In communist Russia the average parent was not respected or considered important. Rather, children were considered “property of the state” since children were the state’s future. In the system of government in Russia, parents were considered the genetic source for children and the state was the upbringing, even though the parents felt otherwise. Russia’s strict regimen of child upbringing during its communist era is seeping more and more into our time and is disrespecting the parents’ rights over their children to raise the child based on the child’s needs.
The communist pretense for such a strict regime was to benefit the state and society. Fast forward to today, local, federal, and state governments expand their power in an effort to protect children, but that expansion of power is also taking away the power of the parents to raise their children. So where do you draw the line between protecting the child and dictating to parents how to raise a child?
Delaware just passed an anti-spanking law that could potentially jail a parent for 1-4 years for spanking their children since the spanking or discipline does not fall under the state’s regulations of child care. The Ninth and Sixth District Courts stated that parent involvement in their child’s education ended and, “their influence stopped at the [school] door.” This begs the question, “What exactly are child rights and when do parental rights begin and end?”
The following is an analogy we can glean from the modern history of Russia. The goal of the modern Bolshevik movement was to create a utopian society. The way to do this was to “[prepare] the way for a time when ‘the fetters of husband and wife would become ‘obsolete’.” The goal was to make everyone united under the state and dissolve any associations to anything other than the state. How has this been mirrored in our own society? The U.N. issued an international binding law known as the Rights of the Child that gives national and local governments any power necessary to intervene for the “best interest for the child”. The United States has yet to ratify this document and bind itself to this law. But remember: what or who defines what is the “best interest for the child”?
In November, Ireland approved an amendment to their national constitution that would put them in compliance with the U.N.’s Rights of the Child. According to this new amendment, the state decides what the best interests of the child are. Many believe that this amendment will diminish the rights of parents and give the Irish government nearly unbridled power to seize children. Under this amendment, it is reported that the State can: place children for adoption against the parent’s will, decide to vaccinate children without parental or child consent, decide to give birth control to children of any age, bring children to other countries for abortions without parental consent, and the UN and the European Union can make any laws for children without the consent of the Irish Government. Is this the future for parents in other parts of the world as well? It may be if we don’t realize the threat and take action.
Currently in the U.S., children’s rights are decided state-to-state and court-to-court. Child Protective Services (CPS) often holds the power to define what is safe for the child and in the child’s best interest. If the state and the CPS define what is safe for the child, then the parents have no say. In a case in Seattle, Washington a young woman started to get into drugs and sex and naturally the parents intervened and work to end the self-destructive behavior. This created conflict, but under Washington law the Department of Social Health and Services had authority to take the young girl from her parents based on the fact that there was conflict. The parents appealed the decision. They lost the appeal and their daughter was taken away from them. After the decision was made the judges admitted that they concurred with the actions of the parents, but the state law had to be enforced. The law defined the rights of the child and it took precedence over the rights of the parent to raise their child.
Parents need to take responsibility for their children and exercise their rights as parents. You have innate parental rights, yet it is important that we foster, teach, and display good parenting skills and habits. Governments need to be reminded that it is parents, with few exceptions, that know their children and more than anyone else have their best interests at heart. But we also must be focused on doing the best job of raising our children! Children need to be raised by kind, involved parents who know them personally and what is best for them, not by some government agency that claims to be acting in the best interests of the child, but is taking power that is not theirs.
So get involved in your child’s life and guard against those who advocate to take away your parental rights.
Fedeline Morrow is currently attending BYU-Idaho studying Child Development and will be graduating in April. She is originally from Florida and has been married for just over a year. She says: “it was the best day of my life. “ Fedeline is passionate about the family and protecting our future generations, which are our children.
Olivia Burton is currently in her senior year at BYU-Idaho. She is studying Child Development with a minor in Piano Pedagogy. She loves learning about children and the family and hopes to use her education as a means to protect the family as the essential unit of society.