A good Parent-child relationship is very crucial for the better welfare of a child. In the early ages of their growing, Minors need parents or guardians as they grow up since it provides their safety and also molds them to become dependent individuals. Foster care agencies and foster parents are not fully entitled to the full responsibilities carried out by biological parents even though they have the legal responsibility to nurture a minor (Davis, 2011). When a court issues an emancipation, this right ceases to exist. Emancipation is a process through which a child is freed from the responsibility of the parents or guardian and supports himself/herself. It takes place in a court of law. The child assumes adult responsibilities of his or her welfare. The minor gets the privileges, duties, and rights of an adult even before he/ she becomes one. There are two types of emancipation. They include simple and full emancipation. In simple emancipation, the legal process gives the minor many crucial rights, but he or she doesn't attain the full adult status whereas, in full emancipation, the minor gets all the rights of an adult (Merino, 2014). It ends the parents' right to participate in any decision-making concerning the child.
For a minor to undergo emancipation, he/she must meet the following conditions.
Must have be 16 years of age and above
Must not be living with either of his/her parents.
Must not be receiving any financial aid from the parents
Must have a job as his/her primary source of income.
If he/she gets married or join the military.
If he/she vacates his/her parents' home without substantial reason, a child can undergo emancipation.
It is not an easy for a minor to live without the care of his/her parents. Emancipation may have some implications on the child's life. Some minor may be psychologically affected due to some reasons beyond their control. Difference theories such as Bronfenbrenner, resilience, attachment theory, learning theory, information processing, and psychoanalysis explain the psychological effects brought about by emancipation.
Resilience theory states that both protective and risk factors determine resiliency. Psychology resilience is the ability to adapt well in a hard situation such as tragedy, serious health or relationship problems (Ungar, 2012). Emancipated children go through various hardships in trying to adjust to their new environment where the help of their parents is no longer available. Some minors develop stress, but with time, they don't lose focus in life and bounce back strong like never before. They develop resilience and overcome different challenges that they were facing. Several factors help an individual to become resilient. These factors include;
Acceptance: Refers to tolerating the current situation one is in and working hard to ensure that you overcome it.
Hardiness: this refers to the internal strength a person may have that help them endure hard situations they face.
Mastery: this is when one belief to have control of the situation.
Hope/optimistic: it is the having a sense of purpose. Hope makes one remain focused regardless of the situation.
People with optimistic attitude are highly regarded to experience resilience since they are not carried away by any negative experience they face.
Attachment theory is another theory that describes the interpersonal relationship. When people live together in for a very long time, they develop a strong bond between one another (Holmes, 1993). Children develop a physical and emotional attachment with their parents or guardians when they stay together. This attachment gives them a sense of security and stability necessary to branch out and take risks. Children who undergo emancipation tend to have a hard time trying to adjust to their new environment without their parents' support. They may get depressed when they realize that life without parents' support can be challenging.
In the United States of America, a minor may become emancipated if he/she joins the United States military. In some jurisdiction, a child may also become emancipated if he marries or demonstrates full independence even before he/she becomes an adult. For example, if parents of a minor aged 16 or 17 get killed and that child is going to college on an internship or he/she is already employed and capable of living alone, the child may have most rights of an adult.
However, there is some controversy that arises from child emancipation especially in matters concerning medical care. In Ontario, Medical Act doesn't differentiate between children and adult and neither does it make clear the right age a minor is capable of making his/her medical decision. In Canada, they rely upon the Mature Minor Rule which grants a minor to make medical decisions concerning his/her treatment. Only children capable of entirely understanding and appreciating the outcome of the treatment are entitled to the Law.
According to Thomas B. v. and Lydia D on a recent case is a perfect illustration of how a minor can become emancipated. They held that two parents might not terminate the child support duties by written agreement just because of the child full-time employment, without supporting evidence showing the financial independence of the child. The parents were having a divorce and according Agreement entered, the father was obligated to pay an annual maintenance until he became emancipated or reached the age of 21. A child having a full-time employment defines emancipation according to the stipulation. The father tabled a motion seeking the child to be emancipated since he had a full-time job at a music store. The mother didn't agree with the motion arguing that during the period in question, the child was residing in their neighborhood as part of his diagnosis for drug abuse. The child having employment at the music store was one of the conditions of that treatment. The mother also argued that the child was not in a position to support himself as he received financial assistance from her. According to the court, a small full-time job was not enough to declare the child emancipated as it requires full support independence from the parents. Having a child working but still relies on his/her parents for food, medical insurance, utilities and the like, cannot be declared economic independent and thus, he/she has no right to have emancipation (Aloian, 2013).
For a minor to undergo emancipation, he/she must be wholly independent. Children wanting to become emancipated must first check the conditions they must meet and also look deeply into the position they want to be in since it's not an easy thing to live without the support of the parents or guardians. If the minor doesn't consider some conditions, he/she may end up hurting himself.
Aloian, M. (2013). Emancipation. St. Catharines: Crabtree Publishing Company.
Davis, S. M. (2011). Children's rights under the law. New York: Oxford University Press.
Holmes, J. (1993). John Bowlby and attachment theory. New York: Routledge.
Merino, N. (2014). Emancipation. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press.
Ungar, M. (2012). The social ecology of resilience : a handbook of theory and practice. New York: Springer.
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