Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

The CRC vs. Parental Rights

It seems that the Convention on the Rights of the Child(CRC) is back on the blog front again lately… With both Smrt Lernins posting about it and Homeschooling a Texas Tornado and a Pre-School Tag-A-Long, I thought I’d weigh in with my thoughts. This is not a new post; I’ve had it as a draft since July 2010 and just have never finished it. There are parts of the CRC that I agree with but I also think it is seriously flawed. Anything, once written in stone, can be manipulated and I see vast, gaping holes in the CRC, and definitely with various advocate’s interpretation of them. So here’s my previously unpublished post, updated in a few spots to allow for current insights:

While looking for picture for the ‘parents as experts‘ post, I came across this blog debating the CRC vs. Parental Rights. Now, keep in mind that the Parental Rights site/group seems to be made up primarily of right-wing Christian organizations and while I am decidedly not in agreement with everything that group espouses, I am interested in the debate.

My intent in writing the ‘parents as experts’ post was originally to promote parental confidence and empowerment in the face of friends/family/pediatricians/behavioral therapists who disagree or criticize your parenting style or methods (particularly if the naysayer is authoritarian or strong disciplinarian and you’ve chosen a route that is… not), but the issues raised by the CRC and the Opposition are interesting, and I believe that they deserve my attention (and resulting lengthy commentary).

Although there are many, many points that I’d like to address, the ones that stand out glaringly in such a way as to create the beginnings of a headache right behind my left eye are points number 1 &  3, which read:

1. A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreedFirstly, the frequently [sic] with which children seek government review of their parents’ decisions will likely be extremely rare. But that point aside, why is this wrong? If parents believe what they are doing is right, then why should they worry about it? Unless parents are being abusive, then this shouldn’t be a problem. And really, this boils down to parents rights vs. children’s rights.

My question is, how do you know that children calling for reviews of their parents’ decisions will be rare? I’m also curious if this blogger has any idea how introducing such a standard into practice could impact families. Even little decisions could be called into question – sure, that’s unlikely on a large-scale, but suppose someone makes a complaint about you to CPS. Upon investigation, it comes to light that your child ‘disagrees’ with many things that you, as a parent, have deemed to be right and good and in their best interests. That possibility is by no means uncommon, but with the weight of the CRC behind them, this could easily lead to long-term interference in your family’s dynamic.

‘Why is this wrong’, we’re asked? First of all, just because you, the parent, have research and professional opinions on your side does NOT mean that you’re going to be proven right or allowed to continue as you were when under investigation by ‘the authorities’. Remember that they always have their own professionals who have opinions which may very well conflict with yours. Child protective organizations nationwide have cases where normal parents – GOOD parents who simply do things differently than the mainstream – have had their decisions called into question, been put under investigation and had their children removed and traumatized because some overzealous social worker or opinionated old-school judge disagreed with the parent’s decisions.

As a parent, there are decisions to make every single day. Sometimes you’re going to do the best/right thing, sometimes you’re going to make a mistake – but few parents deliberately make bad decisions out of malice. On virtually every issue there are two sides to consider. Then you have to weigh the information against incoming advice from well-meaning friends and family, and take into consideration your own biases before coming to a decision. In many cases, even having clear-cut medical reasoning and sound scientific grounding on your side is not always enough to combat mainstream corporate America with its death grip on dictating what is normal and acceptable and therefore ‘best’. If you doubt that, start doing some research on any controversial parenting topic and you’ll see what I mean.

Giving a child the power to question a parent’s right to decide and make decisions for themselves is ludicrous. Children do not have the knowledge or life experience to make the kinds of decisions that parents have to make every day. Parents are responsible for shaping the whole person of their child – nurturing and molding an essentially self-centered being into a productive and functional member of society. Children do not possess the forethought to see how today’s actions impact tomorrow’s results and cannot possibly be expected to weigh the required information needed to make those kinds of decisions for themselves. That’s more than many parents are capable of, which is why policies like the CRC sound like a good idea to some  – to save children from incompetent or under-educated parents. Why not address the actual ‘problem’ rather than tear down the structure of the family in an attempt to fix it?

