Mittwoch, 14. September 2011

On the non-existence of parental rights and why mum still knows best

If you're confused by the title, don't worry, it's intentional. I'm trying to explain.
First of all, there's this parental rights thing. We all know it. I'm a passionate mum. Mess with my kids and you find out why the most dangerous animal is a mother with young indeed. And don't start telling me why I absolutely must do X, thank you very much.
Sounds like I really like my parental rights, really?
Only that I don't think that such a thing exists. There are no imanent rights to anything that has to do with a child just because you ejaculated inside a fertile woman or poped a baby out of your vagina.
Because children are people, too.
Shocking idea, isn't it?
But I challenge you to cite a modern democratic constitution that starts with somewhat like "people have the right to life, liberty and free speech provided they're of age". Nope, those rights are granted to everybody, plus a bunch of other rights, like the right to vote and so on.
But rights come with responsiblities and consequences. And let's face it, if you have no clue what "100$" means, you shouldn't be allowed to spend them on sweets. If you can't understand what a pneumonia is, you don't get to make the choice to run around in your swimming trunks in a January snowstorm. And if you think "they promised me a lollipop" is a really good argument to vote for somebody, you shouldn't be allowed to vote*.
So, if you can't understand the consequences, you don't get the right.
Yet some of those rights are necessary for daily life. Unlike voting, which is something a lot of adults don't do, the decissions about food and clothing need to be made constantly. Others, like taking the kid to the doctor, are crucial and can't be left unadressed. So they're given to a responsible adult who's usually also the parent.
So, even though I get to make all those choices, I don't have the right to make them. I'm the stewardess of my child's rights.
I hand them back, little by little, until one day I'm not needed to make them anymore. There's a fully grown human person who can weigh the advantages and consequences of pancakes for breakfast herself.  And if I've done my job well, could make me some, too, please.
Now that I've established that I have no real right on that child, I still know best, well, most of the time. Not because of some magical mummy instincts. Not because I'm infallible. Simply because I know that kid best. I know their habits and characters. My experience tells me pretty well whether it's time for them to see the doctor or whether they just need a day on the couch with choclate cake, hot tea and lots of love.
That's why I generally don't care much if little Johnny is running around on the playground at 9 pm. Unless I've got reason to think that he's there because there's nodody at home or something like that, of course. But maybe little Johnny takes a long nap in the afternoon. Or he needs little sleep in general. Or a bazillion other sound reasons why Johnny's primary caretaker lets him run around that late.
So, don't look away when harm is done, because they have no right to do it.
But also don't judge people because they're making a different decision than you would make.

*I do notice that this is a problem with adult voters, too ;)

1 Kommentar:

Mattir hat gesagt…

I may have to kill Walton with my knitting needles. And then feed him to the sheep at Rhinebeck.