Learn about parental responsibilities and how to fulfill them. Clarifies all doubts about the rights and duties of parents.

From the moment we have a child, fathers and mothers acquire parental responsibilities . In us falls what is known as parental authority, an institution that implies the acquisition of rights and obligations. The main objective is to guarantee the well-being and development of our children.

No law needs to remind us what our children need to grow up safely. Parents must provide them with protection, hygiene, food, upbringing, education, health and accommodation , among others.

In this sense, article 154 of the Civil Code establishes the following:

“Unemancipated children are under the custody of their parents.

Parental authority, as parental responsibility, will always be exercised in the interest of the children, in accordance with their personality, and with respect for their rights, their physical and mental integrity.

This function includes the following duties and powers:

  1. Watch over them, keep them in your company, feed them, educate them and provide them with comprehensive training.
  2. Represent them and manage their assets.

If children are mature enough, they should always be heard before making decisions that affect them.

Parents may, in the exercise of their function, request the assistance of the authority.


What is not explicitly mentioned in the aforementioned text is that parents also have the responsibility to assume the consequences of the acts carried out by our children and that cause harm to third parties. This applies from the breaking of a glass by a ball blow to the commission of a robbery.

Although certain behaviors of minors imply that they must assume the corrective measures imposed by a court, the parents are the ones who have to pay the corresponding financial compensation .

Why do parents have civil liability? Well, because parents are supposed to watch over our minor children . Also for his behavior. Therefore, if they commit an act that is harmful to a third party, it is understood that we are ignoring that responsibility.


As a general rule, the father and the mother have shared parental authority over minors. It is a personal, compulsory and non-transferable parental responsibility . Only the judges have the power to withdraw that parental authority when they consider that one of the parents does not fulfill their obligations as a parent or is not qualified to do so.

The rules of parental responsibilities may vary from country to country. Within the European Union, all nations recognize the right of children to have a personal relationship and to be in direct contact with their parents, even if each one resides in a different country.

Regarding the duration of parental responsibilities, the only ones that end when the children come of age are civil ones (except in cases of disability or mental incapacity). Those relating to the provision of food (including accommodation, health, hygiene, etc.) are extended until the children become economically independent.


Apart from the rights and obligations of legal custody, there are a series of parental responsibilities that are more in the moral field, but are also important. Some examples:

  • Parents must provide our children with a safe home, but also a happy one. That includes spending quality time with the kids.
  • Correct children when they have inappropriate behavior so that they become honest and responsible adults.
  • Instill in them that laws must be respected.
  • Teach them to take care of themselves.
  • Protect the emotional state of minors.
  • Help them increase their self-esteem.
  • Set some limits.
  • Behave appropriately so that children have a good role model.


As you have seen, parental responsibilities are very numerous. But what happens when the parents die? In that case, the children inherit the assets, but also the debts. That, in case there is something to inherit.

Are you worried about the well-being of your children if something were to happen to you? Normal. Many fathers and mothers of families choose to take out insurance in which we name our children as beneficiaries. The most popular are the following:

  • Life insurance: policyholders receive financial compensation if they suffer an accident that leaves them disabled. If they die, the beneficiaries are the ones who receive the money.
  • Accident insurance : there are several types. Those of death, for example, pay a certain economic amount to the beneficiaries. When the insured suffers an accident or illness that prevents him from returning to work, he receives the economic compensation that appears in the policy.
  • Funeral insurance : they are contracted so that loved ones do not have to pay funeral expenses or worry about paperwork. In exchange for a monthly amount, the insurer takes care of everything when the insured person dies.

Likewise, parents can take out a civil liability policy to protect ourselves against a possible accident caused by our children. These policies cover compensation for damage caused by the insured, his family or his pets.

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