3. The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision. Um, yeah. You know why? As flawed as governments are, as stupid and biased as politicians can be, then tend to be somewhat influenced by experts in the area of child development when it comes to this stuff. Parents on the other hand can vary. A lot. There’s no requirements to be a parent other than being able to reproduce. Some parents don’t have a clue. You need a license to drive a car or to fish, but there’s no “skill testing question” you need to pass in order to parent. Some people with kids are dumbasses. Sometimes it should be up to social workers and child psychologists to interfere when the parents are doing things that will harm the child. This is one of the best points in the document.

Um, actually… NO. And here’s why:

While I agree that in some cases it might be appropriate for a government or other authority to interfere for the benefit of the child, giving any ole government worker the authority to intervene simply because they don’t agree with the parent’s decision is playing with FIRE. In fact, there are already safeguards in place within the existing agencies to protect the safety of the child – pediatricians, hospital employees, teachers, school nurses all are obligated to report suspicion of abuse or neglect to the authorities who then investigate – and even the limited powers that those agencies can be and have been exploited because of a mere difference of opinion. The system is by no means perfect, and children do fall through the cracks, but as tragic as that is, the answer to this problem is not punishing or discriminating against parents as a class of society.

You have heard the adage about opinions, right? Even the most pedestrian governmental worker can have an opinion. They may think that they know best when in reality they have little or no experience with children or child-rearing and they certainly cannot style themselves as authorities on your particular child. Giving them the power to usurp parental authority without clear, documented and proven danger or harm to the child’s physical, emotional or educational being is wrong, wrong, wrong.

For example, take the decision not to vaccinate. That’s a touchy and highly controversial topic that most educated parents labor over. Even the experts are divided on the topic. The bottom line is that as the parent, that is MY decision to make. If my decision conflicts with the opinions of others – of doctors and scientists even, is it the wrong decision? There is ample evidence on either side of that equation, so who gets the final say on whether or not I am neglecting or harming my children by not vaccinating? I feel that vaccinations are toxic and that the risks associated with getting them overshadow the as yet unproven potential benefits of getting them. I have one child whom I believe to be negatively affected by the few vaccinations he did have, and I will FIGHT to ensure that his body is not further used as a guinea pig by the entities in government who are supposed to put his needs and best interests first but don’t.

I take issue with the statement, “As flawed as governments are, as stupid and biased as politicians can be, then tend to be somewhat influenced by experts in the area of child development when it comes to this stuff.” In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with news coverage about how studies on this medical topic or that public health issue are funded by big pharma, or how policies are enacted to prevent lawsuits, or how mothers are arrested for refusing to submit to invasive medical procedures because a judge disagrees with her decision… I think it is patently obvious that governments and their agents are more influenced by money and kickbacks than they are by The Facts(tm).

My decision not to vaccinate was not one that was made lightly, or on a whim. It was a carefully and painstakingly researched decision made after long hours of contemplation, studiously examining the material available and consulting with professionals who are able to debate rationally on the subject. Because this is such a highly controversial subject, my decision is one that I have had to defend to ‘authorities’ who disagree with me. At the end of the day, my base argument is that THIS IS MY CHILD. I GET TO MAKE THE DECISIONS REGARDING HIS CARE. PERIOD. That’s my ace in the hole when dealing with people in authority positions who have a differing opinion from mine. My point in this illustration is that even when you have experts on your side, that may not be enough. I daresay that I know more about the dangers and risks associated with vaccination than your average WIC or Medicaid employee. Yet as governmental authorities, would they have the power to override my decisions, despite my superior knowledge on the subject in general and personal history of my child? The CRC certainly puts that out there as a possibility.

