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In this paper I will show the circumstances under which parents have a stronger obligation to care for their children, in accordance with Locke's concept of tacit consent. I will also describe the certain conditions in which children should obey their parents using the idea of Rawls' fair play.
When a couple decides to have a child they are agreeing to be responsible for the life they bring into the world. According to Locke, the conditions for tacit consent begin with being aware of the situation and the consequences. Secondly, there must be a period of consideration available. Thirdly, the consequences of not accepting cannot be detrimental. Therefore, when a couple has sex knowing that they run the risk of pregnancy, they are aware of the situation. When a couple finds out that the woman is pregnant and they talk about possible outcomes, this suffices a consideration period and provides a reasonable way to express objections. For the third requisite the couple only has two options. They can choose to have the baby or they can choose to have an abortion. The option they choose depends on which outcome would be most detrimental to them personally. For example, a 13 year-old girl who gets pregnant might feel that being pregnant could jeopardize her life in a social or educational aspect. She may feel it is more detrimental than another person who is in the same situation but does not believe in abortion.
Locke would suggest the best decision would be the most moral one. Thus, let us assume the couple has the child but cannot provide for it. Imagine that they were young, did not have a steady income and had no place to live so they gave the child up for adoption. Locke would argue that this is the most moral alternative for the couple. The child has a right from the parents to receive the basic means to survive:
Conjugal society is made by a voluntary compact between man and woman; and though it consist chiefly in such a communion and right in one another's bodies as is necessary to its chief end, procreation: yet it draws with it mutual support and assistance, and a communion of interests too, as necessary not only to unite their care and affection, but also necessary to their common offspring, who have a right to be nourished and maintained by them, till they are able to provide for themselves. (Locke, 37)
In the Second Treatise of Government Locke describes that a child has the right to be nourished and maintained by its parents until the child is able to tend for itself. If children
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