Paternal Rights Versus Children's Welfare Term Paper

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Parental Rights and Children's Welfare

Sociological Analysis on Parental Rights vs. Children's Welfare: Structural-Functionalist, Conflict, and Symbolic Interactionist Perspectives

Studying the structure and dynamics of society entails not only analyzing the elements that comprise it, but also the general or 'bigger picture' of what society is -- that is, analysis of social structure and dynamics must be at the macro and micro levels. Indeed, sociological phenomena are analyzed and studied by social scientists using various theoretical perspectives formulated in order to provide researchers, as well as their audience, a look into the various interpretations that people give to explain specific events or realities experienced by the society and the individual. In the field of sociology, among these theoretical perspectives are the structural-functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist traditions.

A particular example illustrating the discussion above is the analysis of parental rights and children's welfare, considered as an essential sociological phenomenon affecting the most basic institution in the society today, the family. In addition to the family, the government is also an essential element that must also be considered in the analysis, since it is also a social institution that directly affects
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the family with the imposition of measures and regulations concerning child welfare. Going further into these divisions, the family must also be looked into, in this context, as consisting of the parents and children (nuclear family). After identifying the key elements needed for the analysis, this paper discusses how the social issue of parental rights vs. children's welfare differs in accordance to the three sociological traditions/perspectives.

In the structural-functionalist perspective, "social institutions playa key role in keeping a society alive and viable." Using the concept of the division of role commonly associated with concepts of social roles and statuses, this perspective considers every member of the society as vital or functional in the society, regardless of the favorable/unfavorable status or role of the individual. Applying the issue of parental rights vs. children's welfare under this tradition, it is evident that role/status differences and culture influence the how the family, government, parents, and children interact with each other concerning this issue. Structural-functionalism posits that both parents and children have specific roles in the society that needs be accomplished; similarly, the government has the role to fiscalize and govern over the family institution, ensuring that these defined roles of the parents and children are followed. Thus, both parental rights and children's welfare are considered essential, and one cannot exist without the presence of the other.

In this case,…

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