I think one of my main objections to the CRC is that it sets the stage, even invites the government into the family. I don’t think that’s a place the gov’t has any right to be. Personal freedom is something that American treasure – it’s a basic right that we all believe we possess and are conditioned to fight for. The CRC seems to give the child ‘rights’ above and beyond basic HUMAN rights. I think human rights cover them plenty. The US has the largest scale abuse of the legal system in the world – the CRC puts avenues in place for children to legally question every move that their parents make – which ties up already overworked caseworkers and brings them into a situation where they have no business being. Children could be removed from homes when there is nothing more than a disagreement and the CRC only gives more weight to those kids of cases. We’ll end up spending millions in taxpayer money to handle these cases (because no child I know can afford a lawyer – yet one must be provided to see to the child’s interests in the debate). There are also the costs of foster care and the wages of the additional employees to oversee each and every complaint.

I see the CRC as setting the stage for pitting parents against children. We’re supposed to be promoting family unity, not declaring all out war on parents. It seems to me that a better use for all that money would be in founding public education programs and parenting support groups, and ensuring that the places that parents already go to seek information and support (like their doctors) are giving evidence/research-based and non-biased information. Take steps to ensure access to information and protection from advertising, like starting with comprehensive sex-education in schools and banning the distribution of formula samples on maternity wards at hospitals and kickbacks to doctors for medication promotions that pharmaceutical companies are using to taint the information pool.

As for the religious components… it is a parent’s responsibility to share their beliefs with their child – to direct and guide. Yes, some take that to the extreme, but again – unless there is abuse and the child can be moved to a safe environment, then the child WILL eventually grow up and have the opportunity to make different choices. You can’t dictate every aspect of the population’s life and as a country that was essentially founded on Christian piers, most of our citizens are deeply rooted in their faith and want to share that with their kids. Some religions go so far as to teach that their way is the only way to salvation. Some faiths DO teach – as tenets of their faith – that people of other religions will not share the same glorious future; some teach that people who do not share their faith will be destroyed in a holy war. That’s not hate, exactly, but that type of mindset doesn’t breed tolerance, acceptance or help one set of people peaceably coexist with another – and that can be counted under the CRC’s anti-hate policy… which comes very close to if not treading all over freedom of religion… which is one of the cornerstones of the United States. While I personally disagree with that kind of mindset and dogmatic religious thinking,  I do respect the RIGHT of any American to believe as they choose. I don’t ally myself with any organized religion, but I do believe that parents should have the right to freedom of religion and belief, and to enforce that in their own households.

I will say that I vehemently disagree with the notion that opposing the CRC has anything to do with belief in ‘owning’ our children. I think that is a rather simplistic viewpoint that does not take into consideration the many, many ways in which the CRC’s points can be mishandled or used against parents. My opposition comes into play because of my deeply held sense of responsibility to do what is best for my children, especially when my decisions are questioned by authority figures. I think that the majority of parents feel duty and responsibility towards their children – obligation to them and in that, my fellow bloggers and I are in agreement – having children is a monumental responsibility that should not be undertaken lightly.

I don’t know any parents who had children to get something out of it.  There is also a sense of interdependency in virtually all of the families I know – I have yet to sense a need for liberation of the child from the tyranny of parental authority among most families. The CRC seems to me to set parents up for attack and to foster the idea that parents exist only by the grace of authority and a warning to overstep those bounds at your own risk.

I think that very few people see children as chattel – comparing the state of children to women or black people or Chinese people in the past is inaccurate because grown women and African-Americans and the Chinese are fully functioning beings. Children would not survive without caregivers – without parents to set limits that children do not have the mental skills or life experience to see the benefit of. Women, slaves and oppressed peoples have never been less intelligent or less capable than their ‘keepers’, and though children may be intelligent, few would argue that children have the same level of common sense, experience and forethought/benefit of hindsight that adults have. The same holds true for such things as medical treatment – not elective procedures that can be put off until the child is an adult, but for life-saving treatment – you betcha that is both my right and responsibility to determine the best course of action for my child’s treatment. Neither ‘right’ nor ‘responsibility’ of that statement can be over-emphasized – they are equally important and both should be minded with the utmost care.

Regarding DaMomma’s post, her ‘Parent’s Bill of No-Rights’ was posted in regard to a TN proposal that would give virtually all divorced parents 50/50 custody of (and therefore ‘rights’ to) their child. I think that using that list in defense of the CRC is misleading – when parents divorce, there are many, many issues at play and often the competency of one parent or both is called into question. In that situation, you’re already inviting gov’t into your family. The CRC intrudes where no invitation was issued and interference is unwelcome.

