The relationship between parents and children are very different between the relationship between owner and property. Whereas the owner of a property generally has real right over it, in that he can do anything he wishes to do with it, the same cannot be said in regards to children. We cannot legally dispose of them or any part of their body, either by selling them for adoption or by forcing him to undergo unnecessary surgery. Even when the parent himself is at the brink of death, the child cannot be compelled to donate his organ so as to ensure the success of any organ transplant that would save his father or mother. The child cannot be used as a means to benefit his family, his parents, or even society in general, if the act required of the child will be to his disadvantage. Even when the act required is to the child’s advantage, if it is not essential and basic to his survival as a person, he cannot be forced into it. You cannot force a child to take a nap if he does not want to. You can beg him, as is often the case, but this would still entail voluntary assent on his part.
Unlike property, a child has a mind and a will of his own, and is awarded specific rights as children and as individuals. Children enjoy a dual role, that of being their parents’ child and that of being a separate individual. I think that it is the existence of this dual role that draws the line between what parents can and cannot do with their child. As your child, he can be scolded for not eating his green peas. As an individual, he cannot be forced to eat the green peas. All the rights of an individual are enjoyed by the child, and these are tempered only by your rights as a parent looking after the good of your ward. You are allowed certain privileges that are not enjoyed by people not his parents, but these privileges do not supersede the basic human rights that extend to all individuals. These "privileges", also, are awarded with the presumption that they will be used with the child’s welfare in mind. If this presumption is violated, parental rights can be withdrawn by the state such as when children are withdrawn from the custody of their parents. With property, on the other hand, the owner can do whatever he wishes to do with his property for as long as his acts do not endanger the rights of other individuals. This basically means, that if you could place your house in such a location that setting fire to it would not involve the risk of harming other people and their property, then you are quite free to go ahead and burn your house.
The relatively new development of "designer babies" places a unique strain on the principle of children as not being the property of their parents. Whereas we would be quick to object if a parent sets his daughter for an involuntary appointment with a plastic surgeon, we are a bit lost when the alterations are made while the child is not yet born. It’s a difficult dilemma because it forces us to specify the point when a child already enjoys his rights as an individual person. Coming from a time when abortion of the fetus is generally legalized, then we could not help but say that the object that is being exposed to genetic engineering at that point does not as