Free to Be Accountable

dosomething.org

Self-Care Tip #97 – Protect your privilege to be accountable and your freedom of choice.  Be a friend to yourself.

Number Four on Bella’s List:

“The day has been ruined!” Bella said.  Her eyes sparkled and flashed as she spoke of her injury.  Bella was not so pleased with her labor’s reward.  She was not so satisfied with being accountable for her children‘s behaviors.

Are parents accountable for their children’s behaviors?  That can be a question at the level of the law and a question of cultural moral values.  From a psychiatrists stand-point, is there a medical interplay?

A subspecialty in psychiatry is called consultation liaison, which is psychiatry for the medically ill and usually hospital based.  In this setting we often get asked is a patient has decision-making capacity.  I spoke about it briefly in the post, “Choose, Gladly, Using Resources.”  This is difference from competency, which is determined by the court. Decision-making capacity is a medical assessment of the patients ability to:

1.  understand:

  • their illness,
  • it’s consequences,
  • it’s relationship to their values

2.  manipulate their options,

 

3.  and communicate their decisions.

Can kids do that?  Medically it depends on their developmental level.  The court however has its own forum on that – I won’t try to go there as psychiatry isn’t law.

Another area in psychiatry where we decide that someone does not have the freedom to choose and we hold someone else accountable for them (called a “5150“) is when they are:

  • not able to provide for themselves food, shelter, clothing
  • a danger to themselves
  • danger to others

Are kids able to do these things?  From a medical perspective, it depends on their developmental level.  Deciding what we want for ourselves and for our children is a privilege for those who are able.  It is also a privilege for us who want it.  Freedom is not free, as they say.

Please watch City Councilman Joel Burns tell us about bullying and how we need to be accountable to each other: “It Gets Better.”  Completely amazing testimony and speech.  Cuts out all the b.s.

Question:  What do you think about our accountability to our children and to our community?

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