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#31 of 57 Old 11-16-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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Would you say that the general public in Great Britain and Europe tends to be less judmental of parents who diverge from the norm?
Thats a tough question there!...hehe
Individually...I think they can be just as judgmental. (What? You don't vaccinate! Thats neglect and being inconsiderate of others - what if my kid gets measles because you didn't vaccinate! Eww...you still breastfeed your three year old? Thats sexual abuse! What you practice EC? - Thats forcing potty training! Eh - You want to home educate? Your child will not learn how to socialise! You don't punish? Your child is just manipulative and you are just permissive!... The list goes on, I have got all of these replies and more!)

As a whole country though...I would like to say they are more 'accepting'...of course, behind closed doors with a cuppa and some mates, theres all the gossip where all the judgment lies. But as a whole, out in the open, people tend to keep things to themselves and I think they plan on keeping it that way.

If it all goes tits up...You can move here with me - We can start that commune of mine I have been planning hehe

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#32 of 57 Old 11-16-2008, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If it all goes tits up...You can move here with me - We can start that commune of mine I have been planning hehe
Sounds like a good backup plan, LOL.

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#33 of 57 Old 11-16-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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I'm not PreggieUBA2C, but I am unschooling in Canada and there has been absolutely no threat to our unschooling. If anything there is more choice nowadays, including in some instances governmental financial support of unschooling, than there ever has been.

I agree too with Ann_of_loxley that overall we seem to have more choice and more freedom than those of you in the US -- despite the lack of rhetoric about freedom. Perhaps it's that we focus on "freedom from ..." and not just "freedom to ..." But I don't think that's the result of a UN declaration. I think it's cultural/historical differences.

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Exactly. Look at how easy it is to get a vaccine exemption here, and not every province "requires" vaccination, and the ones that do only "require" a couple.

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#34 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 03:22 AM
 
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There have definitely been changes in Canada, but so far, none that impede my role as mother any more than would have been previously.

The most visible changes are in the courts (change to Youth Criminal Justice Act from Young Offender Act in 2005) which has affected my dh's job (he works in this field, which is really the only way I would have known about the changes) mostly in how youth are treated, and overall, it has been a very positive change, although it has placed a lot more stress on the administrators of the law such as youth workers and police because there is much more leeway given to offenders. I personally see little to no value in a punitive system for the purpose of creating/maintaining an ethical/moral society, but that's why I don't participate in it, at either end.

The other very visible change has been in public school curricula, more specifically in Ontario and BC; there is a lot more attention to cultural diversity and mutual respect, which is great, but also a lot of responsibility placed on teachers that I don't think belongs to them, such as teaching morality and ethical practice. In theory, it may seem like a good idea, but in the way these ideas are taught, and the unreasonable requirements of teachers to carry this out have probably both contributed to widespread over-diagnosis of adhd, add, etc...

My concern is like that of others; it is the interpretation of this declaration that will show it to be either beneficial or detrimental, and I expect it will be a big mix of both.

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#35 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 02:38 PM
 
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Well, what's scary to me is I think the "general public" would view someone like me as an "unfit mother" and might see it as "in my children's best interests" for someone else to step in and take over my decision-making power.
This is how I feel. Is it really about the rights of the child? If so, if someone thought I was an "unfit mother" would they ask my son how he feels or would they decide for themselves "what is best for him"? But the truth is it's not about the child. It's about government being able to use that excuse as a way of taking away parental rights to favor the state. Like the PP said, it's all about interpretation. And because it's intrepretted one way now doesn't mean that interpretation can't or won't change.

Keep in mind that our U.S. Constitution already ensures our rights as human beings and free from government control. It already covers all the UN covers and then some (like the right to protect oneselves against a government run rampant). Our government, their ignorance of our current law and their unlimited power are the problems we need to fix. We have all the laws and solutions we need in our current Constitution which we allow our government to ignore. No amount of additional beaurocracy will ensure us anything.

Why don't the U.S. government try following OUR OWN CONSTITUTION first without adding more (foreign) government to it.

