Parents have an intense desire to protect and promote the well-being of their children. Therefore, policies surrounding the education of children often involve higher stakes than many other political issues..Today, with governments across Canada having adopted the 'progressive' perspective on sexuality whole hog, sex education and gender identity in schools are issues where parents have particular concerns..And to make matters worse, far-left educational officials and activists often deny the rights of parents to be informed about what’s going on in the schools.. To whom do children belong? .With this in mind, a recent book is particularly relevant..In 2017, Cambridge University Press published To Whom Do Children Belong? Parental Rights, Civic Education, and Children's Autonomy by Melissa Moschella, Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York..This book is important because it presents a strong defence of parental rights from an academic perspective..In Professor Moschella’s view, parental rights are fundamentally grounded in biology. A child’s very existence is caused by the combination of reproductive cells from his mother and father..As she puts it, “The child is who he is because of who his parents are; to be begotten by other parents is, simply, to be someone else. Thus biological (i.e. genetic) parents are, and always will be, unique and irreplaceable to their children even if they have no further interactions with those children beyond conception.”.The biological relationship between the parents and child is permanent and cannot be changed by circumstances. This relationship creates special obligations for the parents to care for their child..When a child is born, he or she is completely dependent on others for care, and since the parents have caused the child to exist, they must provide that care. As the child matures, the parents’ obligations to provide care evolve to match the child’s changing needs..Moschella writes: “the fact that children’s initial and prolonged state of neediness (together with their existence) flows precisely out of their personal relationship with their biological parents, implies that children are not just needy and dependent in general, but personally dependent on their biological parents for the ideal fulfillment of their developmental needs."."This means that biological parents cannot fulfill their special obligations to their children without raising those children themselves, which implies exercising decision-making authority over them.”.In the case of adoptive parents, their parental rights and obligations are grounded in their commitment to take on the parenting role. Parenthood requires permanent obligations to one’s children, and adoptive parents take up those permanent obligations by choice..A key point is the well-being of children is maximized when they are raised by their own parents. Furthermore, the well-being of parents is maximized when they raise their own children..Everyone involved, therefore, benefits from this situation and thus the common good of society is also enhanced. In this sense, recognizing parents have primary childrearing authority benefits the entire community..Of course, parents cannot legitimately act in ways that result in harm to their child because doing so is beyond their authority. Parental rights are grounded in parental obligations to care for their child and are correspondingly limited by those obligations..The bottom line, though, is parents must be given wide latitude to determine what is best for their child..Coercive state intervention into family life creates its own inevitable harms which may be even worse than the harms of tolerating flawed parenting. Such intervention must therefore be a last resort..Moschella explains this point by noting overzealous state intrusion “harms children by breaking up the family unnecessarily, undermining parental authority and family intimacy, preventing parents from achieving their own good qua parents and tearing children away from caregivers (however imperfect) to whom they have formed attachments that are important for their psychological well-being.”.When in doubt, officials should err on the side of parental rights to safeguard the family’s autonomy over its internal affairs..Of course, this perspective has significant ramifications for public policy: “Strong protections for parental rights are a central component of any just political order whose laws and institutions aim to foster the well-being of its members in both present and future generations.”.Any erosion of parental rights will undermine the long-term well-being of children, parents and society generally. Policies informed by a strong respect for parental rights are a much better alternative for everyone, unlike the harmful anti-parent policies pushed by the far-left.