Historically, children were considered the property of their fathers and had no legal rights themselves. All decisions that affected their lives were made by their fathers. All earnings they might have, belonged to their fathers. If they needed discipline, then it was the fathers’ responsibility and corporal punishment was allowed. These rights were accorded to the father, under the law, using the same philosophical belief that we discussed in the earlier chapters on marriage and families: parents will act in the best interests of their child. However, as we saw in the chapter on protecting abused family members, this does not always happen. Despite the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that recognizes certain basic personal rights for everyone, the law has always tolerated a certain amount of physical discipline and abuse from parent to child. It was not until the early 1970’s that corporal punishment of a child was outlawed in the U.S. except what is regulated in schools and at home, and criminal statutes against family violence were not enforced until the mid 1980’s. In many countries around the world, children still do not have the right not to be abused by a parent.
KeywordsFamily Business False Memory Moral Development Corporal Punishment Foster Parent
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