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#36 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rabbitmum View Post
Obama has called the US failure to ratify the convention "embarrassing", no one I have ever spoken to in Norway finds it anything short of shocking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convent...s_of_the_Child
I read through the Wikipedia link and thought this was notable:

"The U.S. Constitution not only limits federal jurisdiction over children, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that to some significant degree, no government—federal, state, or local—may interfere with the parent-child relationship.[26][27]." (Bolded by me)

Further:

"The Heritage Foundation sees the conflict as an issue of national control over domestic policy: "Although not originally promoted as an entity that would become involved in actively seeking to shape member states’ domes*tic policies, the U.N. has become increasingly intrusive in these arenas."[28] They express concern about "sovereign jurisdiction over domes*tic policymaking and preserving the freedom of American civil society",[29] and argue that the actual practice of some UN Committees has been to review national policies that are unrelated, or are marginally related to the actual language of the Convention.[30] Some supporters of homeschooling have expressed concern that the Convention will subvert the authority of parents.[31]"


I would agree with those who oppose the UN's Convention on the above grounds.

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#37 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 02:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Yes, I guess the question is whether the passage of this declaration could potentially put more power in the hands of government officials, give them more access than they already have to homes, that kind of thing ...

Someone (I can't remember where) mentioned that whereas this declaration is non-binding in the other nations where it's been passed, it would somehow be more binding in the U.S. because of the way our laws are set up regarding treaties ... does anyone here know more about this? ...
From another homeschool list I am on, someone forwarded an e-mail from Michael Smith, HSLDA's President. Here's the part that addresses your concern:


"Should the UN Convention be ratified, it would impose the United
Nation's view of children's rights on America. Under the U.S.
Constitution, treaties become the Supreme Law of the land, taking
precedent over state laws and state supreme court decisions."


That's what I read anyhow, don't know how accurate it is.

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#38 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 03:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by greenthumb3 View Post
I read through the Wikipedia link and thought this was notable:

"The U.S. Constitution not only limits federal jurisdiction over children, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that to some significant degree, no government—federal, state, or local—may interfere with the parent-child relationship.[26][27]." (Bolded by me)

Further:

"The Heritage Foundation sees the conflict as an issue of national control over domestic policy: "Although not originally promoted as an entity that would become involved in actively seeking to shape member states’ domes*tic policies, the U.N. has become increasingly intrusive in these arenas."[28] They express concern about "sovereign jurisdiction over domes*tic policymaking and preserving the freedom of American civil society",[29] and argue that the actual practice of some UN Committees has been to review national policies that are unrelated, or are marginally related to the actual language of the Convention.[30] Some supporters of homeschooling have expressed concern that the Convention will subvert the authority of parents.[31]"


I would agree with those who oppose the UN's Convention on the above grounds.
Both these paragraphs are taken from the section about the arguments of those who oppose the Convention, and must not be taken as objective facts, but rather as expressing the fears of specific groups.

As for the US constitution already providing sufficient protection I can't see how that can be true when children lack protection from violence and eight year olds can be put in jail.

I'm crossing my fingers that Obama will do something about this!
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#39 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 03:37 PM
 
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"Should the UN Convention be ratified, it would impose the United
Nation's view of children's rights on America. Under the U.S.
Constitution, treaties become the Supreme Law of the land, taking
precedent over state laws and state supreme court decisions."

In Norway the UN Constitution of the Rights of the Child has been incorporated in Norwegian law since 2003 (it was ratified in 1991). We still have the right to homescool, we can still choose not to vaccinate, we still have the right to homebirth (in fact the royal princess Märtha Louise has recently done so for the third time), and none of these rights have been challenged in any way.


The Constitution of the Rights of the Child wasn't made for the sake of government, but to give children extra protection in addition to the protection that they already have through the Human Rights Declaration - extra protection that they need because they are smaller, and more vulnerable than grown-ups, and in many areas have specific needs due to being immature and still developing.
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#40 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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Both these paragraphs are taken from the section about the arguments of those who oppose the Convention, and must not be taken as objective facts, but rather as expressing the fears of specific groups.
Yes, you are correct, they are opinions from those who oppose the Convention, and yes, I still agree with those two viewpoints.

