Parenthood ideals and children’s rights
My ongoing research projects concern children, parenthood and family – how good parenthood is defined and suitability as parent is assessed in various contexts. My research areas include adoption, assisted reproduction and digital discussion fora for parents.
How is good parenthood defined and who is assessed as a suitable parent? These are recurrent questions in my research projects. In two ongoing projects I analyse how the parent potential of couples and individual applicants is vetted in adoption and in assisted reproduction. Central questions are how parent suitability is displayed in adoption homestudy reports and how the wishes of adults to become parents are balanced against concerns for the welfare of the child.
In another project, I have instead examined how good parenthood is defined by parents in a digital discussion forum. In the forum parents offer each other advice and comment on each other’s posts. In this interaction some statements and suggestions are positioned as expressions of good parenthood, while others are criticized.
My research as well as teaching concern contexts, in which potential conflicts between the interests of children and parents, or presumptive parents, can arise. For the state, such situations pose a dilemma as they require that a balance is struck between the child’s right to protection on one hand and parents’ right to integrity and freedom of choice on the other.