Spain: Law will ban teens from shirking family duties

By Alasdair Fotheringham

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Spanish teenagers who shirk from doing the dishes or mowing the lawn may think twice about avoiding irksome chores after a draft law says they will be legally obliged to help with family domestic duties.

No penalties, legal or otherwise, will be established for those under-18s who fail to follow the new legislation. But the new Child Protection Bill nonetheless states that children will have a joint responsibility to help at home and maintain the upkeep of the family residence in accordance with their age and regardless of their gender.

Perhaps in a nod towards parents fed up with teenagers shutting themselves in their bedrooms for hours, it also insists that youths participate actively in their family's life, showing respect for their parents and siblings and any other relatives or people with a stable relationship with the core family unit.

The number of local canines discovered to have mysteriously consumed lazy scholars homework may well plummet in Spanish education, with the draft laws stating that pupils should respect their teachers, study as required and follow school rules.

The law also states that Spain's youth should take a responsible attitude towards public property and the environment.

In a country with a tradition of closely knit family units, reactions to the draft law appear to be mixed, with a poll on the Huffington Post website drawing almost equal votes - roughly 45 per cent each - in favour and against.

"I think it's a good idea for kids to be aware of their responsibilities as well as their rights, but this law maybe is a bit too heavy-handed in the opposite direction," Roberta Megias, a working mother with two young children, told The Independent.

"It's something that families should handle and children should know about without having to be told to do it."

Young people had something more concrete to worry about yesterday as the latest figures on youth unemployment showed a bad situation was getting worse. The rate has started to rise again, to just over 55 per cent.

The new laws insistence on youthful responsibilities also brings in sweeping improvements of the rights and protection of minors, so that they are now covered by the laws against domestic violence.

The law also ensures that all job applicants wanting to work with children have to provide a copy of their criminal record, and establishes a list of convicted paedophiles to ensure they are barred from working with children. Adopted minors will have a right to know the identities of their biological parents.

- The Independent

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