and . . . paternal attention.’”83 The state could account for these
concerns by adjusting its legal system, due to the fact that children
“lack the experience, perspective, and judgment to recognize and
avoid choices that could be detrimental to them.”84 As only the
child’s vulnerability may be taken into account, it follows that the
state’s adjustment of its legal system does not include disregarding
the parental rights to the upbringing of their children. Short of abuse
or neglect, parents continue to have a constitutional right in raising
their children based upon the parents’ standards and values, not the
state’s standards and values.85 The Supreme Court in Bellotti, for
example, recognized the crucial right of parents to control the
nurturing and direction of their child’s destiny.86 It was viewed as the
role and obligation of the parents to instill moral standards and
religious beliefs as they prepared their child for active citizenship.
The Constitution protects the rights of parents to exercise
their standard for raising a child against governmental intrusion,
except for abuse or neglect that affects the child’s health, welfare, or
safety.87 The court should not override the parents’ standard of care
with its own.88 When a court does not distinguish between what is
best for the child and what is in the best interest of the child, the court
therefore begins to delve into childrearing, which is prohibited by the
Constitution. The Supreme Court in Bellotti recognized the
constitutional rights of parents to determine the upbringing of their
children without interference by acknowledging liberty and freedom
83 Id. at 635 (quoting McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 403 U.S. 528, 550 (1971)).
85 See In re G.W., 977 N.E.2d 381, 385 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012) (noting that the state
has a compelling interest in protecting children and the authority to intervene when
parents abuse, neglect, or abandon their children).
86 Bellotti, 443 U.S. at 637-38.
87 See supra Part III.
88 Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584, 623-25 (1979) (Stewart, J., concurring) (discussing
the rebuttable presumption that parents act in the best interest of their children,
recognizing a child’s rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, noting the balancing
of the parents’ and child’s rights, and the state’s authority for intervention only in
the event of abuse or neglect); see Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 70 (2000)
(ruling in favor of the grandparents based upon the judge’s own relationship with
his grandparents growing up).