The family is the best environment for a child to grow up. The primary responsibility for the child, the right to raise a child and ensure that the child has everything needed for their life and development, lies with the parents. And the child has the right to be raised and cared for by the parent. At the same time the child has an obligation to help their parents and other members of the family in an age-appropriate manner, and to participate in everyday activities and chores of the family. Parents and children have to support each other, respect each other and consider each others’ interests and rights. A child must have a permanent place for living, even if their parents are separated. The choice of residence must always be based on the best interests of the child, it has to be discussed with the child, and the solution has to be the best for the child. The parent has the right to be in contact with both parents, even if they do not live together, and even if the parents’ mutual relationship is poor of it one of the parents has moved abroad. A child must not be forced to communicate with a parent whom they are afraid of, or if such communication is otherwise contrary to the best interests of the child. A child may be separated from their parents only if this is in the best interests of the child.
Good and well functioning relationships make people happy. There are situations, difficulties and troubles in life that a person does not wish to, does not dare to, or cannot discuss with anyone. The problem could manifest itself through continued low spirits, anxiety, insomnia, poor relationships with friends and family, or something else.
A person can prevent conflict situations by making others understand them, i.e. by stating openly about their thoughts, feelings, opinions and assumptions. It is also important to explain one’s own understanding about others. Many misunderstandings start with assumptions or conjectures. A conflict is often accompanied by the feeling of discomfort, misinterpretation of what has happened, emotional stress, bewilderment and confusion.
In order to resolve a conflict both parties need to find a mutually agreeable solution that would help to settle any discords between them. It is necessary to select the settlement options that suit both, and agree on how to act in order to implement these options.
The basis for a good relationship is:
If you have problems or concerns that are related to your family, the first thing you should do is to talk to your parents about your feelings and emotions. If you cannot talk to your parents, then share your concerns with another person you trust. You may also contact the Child Helpline Service 116 111.
Sometimes we forget that our parents are completely reasonable people and we can discuss with them issues of which they could have much better understanding that our friends. Actually it is good if you have an adult confidant, be it your mother, father, grandmother, aunt, uncle or older siblings. If you communicate with your parents more, your relationship will surely improve, it is better to discuss problems and find solutions to them together. But every relationship is a two-way street. If you want your parents to understand you, you should also understand them. Sometimes conflicts emerge from seemingly simple things (you have to be at home at a certain time, etc.). Trust us: there is a good reason for this. Parents care about their children (regrettably there are exceptions as well). Your wish to be out at night could cause your parents to worry that something bad can happen to you, etc. At the same time such matters should be discussed together in order to establish a foundation for a trusting relationship. Unfortunately many relationship problems are caused by not communicating with each other enough. Find more time for each other.
Tell them what you are missing. Choose for this conversation such time when your parents are at home and the mood is calm. Try not to accuse them, it is possible that your parents have not realised that you wish to spend more time with them.
Parents are obliged to provide, based on their abilities and possibilities, such conditions to support the child’s development, which match the child’s physical, psychological, spiritual, moral and social development.
When children live with their parents who raise or sustain them, they are obliged to help the parents at home according to their capabilities and abilities. A child participates in the common activities and duties of the family. If the demands are clearly too high, and the duties asked of a child are much too difficult or not appropriate for their age, the law recognises the child’s right to rest and leisure time that can be used for playing and age-appropriate entertainment. The child has the right to be protected against work that is hazardous or prevents from getting education or is hazardous to child’s health, physical, psychological spiritual, moral and social development.
Nobody must be punished physically or psychologically. The use of both physical as well as psychological abuse to punish a child is prohibited; this constitutes violation of the child’s rights in terms of physical integrity, human dignity and equal protection by law. Physical abuse is any use of force and causing pain to punish a child: pulling hair, slapping, birching, pushing, hitting, beating. Psychological abuse means mocking, humiliating, insulting a child.