That said, and thought I agree with many, I also disagree with some of DaMomma’s points; I absolutely believe that I am entitled to respect – both as a parent and as a PERSON. I would be a poor parent indeed if I did not teach my children to respect others – starting with the members of their own family. It goes hand-in-hand with the idea that respect is earned, not freely given; I teach best by modeling. I respect myself, I respect my husband, and I respect my kids. In turn, I expect – and rightfully so – respect from all of those people in return. Additionally, I absolutely have the right to see my own children. Unless I have done something to them that is in such disregard for their well-being so as to require the removal of my parental rights – I absolutely have the right to see and care for my own child. Divorcing parents may need to defend that right in the light of unjust attacks on their character by a vindictive ex-spouse, but most parents aren’t, and should not be, subject to that process. Setting up government in place to superseded that right is madness.

Again, I go back to thinking that money would be well-spent in social educational and support programs that are designed to provide unbiased information – all of the information, from all sides to review and implement according to their own philosophy. Parents who perpetuate the mistakes that previous generations have made do so not because they don’t love their children, but because they HONESTLY BELIEVE that it is the best or only way to properly raise their children. I am here to tell you that I have personally seen the difference that education and support can make in a mother’s mindset and world-view. Seeing a mother who had an elective c-section, circ’d her baby boy in the hospital and formula fed make completely opposite choices after being regularly exposed to mothers with different ways of doing things reinforces my belief that access to information and support is the key – not mandating laws which seem good on the surface but open doors to the destruction of the family as we know it. I don’t think that opposition to the CRC has anything to do with ‘child ownership’. I think opposing the CRC has everything to do with the autonomy of the family and living up to the many, heavy responsibilities that come along with those rights.



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13 responses

  1. A very considered approach. The PRO/PRA guys have only that to say, Parental Rights. This is to disguise what seems to be their true concern, that kids might have the right to decide their faith for themselves.

    Whatever the case, I find it revealing that:

    a. they wilfully distort what the CRC is about, making untrue and often absurd claims – one of them being that as A31 says there is a right to play, we can see not only kids refusing to go to school but even hauling their parents into court. Now tell me you are sane and do not believe that?

    b. they never say what rights THEY believe kids DO have. Nor exactly what parental rights are other than they trump everyone else’s including kids’ (if they have them) and the power and duties of the state.

    Such an amendment would have to be struck down because it would accord parents untrammelled authority over their charges. The US Courts today, without the ratification of the CRC, accord kids some of the rights in the Constitution.

    Seen from the UK, where we have signed the CRC, what does this entail? Well, trying our best to ensure the UK lives up to its obligations. Who does this? The Government. And who monitors this? The formal machinery which the Convention set up, entailing a 5 yearly Government report on progress. What happens then? Recommendations. Not dictat. Nor have kids, alas, direct right of petition to the UN.

    Is this the only monitoring process? By heck, no. What PRA have missed is the hugely important fact that civil society (rights, faith and other interests) will prepare independent reports and submit them to qualify even contradict the usually-rosy reports of member Governments. That, I can tell you, puts more pressure on the state than parents and we have seen radically better recommendations coming from the process as a result much to the chagrin of the UK government. Also changes for the better the UK had resisted.

    This also gives people like us real leverage.

    As for what you think the CRC says, I invite you to examine what it says about the role of parents, their primacy and responsibility. In your current laws the state has a role, and the CRC reflects what is common in the laws of the world’s nations. Some say the state has too much power, and want to reign that in. The CRC will make no difference on that, it is, quite properly, a double-edged sword. Some will want the state to have more power to intervene. Same again.

    I would ask you a simple question? I do not think there can be a half-way house on this, it will be one or the other, nothing possible in-between:

    Model 1: The parent, however benign, has total control over the child by reason of rights of parenting and the child’s immaturity. This extends to all aspects of the child’s life and depends on the notion, I guess, that it is a parent’s right to ensure their child turns out to be and believe exactly what his parents determine. These parental rights, I am told, exist because of the effort, money, sacrifice parents have to put in, a sort of tab for expenses run up on account. Also, if necessary, these rights are God-given, it says so. The notion of children having enforceable rights is dangerous and divisive of families. Sure the state has to intervene where there’s abuse but that is limited.