Yes, there are injustices happening in America and no, the way the government works is not problem-free, but it is a framework that allows change to happen. I see no need to adopt another organization's framework to impose their will on us. But that's just me, your typical freedom lovin' American parent.

I would rather work within the U.S. Constitution and the way our government currently works and improve within the structure we have in place than try to reinvent the wheel, and introduce the possibility of losing some freedoms.

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#41 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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The Constitution of the Rights of the Child wasn't made for the sake of government, but to give children extra protection in addition to the protection that they already have through the Human Rights Declaration - extra protection that they need because they are smaller, and more vulnerable than grown-ups, and in many areas have specific needs due to being immature and still developing.

Aaahhh, but I think the Convention is to give the "government" right over the parents to say what happens in regards to children in the name of "we are doing what's best for them children". It's not the parents saying, "This is what's best", it's the UN. That is the hidden agenda, or if not the purose, an accidental outcome that I see could possibly happen.

I would rather see a Convention for the parents' rights to protect and raise their children.

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#42 of 57 Old 11-17-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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As for the US constitution already providing sufficient protection I can't see how that can be true when children lack protection from violence and eight year olds can be put in jail.
It is true. But it's also true that our politicians do not follow the Constitution. So of course it isn't working when we don't follow it.
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#43 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do see a couple of potential positive if this is adopted in the U.S.:

1)Spanking would gradually stop being the norm -- I realize it is no longer "the norm" in some parts of the U.S. -- however, where I live in the Midwest, practically every other parent I've met believes in spanking to some degree -- maybe not always as a "first resort," but at least as a "last resort" ... something to keep in the old "toolbox" ... "just in case."

Even at our state's Children's Services website, spanking is differentiated from physical abuse. I think this would change if the "Rights of the Child" declaration is accepted here ... I've heard that when it was adopted in Sweden, there were no punitive measures, and children were not snatched and placed in foster care for getting spanked, but parents were able to get the help they needed in learning new ways to relate to their children ...

I'm just hoping it would be handled the same way in the U.S. -- because I definitely think most children would prefer to stay in their homes if at all possible. Actually, it doesn't seem likely that CPS here would suddenly start placing every child who got spanked into foster care, as our foster-care system is overloaded as it is.

2)I liked the part where it said that children of tender years should not be separated from their mothers, except in cases where this is clearly in the child's best interests. I wonder, in the countries where "Rights of the Child" is already in operation, if this means there is more done to enable low-income mothers, especially single mothers, to stay home while their chldren are small.

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#44 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 02:06 PM
 
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I do see a couple of potential positive if this is adopted in the U.S.:

.... I wonder, in the countries where "Rights of the Child" is already in operation, if this means there is more done to enable low-income mothers, especially single mothers, to stay home while their chldren are small.
In Canada paid parental leave after the birth of a child has recently been increased to 35-37 weeks. Certainly much better than the paltry few weeks in the US.

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#45 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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In Canada paid parental leave after the birth of a child has recently been increased to 35-37 weeks. Certainly much better than the paltry few weeks in the US.
It has also increased here. And of course, our whole system is different...People can get a 'council house' and benefits. How much you get is based on a lot of things though...its rather complicated of course. But I am never worried that we will ever be homeless or never have enough money for food and clothes if say for example, DH were to die tomorrow or we were to split up or he were to lose his job, etc.

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#46 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This sounds like a real positive if that's how it got interpreted here. Right now it's next to impossible for most single mamas to stay home with their little ones, though there is help with childcare costs when the mothers work or go to school.

I'm all for helping single mamas further their educations and careers -- I just think it would be better to help the ones who want to, to stay home while their children are small.

Even better, I wish our government would subsidize helping more mothers get established in genuine work-from-home businesses. I think many companies could save costs by utilizing SAHM's to do much of their work -- and there may already be some genuine opportunities out there, only many of us are too scared to pursue the tihngs out there, as so many are scams.

I think governmnet could be put to quite good use in "approving" the opportunities that are genuine, and also in helping with get-started costs so women aren't having to pay to get started.

