Module 7: Parental and Children's Rights

Learning Objectives of This Module

  1. Describe the importance attached to the role of parents in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
  2. Explain the implications of the CRC for parental rights and responsibilities toward children.
  3. Explain the difference between parental rights and the rights of adults who are parents.
  4. Recognize potential tensions between parental and children’s rights and approaches for addressing them.

Introduction

The CRC, in its recognition of the child as a subject of rights, has challenged many common assumptions about the status of the child within the family. On the one hand, families are the primary institution providing care and protection for children, and parents are granted rights in recognition of that and to enable them to fulfill their responsibilities toward their children. On the other, many rights within the CRC can pose challenges to traditional attitudes toward and treatment of children within the family. Early marriage, female genital mutilation, child labor and social exclusion of children with disabilities are all examples of rights violations that are widespread within families throughout the world. Similarly, children’s exercise of their rights to freedom of religion, expression and association, and to privacy, can cause conflict between parents and children in many cultures. This tension can produce challenges in the implementation of the CRC. However, although the CRC encourages a culture of respect for children within families and in the wider society, this does not undermine or diminish the role of parents.

This module examines the relationship between parental roles and responsibilities and children’s rights.