    2. The only right of parents is to be parents. After that come obligations and duties of parenting (the CRC is clear about these by the way even down to who has to ensure the finance, food on the table etc). This model says that the child is held in sacred trust by its parents and that its power to make decisions and hold views and beliefs depends on the degree of maturity and understanding of each child. The parents’ role is to guide and direct (both words used in the CRC) the child whose interests are a primary concern (note not “the”).

    The error anti-CRC people make is that they equate children’s rights with adult rights, which as you have ably pointed out is manifestly not sustainable.

    The difference? Parents as adults have full adult rights because they can act independently (unless they are mentally restricted). Children have their rights precisely because they are not able to be fully autonomous, their right are those of those who need protection and support because of their immaturity. Those rights are crucial if they are to emerge to that full independence and acquiring of adult rights.

    Children here do not have attorneys rushing off to court every 5 minutes on the CRC nor in other countries where it is more embedded in their domestic law than ours. If they did (and the right predicted this when we incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights but it never did) the courts would have soon shown this to be futile and not supported by the CRC itself. I guess your superior courts would do the same.

    Interested in your reaction.

    January 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

    • I hear what you’re saying… I just disagree with your view. I think there’s enough of a culture difference between the US and the UK that you may not ‘get’ why this is a freedom issue IMO. I also don’t ever hear of the same type of widespread and large-scale abuse of the UK’s legal system the way that we do and have in the US.

      If you’re asking me to choose between the two models you presented, then yes, I believe that absolutely there is a median between them. Parents do not have total control over their kids, yet neither are they regulated to the role of advisers. I don’t think that the ‘role’ of the parent need such strict confines within which a parent may operate – and that’s what I see the CRC as outlining.

      As for the ‘rights’ of children… I think that you’re looking for a boogeyman that isn’t there. I don’t see children’s rights being violated on a daily basis. I think that the majority of parents do what they do with their kids out of love and a desire to see them succeed where the parent failed or have a better life than the parent did. I also think that a primary motivation for most parents is to see their children healthy and happy. Even the most unprepared new parent is generally motivated to do their best by their child.

      Some parents may push too hard or restrict a little too much, but overall, that’s not a bad thing. The child grows up and makes different, hopefully better choices and then we as a society grow. The CRC seems to me to try to circumvent the growing and learning process and exerts more control and interference of gov’t in the lives of the citizens. People are not robots; raising children is not a science. It’s an art, with myriad variations and flavors that go into making up the next generation.

      Again, I see a much better use for all of that money and effort going into building social education and support programs.

      January 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  2. You say your legal system is being violated – yes, look at the judges convicted of sending kids to jail and profiting from it. Kids removed from parents and sold by the system. Not all parents love and protect their kids. If there are victims of those violations, count kids as amongst the most violated. Read what’s happening to them in your jails.

    Can’t happen here? Wish that were so.

    The CRC makes it worse? You really have to be kidding. You miss what the CRC says about parenting, it is a support for this against the state. There has to be a balance – between parent (primary carer) and state (from the protector model to support-when-called-for model). You do not live on islands any more than we do, you choose to live in a nation state which can enact laws.

    Nothing you have said about parenting is contradicted by the CRC. Your government has already ratified 2 protocols attached to it and the End of Days has not happened. Nor your courts been filled to capacity.

    January 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    • You’re right – not all parents love and value their children. But the majority of parents – by FAR the majority – do not need or want dictates by the government as to ‘how’ to raise their children. I have my kids’ best interests at heart; no one on the planet is more concerned with their well-being and as a concerned parent, it is and should be my right to determine what happens with them regarding their care and education and method of upbringing.

      Of course children have rights – but I think the gov’t should be more concerned with helping ensure that parents meet their responsibilities as parents to meet the needs of their children rather than granting children ‘rights’ and creating the necessary associated governmental review and advisory bodies to make sure they have them protected.

