Living with Children: Rosemond’s Bill of Rights for children

In 1993, the Clinton administration signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty that extends to children the rights to associate with whom they please and have access to all forms of media, among other head-scratchers. Thankfully, as of March 2023, the U.S. remains the only UN member state to have not ratified the document.

I subsequently channeled my indignation into a counter-document titled “Rosemond’s Bill of Rights for Children.” Recently, numerous folks have requested I reprint it. So in tribute to civilized behavior, I give you the short list of a child’s rights.

Article 1: Because it is the most character-building word in the English language, children have the right to hear their parents say “no” at least three times a day, every day.

Article 2: Children have the right to find out early in their lives that their parents don’t exist to make them happy, but to offer them the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to eventually make themselves happy.

Article 3: Children have a right to scream all they want over the decisions their parents make, albeit their parents have the right to confine said screaming to certain designated “go scream all you want” places in their homes.

Article 4: Children have the right to find out early that their parents care deeply for them but don’t give a hoot what said children think about them at any given moment in time.

Article 5: Because it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, children have the right to hear their parents say “Because I said so” on a regular and frequent basis. (This Article goes hand-in-hand with Article 1.)

Article 6: Because it is foremost a character-building activity, children have the right to share significantly in household chores.

Article 7: Children have the right to discover early in life that they aren’t the center of the universe, the Second Coming, or even — in the overall scheme of things, and in strictly earthly terms — very important at all (no one is) so as to prevent them from becoming insufferable brats. (Homework exercise: Name three adults who continue to be insufferable brats.)

Article 8: Children have the right to learn to be grateful for what they receive; therefore, they have the right to receive all of what they truly need, and little of what they simply want.

Article 9: Children have the right to learn early in their lives that obedience to legitimate authority is not optional, that there will be consequences for disobedience, and that said consequences will be memorable and therefore persuasive.

Article 10: Children have the right to parents who love them enough to make sure they enjoy all of the above rights.

And everyone still possessing of commonsense said, “Amen!”

Visit family psychologist John Rosemond’s website at; readers may send him email at [email protected]; due to the volume of mail, not every question will be answered.