Rights and duties of parents

Holders of parental authority, the father and mother use their rights and fulfill their duties to decide instead of their minor child. With one objective: to protect him in his safety, health, and morals, to ensure his education, and to allow his development.

Fix the child’s residence

The child thus should live with his parents, because the latter have a right and duty of “custody “. They fix the residence of their child. It is one of the major attributes of parental authority.

This rule applies to the child but also third parties. The child cannot stay with someone else without the permission of his parents. His father and mother can authorize him to live elsewhere: in boarding school or boarding school, for example, to move away from his residence for an apprenticeship, work, or vacation.

Child care is also a parental duty:

While custody is a right, it is also a duty: parents are required to house their child. The objective is to protect the minor. Parents in default could have the exercise of parental authority withdrawn.

Duty of supervision

Protecting the health, safety, and morals of a minor implies a duty of supervision. Parents watch over their children, controlling their comings and goings, all of their relationships (family members, but also friends and acquaintances), their correspondence, and, more generally, all of their communications (emails, telephone).

Thus, they can prohibit their minor child from maintaining relations with certain people if they consider that they are not in his best interests. The duty of supervision is linked to the right of custody: it makes it possible to control the life of the child under the family roof but also outside.

Parental control, in the interest of the child

Parental control is thus exercised in the interest of the child and above all with respect for his rights. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 fixes a certain number.

Monitoring must also be adapted to the age of the child and changes in customs.

If the parents fail in their duty of supervision and the child finds himself in a situation of danger, the children’s judge can intervene and order an educational measure to help the minor, including the placement of the child. For his part, the family court judge could withdraw parental authority from the parents.

School and educate

Parents have the essential role of educating their children. This mission is not limited to enrollment in a school. It also includes moral, civic, religious, sexual education… The objective is to provide him with all the knowledge and learning necessary so that he can live in society and acquire sufficient autonomy for the day he becomes himself. Same adult,

In school matters, French law lays down a principle: schooling for children aged 6 to 16. Parents must therefore enroll them in the school of their choice at the age of 6 at the latest. However, they retain the possibility of educating them at home.

Possible sanctions and educational measures

Violating this rule would expose them to sanctions and educational assistance measures ordered by the juvenile judge. He can order placement of the child, for example, or the assistance of the parents by a specialized service bringing help and advice to the family to overcome the difficulties.

When the child grows up and wishes to sign an apprenticeship contract, he must obtain the authorization of his parents. Vocational training extends compulsory education.

Take into account the child’s wishes

Even if the legal representatives still have a say in this way, they must take into account the wishes of their grown-up child: once schooling is over, parents cannot force them to work or to choose a specific profession. If their child, even a minor, chooses to enter professional life, he or she signs their employment contract alone with their authorization.

To instill principles of life in the child

Finally, it is up to parents to teach the youngest to respect the law, the best illustration being by example! As for sex education, everyone will adapt their discourse to the age of the child. It must be done gradually, using appropriate information.

In matters of religious education, parents can decide that they will not educate their child in any religion, or choose the cult in which they will be raised. The judge himself only ventures into this area with great caution.

As soon as there is a danger for the child (in particular sectarian practices), his position will be clear. On the other hand, if the dispute concerns the choice of one confession over another, the judge will seek parental consent. If that turns out to be impossible, very often he will not decide.

In a 1991 judgment, the Court de cessation thus considered that it was necessary to wait until the young girl had reached the age of majority before exercising her choice. Baptized shortly after her birth, she had asked, at 16, to join another confession, in this case, that of her father, which had given rise to a disagreement with her mother.

Parental health decisions

In another area, parents decide on the care to be given to their child, the treatments he must follow, authorize his admission to the hospital, consent to an operation … Except in an emergency, no medical act can be performed on a minor.

This is the case with certain vaccinations. This public health measure aims to prevent the spread of contagious diseases prevalent in children.

The child can freely consult a doctor

Finally, the child can freely consult a doctor, the latter being bound by medical confidentiality. However, he will seek the consent of the parents to deliver care or treatment. This rule supports one exception. Prescribing, dispensing, or administering contraceptives without parental consent is possible.

Likewise, a teenage girl can be given, without having to inform her parents, an emergency contraceptive in a pharmacy, in family planning, or the infirmary of her school. She can also do without family consent to perform a voluntary termination of pregnancy.

The maintenance obligation

Parents must feed their children and maintain them in proportion to their resources and the child’s needs. This essential obligation applies whether the father and mother live together or separately and whether or not they exercise parental authority.

Children should be guaranteed, within the limits of the household’s financial means, a standard of living sufficient to allow their development. It is a question of feeding them, but the obligation goes far beyond. Parents must assume the costs of studies and instruction in general, vacations, health cover … And this even after they come of age.

The maintenance obligation continues until the financial independence of the young adult or at least until the end of his studies. It is most often natural that the father and mother fulfill their duty. Because the parent who does not have custody of the child is forced – based on this maintenance duty – to pay alimony.

Children and money

It is never too early to learn the value of money and how it is used. Generally from 12 years old, children can have a youth booklet and a withdrawal card, with the authorization of their parents and under their responsibility.

When they turn 16, many banks offer their young customers – with the consent of their parents – the opening of their first current account, with a bank card allowing withdrawals from ATM and pay for purchases, but also a checkbook.

Appreciable freedom, to be used with moderation! If children spend more money than they have, parents will have to make up the overdraft. Banking freedom is not acquired until the age of 18. The young person can then open and manage a bank account on their own.

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