      I think that going about it from the bottom up is counterproductive – bound to cause strife and pit child against parent and certainly parent against governmental interference. How much MORE productive would it be to work with parents and communities to more clearly define their role rather than place limits and restrictions on them?

      You’re entitled to your opinion just as much as I am mine, and at the end of the day, I don’t think that you and I are looking at dissimilar long-term goals. I just think the path is different.

      January 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  3. Dave Cary

    I would like to remind everyone that in the event of divorce, the parents do NOT invite the government into their fsmily lives. They merely ask the court to process the civil litigation of property settlement.

    Somehow, the government has vastly extended its reach into Parental Rights. This is wrong and there has been no invitation.

    The governmet’s job is to stay out of the family’s conflict by making it clear that custody is to be agreed upon by the two parents. If not, the default is equal physical custody so that the government decides nothing. In this way there is every incentive for the parents to work out the problem on their own. Even in divorce, parents love their children; certainly, far more than a government will.

    And bear in mind, if you allow the government to violate Parental Rights is some cases, it is just a matter of time before they violate them in all cases.

    January 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    • I think that’s a matter of semantics – my view is that anytime you’re looking to an authority make decisions, that’s an invitation – whether it is intended to be or not. Divorcing parents who cannot get their own issues out of the way of the best interests of their child end up with more interferences, but I have friends who have had their parenting decisions affected or overturned by the courts without the internal squabbling that such interferences typically come with.

      I agree that the parents have every incentive to work out custody arrangements themselves, and I agree that parental rights are trampled upon by the courts – and I further think that the CRC will make it that much easier for the courts to step in. I absolutely agree that conceding small freedoms opens the door to surrendering larger ones.

      January 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

  4. Dave Cary

    “I think that’s a matter of semantics – my view is that anytime you’re looking to an authority make decisions, that’s an invitation – whether it is intended to be or not”

    And yet, I don’t see it as semantical at all. We have to have courts at some level. What we don’t need are courts which go way beyond the bounds they need to resolve the issue. If you and your neighbor look to the courts to solve your property boundary dispute, this does not mean the court has the right to delve into all aspects of your lives, invited or not. In fact, court has the responsibility to NOT delve beyond the specific issue. The same holds for divorce. If we sent the message that there is nothing to gain by custody attacks, I think we would see a lot fewer divorces, a lot more parental agreement, divorces that become amiable much more quickly, and a lot less children in the cross fire.

    To repeat, if you don’t protect Parental Rights everywhere, you risk not having them anywhere.

    January 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  5. “this does not mean the court has the right to delve into all aspects of your lives, invited or not.”

    Exactly … but you’re still inviting them in and with that comes the potential for authority to overstep its boundaries.
    In parenting issues, because there are so many variations on ‘right’, overstepping can and does happen more readily, especially when the ‘authority’ gets the final say on what is ‘right’. That’s the point I think we’re both trying to make 🙂

    January 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm

  6. Now no one ‘grants’ rights, we have them or we don’t. The rights of US citizens do not exist because the Constitution says they do, and the Constitution is clear that it expresses those rights not grants them. These rights pre-existed not only that noble document but any works of mankind.

    The sane applies to Children’s Rights and the CRC which is an expression, an aspiration, a framework. There are those who argue rights exist only because there are laws that say so. Such rights would be nothing of the kind because another law could take them away. People fought for their rights long before there were laws saying they existed – indeed they are written into law because of such struggles. We know that in the UK, you do too.

    If people had not trodden on those rights, denied them and continue to deny them, and not just to a few children, then the CRC would never have come into existence.

    You speak of inviting authority to overstep its bounds. In the huge majority of cases, the state’s authority has been limited as well as unreasonable behaviour by adults curbed.

    This happens in your own country – in NY State last year your courts struck down a youth curfew as unconstitutional, one reason being it took away parents rights to decide their children’s coming in, another that the municipality’s reasons for a curfew were not actually achieved by a curfew on all kids regardless of what they are doing.

