The Government should respect the right of my family to help me know about my rights.
Article 5 of the UNCRC is about recognising that most young people will find that their parents, guardians or family are the people who are most qualified to give them good advice. It's also about understanding how important family is to a young person’s wellbeing.
Best interests come first
Article 5 says that the parents or guardians of a child or young person should act in their best interests. What these are will change as a child or young person grows up: a young person is able to do more things safely than would have been the case when they were a child or a baby.
Parents or guardians should be aware of the changing abilities, wants and needs of children and young people in their care, and should take these into account when thinking about how to act in their best interests. Scots law recognises that a parent's role is more about guidance than direction once a young person turns 16.
What Article 5 doesn’t mean
Article 5 is about the support a child or young person receives from their family, parents or carers. It shouldn't be taken to mean a family member or carer can deny a child or young person their rights. If a child or young person's best interests aren’t being looked after by their family or carers, then there should be things that person can do to change this. Children and young people should be able to make their own decisions about what these changes might be.
It's important to know that:
- Article 5 doesn’t mean it’s for the best if all children and young people stay with a parent
- Article 5 doesn’t mean it’s wrong if children or young people want to get away from a parent
- Article 5 doesn’t mean children or young people should be judged if they’re not in contact with both their parents.
The influence a child's parents should have on their life will change as that child changes and develops, but that child's rights should always be respected.
Article 18 talks about how parents should share responsibility for a child's care, and about what the State's role is in a child's development.
This article is a simplified version of Article 5 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:
States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.
The Commissioner's office has an advice line that answers questions about children’s rights and child welfare.