dependent right only if she can fill the role in question. When rights
depend on roles, if you can’t play the role, then you don’t get the
right.”134 Legislation has declared children incapable of exercising
certain rights, presumably because children do not have the requisite
level of intellect necessary to make rational decisions in exercising
those rights.135 As long as the parents act in the best interest of their
children, parents have “stewardship rights.”136 It is suggested that
‘parent-as-steward’ carries with it duties toward the child. Those
duties include “not violating the rights of the child,” not allowing
others to do so, and promoting “the interest of the child.”137
This presumption of parental duty over the exercise of the
child’s rights is not the same as balancing the rights of the parent and
the rights of the child.138 This difference is considered under the
Limited Parental Rights Thesis in which “[p]arents can legitimately
exercise limited but significant discretion in raising children.”139 The
Constitution and various statutes140 acknowledge the parent’s
responsibility and the right of the child to be raised in a mentally,
physically, and emotionally healthy atmosphere.141 This is the start of
134 Brennan & Noggle, supra note 3, at 7. An example would be when a child
petitions the court for emancipation. A finding of emancipation allows the minor to
become “role-dependent” in ability to contract. Id.
135 For example, anyone under the age of eighteen cannot marry without parental
consent, or get a tattoo, and under most circumstances, those who enter into
contract with a minor may not be able to enforce it against said minor due to age.
See, e.g., Daubert v. Mosley, 487 P.2d 353, 357 (Okla. 1971) (finding that an
emancipated minor by way of marriage could not disavow the contract due to his
136 Brennan & Noggle, supra note 3, at 11.
137 Id. at 12.
138 Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584, 624 (1979) (Stewart, J., concurring).
139 Brennan & Noggle, supra note 3, at 4.
140 E.g., OKLA. STAT. ANN. tit. 10A, § 1-1-102 (West 2013) (stating that parents
have a natural, legal, and moral right, as well as a duty, to care for and support their
children and such rights are protected by state and federal laws as well as the
Constitution). In practice, where family circumstances threaten the safety of a
child, the state’s interest in the welfare of the child takes precedence over the
natural rights and authority of the parent to the extent that it is necessary to protect
the child and assure that the best interests of the child are met.
141 Parham, 442 U.S. at 604.