    Do children have the right to go out and about their lawful business without the state decreeing they must be in by some stated time? That is not reasonable – and who should makew the decision as to when they come in? Why you and I surely agree it’s parents.

    Yet I see so many of these curfews and no one challenges them on such grounds, that they interfere with parents’ rights. All I read is state excuses about irresponsible parents. I think it odd to see such opposition to the CRC and yet blithe acceptance of hundreds of curfews. Kids do have a right of assembly and association even under your Constitution. It’s parents who decide on the limits of that as those responsible for their kids upbringing, guidance and direction (CRC). So why have so many of you just let this happen?

    It’s no good telling me that kids should be in by such a time – that is, in your logic and mine, for us to say, not a town council. For the few parents who are irresponsible and allow their children to risk harm, there are laws about neglect and endangerment. Yet you allow a lazy law to usurp your parental pregogative.

    There are no courts at UN level to enforce the CRC, no sanctions or punishments of nations. Kids can’t even take a complaint to the UN CRC committee. It all happens within national jurisdictions. So the Supreme Court would be the final arbiter, and the CRC would be but one strand of legal precedent.

    What would the SC make of Article 5:

    Article 5

    States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other
    persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate
    direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.

    or Article 8

    1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

    Article 9

    1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject, to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law
    and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or
    one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence.

    3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.

    Article 16

    1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful on his or her honour or reputation.

    Article 18

    1.States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their
    basic concern.

    It appears from your media that not only is there wide variation amongst your states but that quite a few of them fall short of these standards so far as parents are concerned. The SC would have a means to ensure compliance so that parents and children’s lives were not arbitrarily interfered in.

    It would not be the state that brought such cases it would be parents whose attorneys would use the CRC to claim such interference.

    The US has already signed 2 protocols against child prostitution and exploitation and use of children in armed conflict – these are extensions of the CRC. So should the US have signed these? If yes, then why not the CRC itself?

    January 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm

  7. “Now no one ‘grants’ rights, we have them or we don’t.”

    Amend that to “in an ideal world”, and I’ll agree… but in THIS world, you better believe that we’re GRANTED rights by our chosen authority figures. Thinking that you have the right to do something that isn’t protected by law can cause a whole heck of a lot of trouble – just try breastfeeding your baby in public in a state that doesn’t use specific language to protect nursing mothers.

    Women didn’t have the right to vote until it was GRANTED to us. Children didn’t have the right to an education until it was mandated by law… Obviously, all humans have rights – but how far those rights extend in the real world are matters of law and mandate. All living beings should have their rights recognized and upheld simply because it’s the RIGHT thing to do – but we don’t live in a world where those rights are recognized simply because we have them. They may as well not exist until an authority figure sees fit to grant them. I don’t agree with that, but few would argue that such is life.

    Again, I don’t think that the CRC is a means to outlining and protecting the rights of children; I think it is designed to allow more governmental regulation and interference in the daily lives of the citizens. Those are two separate issues. I am not saying that children shouldn’t have their rights recognized and protected – quite the contrary. But the CRC itself uses language that is too broad for me to be comfortable in supporting.

    I’ll agree about curfews – our city has a daytime curfew for school children and if we’re ever in a position to fight that, I’ll be right there in the trenches raising hell about such a rule treading all over my child’s rights.

    I have read the CRC and I absolutely do not support it no matter how much I might agree with some of the individual ideas in it. You won’t change my mind about that.

    January 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

  8. Dave Cary

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. Rights pre-exist governments. They are inalienable and endowed by the Creator. Our government does not allow us to have them. Our Creator provided them and we have fought to keep them.

    In the States, we have enshrined this concept in our Federal Constitution and our Declaration of Independence. However, both of these documents have their roots (as we received them)from Britain, specifically the English Civil War and eventually, the Magna Carta. The British Constitution is unwritten but it exists, all the same.

    We do great evil when we are comfortable with allowing our governments to abuse our rights. This does not means we as citizens can’t get together to pass laws we may feel are important (such as public breast feeding (actually, not a concern to me)), but our fundamental rights, such as the right to vote, to freely assemble,to be safe from illegal search and seizure of our persons and papers, freedom of speech, etc. and yes, Parental Rights, are something we should never allow to be trampled. We can’t legally make laws to abrogate fundamental rights and we should not allow this to happen.

