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FS-Could a UN Law Overrule Parents?
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

Question: I am a divorced working mother and have one son, now age 13. My ex-husband and I have been getting along fine, which is good given the fact that our son has recently begun exhibiting uncharacteristic behavior problems. We believe he is taking drugs and running with the wrong crowd, but he refuses to take a drug test. My ex and I have met with his teachers who have noticed a change in attitude, failure to turn in homework, etc.

My ex and I have tried to seek counseling, but our son refuses. At a joint meeting among the three of us, my ex got so exasperated that he gave our son a spanking on his bottom using his hands and over his jeans.

Bottom line: our son reported parental abuse to the school resource officer who, in turn, reported both my ex and me to child protective services, and we are under investigation for child abuse. Our son has been taken from our home and placed in foster care pending the investigation. We have hired a lawyer, but our efforts to seek drug testing, etc., has gone unheeded. We are now unable to even talk to our son. Can you be of any help?

Answer: We believe that your and your ex-husband's plight is the result of excessive state and government intrusion into family matters between parents and children. While we understand the need to investigate complaints, your situation as stated appears to be out of bounds.

Of even greater concern to American families could be the potential effect of a treaty known as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that is now winding its way through the United States Senate. This treaty was adopted nearly 20 years ago by the United Nations and submitted to member nations for ratification which, in the United States, requires a 2/3 vote by the U.S. Senate. The United States is one of a small number of countries that has not ratified it, for good reason in our opinion.

In short, if passed, this treaty would override laws of every state as to the parent-child relationship vis a vis education, health care, family discipline and many other topics. Of particular concern is that this treaty is opposite to existing laws related to the parent-child relationships. For example, it would mandate, among other things, that children can express their views to the coutrt as to any issue affecting them, with weight being given to their age and maturity.

At present, laws in the United States say that unless proof of harm is shown, neither the states, courts or social workers have the authority to get involved in parent-child relationships and decisionmaking processes.

Otherwise, the government could substitute its discretion for that of the parent without proof sufficient to justify intervention.

Religion and education stand out as areas with the potential of generating significant conflict, however, there are matters of discipline and other issues that could -- if state and court intervention were allowed -- get out of hand.

Think about it: Say the parents and their ten-year-old disagree about everything from attending school to vacations to household chores or to curfew, and the final decisions on those goes to the government? In addition to eroding discipline and family values, raising children could become an impossible exercise.

Need more advice or help with this topic? Click here to get information about taking the "Next Step".

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Suggested Reading:
Separation and Divorce Guidebook
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FS-Be Wary of Credit Issues with Ex
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FS-Becareful of Bargaining Away Alimony As Child Support
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FS-Lawyer Tells Me to Lie & Pension Double Dipped
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FS-On and Off Again Reconciles Can Create Agreement Disasters
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FS-The Dangers of Family Loans
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FS-Transference of Affection & 10 Tips of Divorce
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