Among other things, children have the right to be heard, to speak freely, to express their views, to be educated, to have access to medical care, and to engage in paid employment. However, they also lack certain volitional capabilities. Consequently, they may not be able to make sound choices and decisions. Therefore, policy makers should balance the interests of children with the interests of adults, and take the child’s best interests into account.
The concept of children’s rights has been subject to different kinds of philosophical scrutiny. Some argue that children do not deserve rights because they are not mature enough to make reasonable choices and decisions. Others argue that children should be granted rights because they are children, and not adults. However, a third group, known as sceptical liberationists, argue that children are not mature enough to have rights and that they should be treated in a morally appropriate manner.
Regardless of the debates, children should be treated fairly. They need support, discipline, and nurture. They also have fundamental interests that are rooted in their youth and need to be respected. Children should be given the opportunity to grow and develop, and these interests should not be treated as lesser than those of adults. However, adults should also recognize that children are not grown up enough to make decisions. Providing children with the opportunity to learn about the world and make informed choices can benefit them later in life.
In addition to a right to be heard, children should have the right to make informed choices and decisions. This requires that adults consider the child’s best interests and weigh their opinions against the complexity of the issue. While some decisions can be simple and straightforward, others may involve far-reaching consequences. For example, it is important to understand that the decision about whether to have a child undergo intensive musical training will prevent the child from pursuing other career options. Similarly, a decision about whether to have a child join the armed services should not be made without considering the child’s best interests and the risks of such a decision.
There are two ways that children may be unable to make decisions: first, they may not have the necessary cognitive capabilities to make sensible choices. Second, they may not have the sufficient experience in the world to make informed choices. This suggests that allowing children to choose between many options may be an unreasonable burden for teachers and parents.
As a result, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) provides a number of rights for children. These rights are both positive and moral, and the Convention distinguishes between the two. Article 12.1 discusses consent of children to medical treatment. Similarly, article 12.2 addresses the rights of children to participate in the educational system. These rights should be acquired in an orderly and rational manner. In addition to these rights, children are also entitled to receive human treatment, welfare rights, and welfare benefits.