against children or face being charged with a, “crime of omission,” among other things. Married Spanish men can also face legal sanctions for failing to share in the house work. This was part of an update in 2005 to the marriage contract used for the country’s civil ceremonies added a clause requiring men to share in household duties, and the care of children and elderly relatives.
Many parents in the United States would love to have this law enacted here. But, in all seriousness, what kind of burden or expectations would this place on children. There is a fine line between being responsible respectful children who pull their weight in the home, and kids being allowed to be kids. Children should be respectful to their parents and help out around the house, but they cannot be expected to be used all the time to do work. Children need to play, grow, and develop in other ways. To me this law, if abused, has a risk of being akin to slavery.
How far will this law go? Would this law create a slippery slope? What does “refusing” to do chores actually mean? What do you think about the law? Do you think other nations will follow suit? What should the penalty be for children who violate this law?