Parents: teaching children about law

Shire Hall Court Room

As a parent, it can be difficult when your kids ask questions about law that you don’t have the answers to – such as how long to file a lawsuit, for example. But with ever-increasing political issues coming to light, especially via social media, children are becoming more exposed to issues in the legal system, and it’s normal for them to have questions. Your children may also have questions if you are involved in a lawsuit personally – especially one that directly affects them, such as divorce or family law. So, how can you teach your children some basic knowledge about the law?

Film and TV

Whilst some are more realistic than others, there are plenty of films and television shows that showcase the legal system. Depending on the age of your children and nature of the show, you may therefore wish to sit down with them and watch a film or television show together. Here, they can ask any questions they might have about the process and learn through the art of storytelling. Plus, you get to spend some quality time together (and eat popcorn).

Literature

Like films and TV, you can also learn a lot about the law through literature – and this will encourage your children to enjoy reading, too. Whilst many books that feature court cases are more mature, there are some young adult books that can help your children to learn about the law. When they get a little older, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel that raises questions about the justice system and exposes the deep-rooted racial discrimination in America. It’s also a great and gripping tale that many adults, and young adults alike, love. So, why not encourage your children to develop a love of literature, and get them some books that explore the world of law? 

Museums

Many museums also give useful information about the legal system – particularly if you know which ones to visit. For example, the National Justice Museum in Nottingham explores the history of law and justice, and has a variety of interactive exhibits that both educate and entertain. This can be a fun and educational day out both for you and your children, where they can learn more about historical cases and the future of the legal system. 

Debates

Most children are playful and energetic, and therefore a great way for them to learn is through doing. So, instead of plugging them with information that they might quickly forget, why not encourage some active role play? Being a good lawyer is mostly about communicating and arguing a point, so you can encourage your children to do this at home. Pick a topic that they can debate over, such as whether children should have to go to school, and get them to have a debate over it. You can play the judge and give prizes for the winning team. This will make learning about law more fun and teach them some of the basics. 

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