The Djao'Mor'Terra Collective (fayanora) wrote,
The Djao'Mor'Terra Collective

Bill of Youth Rights

There ought to be a bill of rights made up specifically for kids, a "bill of youth rights." To underline the fact that they are human beings, too. Some ideas for this Bill of Youth Rights:

* The right to sanctity of property. This right would basically say anything given to a child, whether that be money, clothes, toys, books, or anything they bought with allowance money they were given, is their property and the adult does not have the right to sell it, destroy it, give it away, or indefinitely keep said property from the child. Because doing so would be THEFT. I know at least three people who have, among their many issues, issues stemming from their parents selling, throwing away, or destroying their property. One friend has PTSD-induced panic attacks whenever xe sees xir property being put into boxes, because of that form of abuse. Yes, I said ABUSE. Stealing from your kids in any fashion is ABUSE. (I'm not talking temporarily keeping something from them as a consequence of bad behavior, I mean taking something away from them and not giving them a reasonable time or method of getting it back.) And if a parent/guardian has been accused of such theft/destruction of the child's property, the child should be given free legal counsel for a small-claims court case by someone who will work for a percentage of the winnings or on a pro-bono basis.

* The right to be believed, to be taken seriously, when reporting being abused. There may be the occasional asshole kid who cries wolf to get at their parents in anger, but that has about as much relevance as does false claims of rape; IE, the fact that some kids cry wolf should not impact how seriously the claims of any child, even children who have been known to cry wolf. If the claims are taken seriously enough, the consequences of such claims should be enough to discourage liars from trying that again.

* The right for bullying and harassment to be taken as seriously as other child abuse. Because bullying/harassment by peers, whether younger, older, or the same age, IS abuse.

* The right, when abuse has been reported, for the ABUSER to be taken out of the home/environment, not the child. There is no need to take a child out of a home unless both parents are abusing the child, and there are no non-abusive relatives that can take guardianship. Taking the child out of the home unnecessarily causes undue extra trauma, and doesn't help matters much if the abuser is also abusing the other parent(s)/guardians or other children.

* The right to bodily autonomy. This right needs to be underlined for all people, but especially children. The results of this right would also protect children from the misguided beliefs of guardians and medical professionals, and so would include protection from genital mutilation (in both boys and girls) and other unnecessary medical procedures. It would also include the right to be given proper medical attention and hopefully put into place some system by which we can at least try to prevent things like "pray the diabetes (or other dangerous medical condition) away" or refuses to vaccinate their child. An adult has the right to choose what they do and does not want done to/with their body, children deserve the same right, and so an adult can refuse medical treatment for their own medical conditions all they want, but society really needs to come down HARD on anyone who even ATTEMPTS to do that to children.

* The right to work if they need to, or else be able to get food and safe shelter from the state or charity groups until they come of age. While the ban on child labor is in many ways good, there are a lot of runaways and emancipated minors who need some way of supporting themselves, and if they are banned from working, they will often turn to prostitution or crime to support themselves, which makes them victims of different adults than the ones they are escaping from. And so either society should provide for these children's welfare until they come of age, preferably with some kind of halfway housing for young adults, or the child labor laws need some kind of exception written into them. Furthermore, there are also families that are so poor that they need as many people working as they can, and extra income from an older child would help a lot. Maybe restrict child labor to age-appropriate and appropriately safe tasks, but a blanket ban is just stupid and does more harm than good.

* The right to be believed when they say they CAN'T do/understand something. Kids are not small adults, they don't have the benefit of experience yet, so there are a lot of misunderstanding with even the best-intentioned adults, when something the adult takes as a given is not so obvious to a child. Punishing them for not having your experience is stupid, and frankly, is a form of emotional abuse. Especially when you consider that the child may have a learning disability or other mental disability and be unable to understand this, let alone articulate it. I'm not sure how this right would be expressed in legal terms, and there's probably not much to be done about enforcing it except putting the message out into the media as much as possible. But it should still be in there somewhere.

* The right to be able to be themselves, without being kicked out of their house for it. Parents who kick their gay/bi/trans children out of their house after coming out need to be taught that this is unacceptable. Kids in such situations should be able to go to the police and report this abuse, and be able to expect the police to respond to it. Of course, whether the child goes back or not should be up to the child, depending on age, tying in with the right to be able to be supported or to be able to support themselves when running away to escape an abuse situation. But if the only real issue is "disowning" a child, it should be made clear to the parent that this is unacceptable and, if the child is willing to stay, that the parents/guardians are obliged to keep supporting the child at least in the room/board/food/clothing sense, until the child comes of age at least. And even in adulthood (18), the adult child needs to be given a reasonable amount of time to find employment and a place to live; and if they cannot afford a place to live, they should be allowed to pay a reasonable rent to the parents/guardians. Disagreeing with a child's sexuality or even with their actual life choices, is not ethical grounds for letting them possibly die on the streets.

~ ~ ~

I also believe the voting age should be lowered, at least to 13, if not lower. There are a lot of kids who have shown themselves to be more worthy to vote than a lot of adults.

And I think that all legal vices should be required to be set to the age of adulthood, which in the USA is 18. No more of this "no drinking/gambling/buying porn until you're 21." It's arbitrary and stupid. If someone is old enough to smoke cigarettes and go off to die in a war, they should be legally considered old enough to drink, to gamble, and to buy porn.

This was cross-posted from
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Tags: human rights, youth rights
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