This chapter focuses on the need to protect children from excessive parental influence, while respecting the interest that both parents and children have in the right kind of parent–child relationship. It challenges widespread views about the extent of parents' rights to influence their children's emerging views of the world and what matters in it. Children are separate people, with their own lives to lead, and the right to make, and act on, their own judgments about how they are to live those lives. They are not the property of their parents. And because they are not property, and yet parents are accorded such power over them, it is wrong for parents to treat them as vehicles for their own self-expression, or as means to the realization of their own views on controversial questions about how to live. The desire to extend oneself into the future, and to influence the shape that future takes, can be satisfied in other ways, without a parent relying on that authority over her children that is justified on other grounds.
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