Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 199–205 | Cite as

Doing the best for one’s child: satisficing versus optimizing parentalism



The maxim “parents should do what is in the best interests of their child” seems like an unassailable truth, and yet, as I argue here, there are serious problems with it when it is taken seriously. One problem concerns the sort of demands such a principle places on parents; the other concerns its larger social implications when conceived as part of a national policy for the rearing of children. The theory of parenting that creates these problems I call “optimizing parentalism.” To avoid them, I define and defend a new and more morally appealing theory, “satisficing parentalism.”


Best interests of the child Child-centered society Consequentialism Optimizing parentalism Parental obligation Parental independence Satisficing parentalism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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