The Well- and Unwell-Being of a Child

Christina Schües, Christoph Rehmann-Sutter*

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of the 'well-being of the child' (like the 'child's welfare' and 'best interests of the child') has remained underdetermined in legal and ethical texts on the needs and rights of children. As a hypothetical construct that draws attention to the child's long-term welfare, the well-being of the child is a broader concept than autonomy and happiness. This paper clarifies some conceptual issues of the well-being of the child from a philosophical point of view. The main question is how well-being could in practice acquire a concrete meaning and content for a particular issue or situation. A phenomenological-hermeneutic research perspective will be outlined that allows the child's well-being to be elucidated and specified as an anthropological and ethical idea. It is based on a contextual understanding of generative relationships, a combination of the theory and practice of making sense, here described as 'generative insight', which could provide ethical guidance for decision making in families, legal practice, medicine or biomedical research.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2013


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