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#47 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 04:30 PM
 
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It would be lovely if signing this resulted in better (paid) and longer maternity leave, in the end of spanking and in universal healthcare.

Unfortunately, though, as we witnessed during the election, this country equates those things with socialism. In Canada and the UK, socialism isn't a dirty word the way it is here. Here, people seem to think that socialism=communism which means next you'll have the government peeking in your windows all day long.

I have high hopes that some of those attitudes will soften with our new president, but realistically, it's unlikely that we'll ever have good maternity leave or truly universal healthcare, no matter what UN Convention we sign.

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#48 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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I wonder, in the countries where "Rights of the Child" is already in operation, if this means there is more done to enable low-income mothers, especially single mothers, to stay home while their chldren are small.
We have a year at 80 % pay or ten monts at 100 %. Single mothers who don't work get support from the state for three years, which can be extended to five years if they are in school or other education that will enable them to get a job.

There are no nurseries for babies much under a year old; no babies are sent to daycare when they're three or four months old or even younger, which I have the impression is not unusual in the U.S.

Parents who choose not to send their children to daycare once they're a year old currently get paid a small sum per month per child from one to three years old (about 475 USD/month). This is of course not enough to compensate for the mother's wages, but is meant to contribute to there being a choice.

There is also the state child support of about 150 USD/month per child that is paid to all parents. Single mothers get extra support, i.e. for one more child than she actually has.

But it must be said that the current political climate in Norway is not particularly in favour of encouraging mothers to stay at home after the child is one year old. Mothers are encouraged to go back to their jobs, which they have a legal right to return to after the maternity leave.

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child has not been used in Norway, as far as I know, to argue for mothers staying home with their children more than a year. The cases where the articles about children's right to care from their parents, and not to be separated from them, have been in focus here, have typically been cases where a foreign father without a permanent staying permit, but who has a child with a Norwegian mother, has been sent out of the country because he has committed crimes. This violates the child's right to both parents and therefore poses a legal dilemma.
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#49 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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Interesting thread. I will definitely need to research this topic. Currently, I share the fears expressed by others that ratifying this convention would be implemented differently in the US. We also have to remember that if we give new powers to a president we trust, those same powers will be transferred to subsequent presidents that we may feel differently about. I would love to see reasonable maternity benefits and an end to physical punishment, but I'm just not sure that it will play out that way in our country.

Also, slightly off-topic, but I wanted to correct those who have mentioned that in the US mothers only get a few weeks of paid maternity leave. We actually get 0 weeks paid time. Individual companies can choose to offer those benefits, but there are no federal regulations requiring a company to pay any maternity leave. We can have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without losing our jobs (unless we work for a small company), but none of it has to be paid. That's why mothers are typically back at work in about 6 weeks.
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#50 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 07:46 PM
 
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I do have to say, that Norway is a better country than the UK lol...First, their car seat laws are bloody fantatic! If I could be arsed to learn a new language and I liked the cold - then perhaps I would move there

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But it must be said that the current political climate in Norway is not particularly in favour of encouraging mothers to stay at home after the child is one year old. Mothers are encouraged to go back to their jobs, which they have a legal right to return to after the maternity leave.
That is the climate here as well. In fact, out of all the mothers in my 'antenatal' group who had babies all around the same time - Only I and one other mother (out of like 30!) decided to be SAHMs! (and I decided before I was even pregnant lol - and she decided as the time to decide - after her baby was born- came nearer.)

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Unfortunately, though, as we witnessed during the election, this country equates those things with socialism. In Canada and the UK, socialism isn't a dirty word the way it is here. Here, people seem to think that socialism=communism which means next you'll have the government peeking in your windows all day long.
Yes - I see thats as well. Which is a real shame.

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#51 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 09:13 PM
 
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Tell your folks over there that Tony Blair was a socialist and see them faint in shock! Of course he isn't a 'real' socialist but Gordon is a bit more down that 'big state' road that the US isn't so keen on.

