Child and Citizenship


This assignment will be examining the concept of the child and citizenship and how it can and should affect nursing care of the child. It will look at policy and law surrounding children, focusing on the United Nations Convention of the Right of the Child 1989 (UNCRC), paying particular attention to Article 12. It will begin by briefly examining the history and concepts of childhood, then continue on to the emergence of the UNCRC and the impact it has had on policy when dealing with children, especially in healthcare. It will then go on to linking policy to practice by looking briefly at two case studies. The main focus of this will be to examine a child’s refusal to consent to treatment. Article 12 explores the child’s right to be heard and therefore consent to treatment is encompassed in this. Consent will be examined in depth as will participation rights of the child.


It is believed that the concept of childhood materialised in the seventeenth century, and was discussed by the philosopher John Locke (Archard, 1998). This is not suggesting that prior to the C 17th children were ignored or not recognised, Aries (1962), he suggest that prior to this children were merely seen as little adults once they had reached the age of 7. It would appear that children under 7 were just seen as vulnerable beings in need of protection, this could possibly have been due to the high infant mortality rate (Aries, 1962). Archard (1998) discusses that childhood historians such as Stone and de Mause suggest that children were in the past victims of cruel treatment and abuse, which was seen as natural and normal. This is supported by Lowden (2002) who states that childhood in Britain was described as a ‘grim period’ and that children were viewed as chattels, valued for contributing to family work and supporting their parents as they got older.   However, Aries (1962) argues that children were not treated more cruelly, they just ‘didn’t count’ in the...