The following is part of a series of articles on the rights and responsibilities of children and of families. On our site, we’ve published a Children’s Bill Of Rights, with all of the sections in the bill and links to articles for each section. You can take a look here http://www.stepsed.com/childrens-bill-of-rights.php
This article covers the first two sentences in the section entitled “Universal Rights”. Here is that section.
Every child is to be considered an adult in the making, and a full member of the human race. Every child is to be respected as a member of the human race.
It is the right of every child to foster and maintain unique qualities or ideas that they possess. No person has the right to demand that a child be “different” or “normal”.
Every child has the right to be not “controlled” by others, except in those cases where the child’s safety is directly involved and the child is too young to understand.
What is a child? A child is a young human being. If a child lives long enough, he or she will become an adult, like it or not.
As a child grows, it is hoped that they will learn, experiment, and develop understandings and skills. If he does do, that child has a chance to become very useful and valuable to himself and to others. Such children having grown into adults push the world of human life forward.
If he does not grow in this manner, there is a grim chance that a child will become a drag on life as he moves into adulthood. Such children having become adults slow down and retard the progress of all of us.
In other words, as a child grows toward their adult years, we hope that he or she gradually matures into an effective adult, one we are proud to enter into the human family. This should be the result of the collaborative work of the child, parents, family and friends, teachers, and others.
We like to think of adults as “full members” of humanity. Whether or not every adult deserves membership is another question, one we won’t get into here.
We unfortunately tend to see children as sort-of-apprentices in this regard, not-quite full members of the human club. Worse, some see children as property to be ordered around and controlled, scarcely more than pets that one is required to keep alive until the child is of age and can (at last) be sent out into the world to find his own way, unprepared though he may be.
Such children are seen as either “objects” or “problems”. They are accordingly not seen as human beings.
This world is run by adults. Children are nearly powerless to alter the shape of the human world they participate in. They are not members of the club. Few adults would be satisfied to be treated and disrespected in the way that most children are daily treated. “What are you, a child?” is considered quite an insult by most adults. Why is this so? We see children as less than us.
Civilization, each country, is controlled almost entirely by adults. Children don’t currently get to have much of a say in anything having to do with their lives. They are further seen by the law, generally, as possessions of their parents.
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