I wanted to chime in with what Ann said about our rights to home educate here. The text of the law states that children nust be educated at school or otherwise which is where home educatino comes in. The run down of the law and legal precedent is here

I have had contact from the Local Education Authority who first wrpte to let us know that they knew we had withdrawn dd from school and to book an inspection. I declined politely and this was followed up swiftly with a letter offering a monitoring visit (ah semantics!) which I replied to a bit more forcefully quoting the law which says that unless they have evidence to show that an adequate education is not taking place, they have no right to insist on visiting or even meeting me. I am also under no obligation to provide them with an educational philosophy or yearly reports and I will defend my right not to do so.

Lots of people do agree to visits and inspections and do provide yearly reports and although part of me accepts that it is their choice to do so and that each family should do what it feels comfortable doing, I also feel that to some extent we should all stand together to defend our rights in law and not give ground voluntarily. To give information willingly when it is not required opens the door to those who send the letters thinking that allowing them access and the rest is normal and should be expected when in law the opposite is true.

The fact that the home ed team is based within the local authority's Department for Social Inclusion also tells you something a little more discomforting.

New government proposals to link eligibilty for out of work benefits on the age of your youngest child means that parents with a school age child will be required to seek work actively and benefits may be cut if they do not find employment. This leaves the home edding parent in a bind which is not currently defensible and will probably need specific legislation to exempt them. This in turn will probably lead to people needing to register ther home educated children in some way and agree to be monitored to keep their status up: just what the current law enables us to avoid
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#52 of 57 Old 11-18-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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I do have to say, that Norway is a better country than the UK lol...First, their car seat laws are bloody fantatic! If I could be arsed to learn a new language and I liked the cold - then perhaps I would move there
Our car seat laws - I didn't realise they were so fantastic!

Well my husband can't be arsed to learn Norwegian and he hates the cold, and he still lives here!
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#53 of 57 Old 11-19-2008, 07:53 AM
 
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Also, slightly off-topic, but I wanted to correct those who have mentioned that in the US mothers only get a few weeks of paid maternity leave. We actually get 0 weeks paid time. Individual companies can choose to offer those benefits, but there are no federal regulations requiring a company to pay any maternity leave. We can have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without losing our jobs (unless we work for a small company), but none of it has to be paid. That's why mothers are typically back at work in about 6 weeks.
Unless things have changed, and they may have, you had to be employed at a company for one year prior being eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act as well. If you weren't, you were only allowed 4 weeks unpaid and they could fire you after that. I watched a girl come back after giving birth and she was in bad shape. I just opted to quit and not return, but obviously that isn't an option for everyone. I certainly would have been fired with the problems I had after my first birth if I tried to return.
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#54 of 57 Old 11-19-2008, 08:32 AM
 
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I would be interested to know what policy changes have resulted directly from having adopted the UN Rights of the Child constitution in other countries.

I do think the U.S. should sign it so everyone doesn't think we don't care about children's rights, but I'm a little doubtful about just how much impact it would really make. I don't think it would change much at all. If it makes it harder to charge kids as adults, that's not a bad thing. I don't care what an 8 year old has done, he should not be sent to prison, much less a life sentence!

I have no worry that it would affect homeschooling. It's education that is the issue, not school. I think that right is more to prevent child labor than anything else and to make sure kids have the opportunity to learn to read, write, calculate, think and learn etc. which unschooled kids certainly do.

Hopefully every child would have access to good healthcare. I'm not sure it would help bump up maternity leave all that much, but anything is better than 0 weeks! Unless it's changed very recently, in France it's only 10 weeks postpartum (with some exceptions that could lengthen it to 12 or 14 weeks for some mothers). There is more leeway (some unpaid leave and some qualify for a bit of money) for mothers who want to take longer than that but most who need or want to work go back when their babies are around 2.5-3 months old.

And I've seen plenty of people in France be rough with their kids, including spanking and smacking.
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#55 of 57 Old 11-19-2008, 04:58 PM
 
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I don't think these kind of resolutions, or plans to make preschool available and free to everyone, or healthcare and vaccinations available and affordable, etc. will take away from parents' rights to choose to use these or not. I think it is merely an effort to aid people who have historically not had access to such things and want them. I am not worried.
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#56 of 57 Old 11-19-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
I would be interested to know what policy changes have resulted directly from having adopted the UN Rights of the Child constitution in other countries.

