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Journal Article

Should children have a veto over parental decisions to relocate?


de Vries,  Bouke
Ethics, Law and Politics, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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de Vries, B. (2020). Should children have a veto over parental decisions to relocate? Moral Philosophy and Politics, ahead of print. doi:10.1515/mopp-2019-0053.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-F1B6-C
Many people move house at some point during their childhood and not rarely more than once. While relocations are not always harmful for under-aged children, they can, and frequently do, cause great disruption to their lives by severing their social ties as well as any attachments that they might have to their neighbourhood, town, or wider geographical region, with long-lasting psychological effects in some cases. Since it is increasingly recognised within normative philosophy as well as within Western societies that older minors should have the final say over certain issues that significantly affect their lives (think, for instance, of custody disputes, decisions about whether to get specific vaccinations or use contraceptives), this raises the question: Can it be morally incumbent upon parents to give their minor children a veto over family relocation? This article argues that the answer is affirmative. Specifically, it suggests that such duties exist if and only if (i) parents are not morally required to either relocate their families or stay put, (ii) the stakes of the decision about a family relocation are fairly low, and (iii) the children have the competence to make these decisions, as many older minors do.