The Family believes that children are a gift from God, given to their parents to love, care for, and to raise in a Godly manner. Primary responsibility for the welfare of children rests with their parents. But because of our faith and cooperative lifestyle, the raising of Family children is also a community affair, as parents share the child-rearing duties together with others in the Home. The members of the Home participate in the upbringing of the children, and as such also have a responsibility for their welfare and are responsible to help love and care for the children. The final decision concerning the welfare of the children rests with their parents. Each Home has a responsibility to support its parents and provide an environment where both the parents and the Home can meet their responsibilities towards their children, both individually and communally.

         As Dad so clearly stated in "One Wife" (ML #249), we are
all responsible for the care of our Family children and we need to treat each of them as if they were our own. We are all responsible for each child and we must each endeavor to help our children in every way we can. The raising of the children in our Homes is a united effort, and everyone is involved in some way or another.
         However, since the Lord gave children to specific parents, the primary responsibility for them rests with the parents. This doesn't mean that they must be the ones who take care of them the most, but the final responsibility rests with the parents to make sure that their children are getting the care they need. If some child is not getting proper care, perhaps the Home is being negligent and thus is partly to blame, but the ultimate blame rests with the parents, as they
must ensure that their children are being properly cared for, and if they're not, they should try to remedy the situation or move to some other situation where the children will be well cared for.
         This does
not mean that parents are now supposed to set their own childcare standards in each Home. As with everything, the methods and manner of raising children within the Home are to be decided by the Home's voting members, and parents are expected to comply with majority decisions (these decisions must not be contrary to the Charter). If the parents don't agree, they can try to get the Home to change the way they do things through discussion and vote, or they can move to a Home that operates more to their liking.

         When God gives you children, then your first duty to God is to those children! That is God's work! (ML #835-4:70).
         Our Family children belong to all of us and we're all responsible for them (ML #1707:14).
         So get together, decide what behavior and house rules need to be made, agree upon them and then enforce them. The main key is to get everyone in the Home together on it, make the rules together and agree together, because it's very hard to live together and have your children grow up in harmony if everyone doesn't train and discipline the children in the same way. You should be able to get together, agree to some guidelines according to the Letters, and be consistent! (ML #1707:21).

Each parent or guardian of children in the Family is responsible to:

A. Raise their children in a Godly manner according to the spirit of the "Charter of Responsibilities and Rights" and as outlined in the "Fundamental Family Rules," and to give them knowledge of God through His Word.

B. Love, care for, and to the best of their ability supply their children's physical, spiritual, emotional and disciplinary needs.

C. Protect their children from all forms of abuse--physical, sexual, spiritual, mental, emotional or psychological.

D. Provide training and sufficient opportunity for their children to witness and share God's love and message of salvation. (See also, Rights of Children, E.)

E. See to it that their children are properly and sufficiently educated scholastically, physically, emotionally and spiritually, on an ongoing basis.
         Although it is the responsibility of the Home to make sure that all of the children in the Home are raised in a Godly manner, loved and have all of their needs met, are protected from all forms of abuse and receive a proper education, it is ultimately the parents' responsibility to ensure their children's well-being.
         If the Home has poor schooling or no Word time for the children, or they don't allot time for get-out on a regular basis, then it's up to the parents to speak up in an attempt to change the Home, or to move to another Home. If the Home is not living up to the Charter standard in the care of the children, the parents can first explain to the teamwork and the Home that they feel the rights of their children are being violated, and that according to the
Right of Redress something needs to be done. If nothing changes, they can seek the help of their VSs or they can move to another Home.

F. Ensure that sufficient academic records of their children's educational progress are kept.
         All school-age children in the Family should have academic records kept up to date. Besides being proof of the children's schooling and educational ability, it will also ensure that, should the parents and their children change Homes in the future, those who would help in their schooling will know exactly what the children have learned, so that the children will be able to continue their schooling at their present level. The basic records that need to be kept for children's home schooling, no matter what program they are using, are: (1) attendance record; (2) a log of scholastic activities; and (3) each student's portfolio, made up of selected school work plus photos and records, etc., of other educational activities. The Progress Reports and Cumulative Record Cards, which are available in the Home Schooling Kit, are optional.
         This doesn't mean that each parent must personally fill out all of their children's home schooling academic records, but that it is their responsibility to make sure that
someone is doing it. If the teachers or caregivers aren't, or can't do it, then the parents will have to do it themselves. It is the parents who have the ultimate responsibility for their children's education, and are the ones responsible to ensure that such records are kept regularly.
         Parents should inform themselves of the education laws of the country in which they reside, as some countries may require that home-schooled children be tested or meet other requirements.

         When we take them out of the System, and out of public education, we promise to educate them ourselves, and we have to do it! If we don't, then that is worse than if we had left them where at least the System would have taught them something (FSM 122, page 14).

G. Ensure that needed medical care is supplied. This would include eye and dental check-ups for children four years of age and older, preferably on an annual basis.