Parents may decide to punish a child when they feel that they cannot settle the situation in any other way. This, however, is certainly wrong. Nevertheless, children / adolescent should also not confuse boundaries with punishment. Parents have the right to set boundaries to ensure safety and development of a child, adolescent. Children also need to honour reasonable agreements. Parents’ order that the child has to be at home at a certain time at night is fully justified. This is not punishment but the parents’ wish to ensure that the child is safe. Regrettably conflicts can emerge at this level. If both parties honour their promises to each other, the risk of conflicts should be much lower.
It is advisable to think a bit about what has caused such intervention. To discuss this with the parents. It is rather likely that this worry could be caused by a certain concrete situation or it is a more general type of worry about communication on the Internet. Talk to your parents more about what you do, what websites you visit, what games you play, with whom you communicate. Trust us, this is actually the information that the parents are looking for. At the same time, in the Internet you could come across a situation where you need your parents’ advice. Find out what your parents worry about and answer their questions. Parents are responsible for raising and developing their child. At the same time the child has the right to privacy, the right to personal life, own circle of friends and acquaintances.
Both parents are jointly responsible for raising and developing their child. It is the obligation and the right of the parents to take care of their minor child. The child’s interests must always be in the centre of their attention. Parents have equal rights and obligations towards their children, unless the law provides otherwise. The parental right of custody includes the right to care for the person of the child and for the property of the child, and decide on matters related to the child. Upon caring for and raising a child, the parents shall take into account that the ability and need of the child to act independently and responsibly increases. If the development level of a child so allows, the parents shall discuss the caring and raising issues with the child.
The parents who are married to each other have joint custody over their child. If the parents of a child are not married to each other at the time of birth of the child, they shall have joint right of custody unless they have expressed their wish to leave the right of custody only to one of the parents upon submitting the declarations of intention concerning the acknowledgement of paternity. Parents shall exercise joint right of custody with respect to their child and perform the custodial obligation on their own responsibility and unanimously considering all-round wellbeing of the child. If, upon exercising joint right of custody, parents fail to reach an agreement in a matter significant for the child, a court may, at the request of a parent, grant powers of decision in this matter to one parent. A parent who has the right of custody is the legal representative of a child. A parent who has sole custody over the child represents the child alone.
If the physical, psychological or emotional well-being or the property of a child is endangered by misuse of the parent's right of custody, neglecting the child, inability of the parents to perform their obligations or conduct of a third person and the parents do not wish or are unable to prevent danger, a court shall apply necessary measures, including separation of the child from the family and deprivation of the parents of the right of custody in full. A court may separate a child from the parents only if damage to the interests of the child cannot be prevented by other supporting measures applied in the relationship between the parents and the child.
If leaving a child in his or her family endangers the health or life of the child, a rural municipality government or city government may separate the child from the family before a court ruling is made. In such case the rural municipality government or city government shall promptly submit a petition to a court for restriction of the parent's right of custody with respect to the child.
Situations where after the divorce, parents move to live in different countries, but cannot reach sustainable agreements on raising the child that take into account the best interests of the child, are becoming increasingly more common. Furthermore, the number of cases where one of the parents comes from another country, and after the parents are separated disagreements about how to raise a child are accompanied with major cultural difficulties, is also on the rise. In Estonia cross-border cases are handled officially by the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the consul of the state where the child is staying. However, in such cases it is also important to contact the child protection worker in Estonia who is in charge of the region where the child or the parents are registered. It is also possible to seek advice of an attorney to find out legal aspects – what are the rights that each of the parties have. If there is already evidence that the other parent wishes to abduct the child and take the child to another country, the parent can have recourse to court to seek provisional legal protection. If the parents share the right of custody, then a written consent formulated as an application would be sufficient for the child to leave the country.
Any such cases of which one becomes aware should be reported by calling 116 111 (or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org a local government official, the police or another body providing assistance. It is important to provide as much information as possible – the address or a description of the child’s place of residence (stay), the name of the child, the name of the parents, other contacts or available information. If abuse takes place at the time of notification, it should be certainly reported to the police or by calling 116 111. If you are worried about a child, you should certainly call 116 111, you do not have decide yourself whether or not the situation requires intervention, and you may also remain anonymous. It is important that information about a child in need reaches the authorities as soon as possible.