Sunday

Age of Consent and the Best Interest of Children

No, this isn't about sexual relations. However, since you thought it was, let's consider it for a minute. A minor (person under age 18) cannot give consent to sex with an adult in the United States. There have been some conditions, such as being close in age (17 year old having sex with an 18 year old), that have been given leniency.

At age 16, in Florida and some other states, a person can legally withdraw from school...that is without completing their k-12 education. If you are not enrolled in public school in the state of Virginia, you cannot obtain your driver's license until age 18 (instead of at age 16).

Upon graduation from high school, or at age 18, a person can enlist in the military and subsequently engage in armed battles. However, the legal age for alcoholic beverages is 21. A person can vote in elections at age 18.

We have things set up this way because we are said to be protecting children, especially because we believe that they are not responsible enough, or informed enough, to make good decisions on their own.

But we have adults who make bad decisions. We have adults that aren't informed, or informed enough, that make poor decisions. We have protections for adults that are considered incapacitated in their decision-making.

Back to the children.

At what age should children have a right to make decisions regarding their own welfare? Should we group children as a whole? Should we divide them into age categories? Aren't children as individual as adults?

If a child refuses medical treatment, should we force that treatment upon him/her? If a child refuses psychological treatment, should we force it upon him/her? (I'm not talking about those that present a danger to themselves or others) If a child refuses a relationship, should we force that relationship upon him/her?

We expect children to grow up and be capable of handling the world upon their independent entry into the world at age 18, and yet children are merely puppets in our society. When certain organizations speak of children's rights, for what rights are they advocating? The right to forced practices and third party agencies? The right to more government intrusion into the family?

We have judges and other entities deciding for the best interest of the children as if there was some across-the-board, unanimous standard for what is best. We have people profiteering off of children's misery. We have organizations silencing children, telling them that they are liars and too imaginative and too hyper and too enmeshed and too feminine and too rebellious and too religious...and too...and too whatever is against what the other person represents.

We have a nation of confused children who cannot engage in critical thinking and thus must look for simple solutions to problems that they may not have created.

I ask, what are children's rights? Do they have rights separate from their parents? Can a third party come in and actually represent a child's best interest?

The basis of this discussion is the fact that we have a judicial system that purports to act in the best interest of the children. However, that same system, ignores or disregards the words that comes out of the children's own mouths.

How can a child ever feel safe?

We have a system that routinely places gag orders on parents that attempt to protect these children. We have a system that decides that these protective parents should have no contact with their children. We have children that are being forced to have relationships with abusive parents...some of these "children" are teenagers. Some of these teenagers run away and are forced right back to the place from which they fled.

Is this children's rights? Is this in their best interest? And how does anyone know, in the end?



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1 advocates for peace:

Anonymous Dec 20, 2009 3:37:00 AM  

People need to start commenting! You are writing some good stuff! All I can say is AMEN and AMEN and AMEN!!
It is not about "children's rights" and never was. It's about "fathers' rights" to kids who may not want to be with them. Children are treated as property, to be split up 50/50 like someone was dividing up money.
Most minor's counsel, GAL's and other assorted whores of the court have NO regard for what kids would like, even when those kids are very thoughtful, articulate, and mature. They lie and distort what the kids have said, or else they don't even interview the kids at all, yet make decisions affecting their lives.
We need to have some kids who are not adults speak out about how the system sucks and how no one listened to them. Only then will things change.



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