Mothers’, Fathers’, and Their Children’s Perceptions and Reasoning About Nurturance and Self-Determination Rights

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

The International Journal of Children’s Rights

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

The present study investigated the development of autonomy by interviewing 47 ten-to- sixteen year-old adolescents and their parents from three US Midwestern cities about their perceptions of children's rights. The findings showed that on average, parents thought that their children would advocate for more rights than their children actually did. Mothers were more likely than fathers to believe that their child would advocate for self-determination rights. Older adolescents used more diverse reasoning categories than younger adolescents in their decision making. There was no age difference in the adolescents' support of nurturance and self-determination rights. Parents were generally given authority over moral consideration, but less over conventional and personal conventions. The results are discussed in the context of the development of personal autonomy and relatedness.