Parenting and raising children

Parenting laws and having kids in the United States

parenting laws in the United States

Can I leave my kids at my house or apartment without me?

  • In the United States, young kids and babies cannot be left at the house without an adult. In most states, kids over 12-years-old can take care of their younger brothers or sisters.
  • If you leave your son or daughter at your house or apartment alone, you can get in trouble by the government.
  • If you work and have young kids, you will need to pay for your kids to go to daycare or have a babysitter. The government checks daycares to make sure they are taking good care of your kids.
  • If you do not have enough money to pay for a babysitter or daycare, you might be able to “trade” with another family. You could watch their kids on some days and the other family can watch your kids another day. You might be able to find a mother or father in your community to watch your kids.
  • There is a program called HeadStart that helps families pay for childcare for kids ages 3-5.

Can I hit my kids when they act bad?

  • In the United States, you can not hit children. If you hit your children, the government can take your children away from you.
    If your children are not following rules, you need to learn other ways to teach them to be good.

What can I do if my kids are acting very American?

  • You might feel sad because your kids are becoming very American. It is often easy for kids to adjust to American culture because it is easy for them to learn English. Remember, you want your kids to succeed in America and even if you feel sad, it is good for them to adjust to life in America.
  • In the United States, many parents and teachers tell kids when they do a good job. If you can tell your kids when they do something good, this will help you have a good relationship with your kids. Many refugee and immigrant kids say they wish their parents would tell them if they do something good.
  • Talk to your kids about your home country. Share pictures and tell them about your favorite things from your country.
  • Find one thing you and your kids both really like about America. Do that activity together. For example, you might all like baseball. Go to baseball games together with your kids.

How can I teach my kids our language?

  • You can help your kids learn English and your language. Your kids will learn English faster if they also keep speaking and learning your language!
  • When your kids are at home, let them speak in both languages.
  • Ask them to read books in your language. Watch movies and listen to music in your language.

I am worried my son or daughter is using drugs or alcohol.

  • If you are worried your son or daughter is using alcohol, you can talk to your doctor or to their teacher. In the United States, teachers help families. It is very normal to talk to teachers.
  • You may feel embarrassed. You might not want people to know your child is having a problem. But if you hide the problem, it will get worse.

More information about parenting in the United States

Are you looking for information about how to help your son or daughter at school? Read more about helping your kids at school and preparing them for university.

Find a daycare. Search on this free government site to find a good daycare for your kids.

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