The real value of child-parent vulnerability

Mianna Lotz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


It has been suggested that there is a troubling antagonism between the potential goods afforded for parents in the parent–child relationship, and the goods of childhood. Indeed, the problem appears deep: on one way of framing it the problem is not merely that realisation of the goods of parenting for parents is incompatible with realisation of the goods of childhood for children; it is that realisation of the parental goods of parenting is dependent on precisely what it is that makes childhood bad for children, namely their dependency and vulnerability.

In this paper I consider this supposed ‘vulnerability paradox’, as I will refer to it. I argue for a re-assessment and revaluation of the vulnerability in the parent–child relationship by developing an account of the crucial role that vulnerability plays in underpinning and facilitating what is a core–but as yet unrecognised–good of that relationship for both parents and children: namely what I call the good of ‘mutual reflexive co-constitution’ that the relationship enables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-260
Number of pages17
JournalEthics and Social Welfare
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • childhood
  • ethics
  • family
  • parenthood
  • vulnerability


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