    January 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm

  9. I’m confused about what you’re disagreeing with me on…

    I am AGREEING with you on essentially everything you just said. Apparently the sarcasm was so well veiled that you missed it entirely 🙂

    It is a fight well worth participating in to keep and enforce the protection of our rights, parental and otherwise. No one should be handing away their rights by agreeing to things like the CRC without fully comprehending the ways in which something like that can be abused.

    January 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

  10. AnnA

    I openly admit that this is the first I’ve heard of the CRC, and all of the information I have is solely from this comment thread.

    I agree with H in that the wording is just too broad.

    Regarding Article 5 as you have posted, who is to deem what is “appropriate direction and guidance”?

    Regarding Article 16:1, who is to say what is “arbitrary or unlawful interference”?

    Regarding Article 18, who decides what exactly “the best interests of the child” are and whether they are truly my “basic concern”?

    Who are these mystery enforcers? What training do they have: what is their background; how were they raised; how do they raise their children; do they even have children? No matter the training, one’s own opinions will always tilt it this way or that.

    Maybe I’m thinking too much like a conspiracy theorist. I just don’t give an entity so large that it governs millions and millions of people enough credit to know what my child, as an individual, needs. Her kindergarten class has two teachers and 25 children and THEY can’t seem to meet her needs appropriately. Today was a rough one behaviorally, and she spent probably upwards of 20 minutes all together in the corner. [She is quite devout in her belief that she knows what she should and should not be doing, and when it involves scissors, I HIGHLY disagree.] She even disowned my friendship and told me how despicable I was. What would happen if she were to go to school tomorrow and tell her teacher I was “mean” to her? What if they scheduled a home visit and the social worker disagreed with something about our home or lifestyle? What if they thought our co-sleeping to be abuse of some sort? There are so many “what ifs”.

    I appreciate the fact that there are many, many people who have reproduced who should have been sterilized years ago (most of that is sarcasm). They can’t take care of themselves or conduct themselves like decent people, and here they are entrusted with the care of children. No child should be abused or exploited, and I understand the government has it’s place in the welfare of children, and that not all needs are met. But for all to hand over control to the government and say “Please, All Knowing Establishment, tell me how to train my child in the way that she should go (or, more realistically, in the way I should NOT train her)” is absurd at best and extremely dangerous to the “family” as we know it at worst. If anything is to be done, educate, educate, EDUCATE! Ignorance is an evil just like any other. Why not combat that rather than the rights of parents?

    [On a tangent, I disagree that saying the US passed laws regarding child prostitution and that that should be a segue to telling me how to parent my child. Obviously, pimping one’s daughter is not “gray area”. Allowing or not allowing her to pierce her ears in order to express herself is.]

    Our government is a new one, still in it’s rebellious, piss-and-vinegar teenage years. Like any teen, give them an inch, and there is no stopping them from taking a mile. Our public, as a whole (in the most cynical light possible), is sh*tty. People will sue you as soon as look at you. Our children see this. How quickly would every angry and particularly insistent 12 year old tell someone that their parents were violating their rights? [Another small tangent, H is right, though God may have given us our rights built-in, we don’t get to exercise them until someone with a lot of power tells us we can.]

    Children as a people are not oppressed. I’m strict with my child. But I don’t smother her personality, rather, I let her express herself and grow into the person she is destined to become… with guidelines, of course. My in-laws think I’m too over bearing. My family thinks I let her get away with too much. Her teacher thinks I’m clueless. My husband thinks I’m a genius. Who is right?

    I am! I am the mother, my child came out of me, and I am supreme lord and ruler over her and everything about her! I am a sane, competent, productive member of society and of my community, and I love my child. I may not be perfect, but there is one thing and only one thing that I am concerned with, and that is her well being. While some might, I do not need any authority to tell me how to do that. That is why, knowing what I know at present, I cannot support the CRC.

    January 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm

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