         It is recommended that by the time children begin reading they be taken for an eye check-up to ensure that they don't need glasses. Although we recommend those four years and older begin getting check-ups regularly, there may be situations where you as a parent may want to take your child in for a check-up at an even earlier age. This would depend on your child's need. The goal of this clause is to attempt to ensure that our children's physical needs are being met.
         Understandably there may be situations where it might not be advisable or possible to take your kids in for annual check-ups, where the local dental or eye care may be unacceptable or inaccessible for one reason or another.
         We also recommend that if, when getting a dentist or eye doctor's opinion on your child's teeth or eyes, you are unsure of the diagnosis, you seek a confirmation or second opinion. Some doctors can tend to paint the picture blacker than it really is and make you feel like you have to go through with what they are prescribing, when often it may be just a matter of business for them, or their personal feelings on the matter. Likewise, some may be too casual or wrong in not noticing something that needs to be taken care of promptly. It is important to make these decisions prayerfully and in counsel with your Home.
         All of these parental responsibilities are also listed as Home responsibilities later on in the Charter. The Home is expected to supply needed medical care and eye and dental check-ups. But if the Home isn't doing so, then it is again the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children get the proper care they need. If this care cannot be supplied by their Home, then it is the parents' obligation to move to a Home in which it can be supplied.
         The care of our Family children is the responsibility of us
all, and we must unitedly do all we can to properly care for them. Stating that children's school records, medical needs, etc., are the parents' ultimate responsibility doesn't mean that the Home members should think, "Well, since it's the parents' responsibility, we don't have to concern ourselves with raising the finances to meet these needs, as the parents have to take care of it." We are merely stating that the final responsibility rests with the parents.
         Parents or guardians should keep health and medical records for each of their children. (For sample forms, see "Heavenly Helpers 2," pgs.134-135, or the Student Health Record in the "Home Schooling Program.")

         They are the children of the Family, therefore the entire Family is responsible for them, not just those that happen to be their physical parents (ML #688:48).

H. Discipline their children according to the standard agreed upon by the voting members of the Home in which they reside, providing it is in accordance with the Child Discipline Rules in the "Fundamental Family Rules" and more fully expounded in "Family Discipline Guidelines" (ML #2919). Take appropriate action in disciplining their children whose behavior has become a reproach to the cause of Christ and/or reflects negatively on the Family.
         Since we live communally and we all play a part in the care of our children, it is necessary that discipline of the children be administered according to a united disciplinary standard. The "Family Discipline Guidelines" (ML #2919, GN 591), which is summarized in Appendix E. was written to offer assistance to this end.
         In each Home the voting members must decide their Home's disciplinary standard within the boundaries set by the "Family Discipline Guidelines." Once this is agreed upon by the Home, the parents should wholeheartedly attempt to discipline their children accordingly if they wish to remain a part of that Home.
         No one is permitted to discipline any child more severely than what is allowed in the "Family Discipline Guidelines." If they do, they will be violating the rights of the child and the "Fundamental Family Rules," and will be in jeopardy of losing their Charter Member status.
         The Home decides unitedly how its children are to be disciplined if they engage in a certain activity or manifest certain inappropriate behavior. Therefore when they are in the care of their parents and engage in that activity or manifest inappropriate behavior, it is the parents' responsibility to discipline their children accordingly. This will ensure that there will be equality in the discipline of all of the children in the Home.
         If parents do not like the disciplinary standard that the Home has voted on, then it's their responsibility to try to change it, or move to a Home where they are in agreement with the Home's disciplinary standard, or start their own Home.

         The parents are also responsible to take action in disciplining their children who commit dangerous or illegal offenses which are a reproach to the Family, such as smoking, shoplifting, continual use of foul language, etc. Repeated failure by the parents to take action to improve the children's behavior may jeopardize their Charter Member status.

         There should always be a united effort between the parents and childcare workers to help the kids. It's the childcare helpers who often know the most about the child's needs, and our parents should be open to their counsel and advice, and be willing to accept it and act on it (ML #2631:27).
         Lack of unity and cooperation between parents or among parents and teachers destroys any possibility of training and discipline (ML #1708:78).
         Not only the adults should agree to the rules, but you should give the kids some say-so too. Let them make their own rules within reason and decide what punishment they think they deserve if they disobey. But remember, kids are normally harder on themselves than you would be. Give the children a chance to speak up too, let them learn to help make decisions (ML #1707:7).

I. Supply the children with a current address and/or a telephone number when living in a different location than the children, such as in the case of parents whom are separated.
         Parents must make sure their children know how to contact them if they're not residing in the same Home as their children, or if the parents are likely to be away for any significant length of time.

J. Inform their children of their rights and ensure that they are not being infringed upon.
         The parents should let their children know (at an appropriate age, probably by 6 years old) what their rights are under the Charter, so the children will know if their rights are being infringed upon. (See
Rights of Children.)

K. Properly counsel and guide their 16- and 17-year-old teenagers in matters regarding sexual activity. (See also Word Rules, D.)

L. Grant or deny their 16- and 17-year-old teens permission to engage in sexual intercourse. (For further details see Sex and Affection Rules, E. 1.

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family