Mental health professionals, like other professionals involved in family
matters, feel constrained when advocating for the interests of children by the belief
that parents are entitled to custody and control of their children's lives, regardless of
what others may think of their parenting behavior, absent severe harm to the children.
This belief is morally untenable, and the legal doctrine of parental rights that is its
concrete embodiment is inconsistent with other well-established legal principles and
should be abandoned. Children alone should have legal rights in connection with their
upbringing, and those rights should include an entitlement to much higher standards
of parenting than the law presently imposes.
27 Child Psychiatry and Human Development 165-177 (1997)
Dwyer, James G., "Setting Standards for Parenting - By What Right?" (1997). Faculty Publications. 1136.