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Parental Obligation




The contention of this article is that parents have an obligation to care for their children, but for reasons that are not typically offered. I argue that this obligation can be unfair to parents but not unjust. I do not provide an account of what our specific obligations are to our children. Rather, I focus on providing a justification for any obligation to care for them at all. My argument turns on providing an external description of the parent–child relationship in order to establish that parents are in a unique position among adults in their ability to help and harm their own children. Given that children are deserving of moral regard, I conclude that parents are obligated – in a way that is often unfair – to provide this care. I end by considering implications for social policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Wieland, Nellie, 2011. "Parental Obligation," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(03), pages 249-267, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:utilit:v:23:y:2011:i:03:p:249-267_00

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