Children and Wellbeing

In Anca Gheaus, Gideon Calder & Jurgen De Wispelaere (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 90-100 (2018)

Anthony Skelton
University of Western Ontario
Children are routinely treated paternalistically. There are good reasons for this. Children are quite vulnerable. They are ill-equipped to meet their most basic needs, due, in part, to deficiencies in practical and theoretical reasoning and in executing their wishes. Children’s motivations and perceptions are often not congruent with their best interests. Consequently, raising children involves facilitating their best interests synchronically and diachronically. In practice, this requires caregivers to (in some sense) manage a child’s daily life. If apposite, this management will focus partly on a child’s well-being. To be ably executed, an account of children’s well-being will need to be articulated. This chapter focuses on the nature of children’s well-being. It has five sections. The first section clarifies the focus. The second section examines some hurdles to articulating a view of children’s well-being. The third section evaluates some accounts of children’s well-being. The fourth section addresses the view that children possess features essential to them that make their lives on balance prudentially bad for them. The fifth section sums things up.
Keywords Prudential Value  Children  Wellbeing
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