This study examined the understanding of children's rights in 63 (9-, 11-, and 13-year-olds) mixed-race South African children and their mothers. In individual semi-structured interviews participants responded to hypothetical vignettes in which children's nurturance and self-determination rights conflicted with parental authority in the home. Participants were required to decide whether they should support the story characters' rights and provide justifications for their responses. Findings indicated that both children and mothers were more likely to endorse children's nurturance than self-determination rights. In contrast to previous research, no significant differences were found between children and mothers in terms of support for either type of right. In terms of reasoning, both children's and mothers' responses revealed distinct patterns of thinking influenced by the type of right under consideration. The findings are discussed with reference to the available western and non-western literature on children's understanding of rights. Limitations, implications, and directions for future research are considered.
- Children's rights
- Social reasoning