I do think the U.S. should sign it so everyone doesn't think we don't care about children's rights, but I'm a little doubtful about just how much impact it would really make. I don't think it would change much at all. If it makes it harder to charge kids as adults, that's not a bad thing. I don't care what an 8 year old has done, he should not be sent to prison, much less a life sentence!

I have no worry that it would affect homeschooling. It's education that is the issue, not school. I think that right is more to prevent child labor than anything else and to make sure kids have the opportunity to learn to read, write, calculate, think and learn etc. which unschooled kids certainly do.

Hopefully every child would have access to good healthcare. I'm not sure it would help bump up maternity leave all that much, but anything is better than 0 weeks! Unless it's changed very recently, in France it's only 10 weeks postpartum (with some exceptions that could lengthen it to 12 or 14 weeks for some mothers). There is more leeway (some unpaid leave and some qualify for a bit of money) for mothers who want to take longer than that but most who need or want to work go back when their babies are around 2.5-3 months old.

And I've seen plenty of people in France be rough with their kids, including spanking and smacking.
I think you're right - signing the Declaration doesn't automatically mean that parents aren't allowed to "be rough" with their kids. There's a lot of room for interpretation in many of the articles in the Declaration, and many concepts that are understood differently in different cultures.

It is not because of the UN Declaration that spanking is illegal in Norway, as the ban on spanking (1972) precedes the ratification of the Declaration (1991) with almost 20 years. And still "spontaneous, light smacking in a non-humiliating way" is not punishable in Norway, although this is most likely being changed now.

The most immediate change in Norwegian legal practice that has come directly out of the Declaration's incorporation in the law, is due to a direct conflict between the two systems: According to Norwegian law a child's opinion on matters affecting them, must be taken into account from age twelve, and from age seven they had a legal right to "be heard". Now the UN Declaration doesn't operate with any age limits - it simply says that the child must have a say, and their opinion be taken into account, depending on maturity. This comes into play in custody cases, where the child's wishes previously was given considerable weight if he / she was over twelve, this age limit doesn't really exist anymore and the child's wishes is generally given more weight regardless of age.

The UN Committee for the Rights of the Child issues reports where they point out areas where the countries are not fulfilling the Declaration. Norway has lately been criticised by the Committee for discrimination of some groups of children that are not receiving the same level of protection, education and cultural participation as others. These groups are (as far as I remember) children who seek asylum, especially those who have arrived in the country without their parents; children in mental institutions, children with physical handicaps, and children in church asylum (a system deriving from the Middle Ages which means that refugees can hide in a church and the police can't go in and fetch them). So this is something Norway has been recommended that we improve in order to fulfill our obligations.

I can imagine that the Declaration being signed by the US would mean that you would have to provide health services for all children and stop all imprisonment of children. I'm not sure about spanking - it is legal in the UK after all, although I do think they have been told by the Human Rights court in the Hague to change this, after a boy complained to this court about being beaten severely by his stepfather. As late as last year, though, British politicians stated they had no intention of banning spanking. I'm not sure how far the Committee for the Rights of the Child has gone in criticising UK spanking laws although I know they have asked for measures to reduce violence against children, and also poverty and inequality. These two last issues I assume the US would also be asked to do something about.
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#57 of 57 Old 11-20-2008, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is all really interesting! I see Needle's point, and agree that I'd rather not us be the "only" nation that won't sign it, which makes us seem uncaring about children.

At the same time, I guess I share the American wariness of adopting more legislation/regulation.

It's funny, because I have been growing increasingly liberal/progressive over time. I defintily don't think, for instance, that businesses should be free to do whatever they want with no regulation or limits.

At the same time, I lean a lot more toward anarchy when it comes to living out our lives in general. Well, except that dh and I do avail ourselves of some taxpayer-supported programs, which I guess a true anarchist would never be a part of.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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