This House Believes That State Should Take Over the Custody of Children Whose Parent(s) Is Diagnosed with Psychiatric Disorder


A pretty straightforward motion. It would be helpful if Team Affirmative clarifies some (not-so) ambiguous wordings of the motion and sets up a proper debate, though. But even if not, the debate has a proper course already set. The wordings used just happen to have extra room for multi-interpretation. One important thing to note, is that the wording of this motion means that this is a value-judgment motion, not a proposal motion.

Upon NO SETUP, anyway, we expect the debate to be interpreted as:

  1. Happening in all countries throughout the world (of course) and applies to all citizens (parents) documented or not.
  2. Applies to all children and all household, even if the family still has one perfectly mentally healthy mother/father.
  3. Claim over custody should occur the moment suspicion over the presence of a psychiatric disorder arises.
  4. Children are returned back to their parents after suspicion is proven wrong, or, custody is released after they have matured as adults and are of age. 17 years.
  5. The moment the bill passes, all currently psychiatrically disabled adults will be afterwards banned from having children. Infractions would mean punishment in the form of, well, this motion.

Team Affirmative

There are lots of possible stances (or, we should say, layer of defenses) Team Affirmative can decide to invest their explanations in. We highly recommend conceding all the front-stances so that you instantly put yourselves on your worst-case scenario, then work your defenses way back front from the most behind stance to the most front stance (front stance being trying to prove that you have a best-case scenario).

For the model, go with the predicted setup. Are you thinking of changing setup for point (2)? We hereby discourage you from doing so. Hard stance, bruh. We either go hard or go home—wait that came out as wrong.

  1. Because children under the nurture of these parents are at risk.

This is an argument we would recommend you to auto-concede. Just casually mention this and retreat to the next stance. After you feel that you have properly defended the next stance(s), then you may go back front to this stance and start elaborating and defending this.

Anyway, if you decide to invest your defenses into elaborating this point:

  1. What things are harmful for children?
  2. Why would having psychiatrically disabled parents belong to one of them?
  3. What are the specific harms, to be exact, posed by the existence of these parents?
  4. How would these childrens’ lives be improved after the removal of their parents?
  5. What is the necessary process involved in improving a child’s life, and how does that removal fit in?

Answer those questions and this point is hopefully pretty much fortified.

  1. Because nature of parenting.

This point would be.. still having the same stance as Team Affirmative Argument 1 before this, so auto-concede this point, too, if you feel like it. But it’s still quite distinct. Not like “exactly” the same. The difference is that this point is supposedly more powerful than that one, because of the nature of this point being more philosophical and less pragmatic.

Nonetheless, how you explain this point is by shifting your paradigm and point of view from “What are the harms? What next?” into THESE questions instead:

  1. What is the essence of parenting?
  2. What are the moral requirements to be a parent?
  3. What are the moral responsibilities of a parent?
  4. To which extent does having a psychiatric disorder removes those morals?
  5. Why is the government the next (or only) actor in line to possess those moral requirements and responsibilities?

Might as well as mention that Team Negative might be throwing an argument of “body autonomy” somewhere along their attacks against this stance, so you might want to start consider preparing rebuttals along the lines of “body autonomy does not mean family autonomy”.

  1. Because government control.

The next layer of defense! After you kindly say “but okay, let’s just concede with what Team Negative is going to say – which is these children will be safe with these kinds of parents”.

Why is it justifiable for the government to steal these children from their parents whom Team Negative claims are still perfectly capable? And before you start comparing the benefits and costs of living under those two different circumstances, consider running the philosophical arguments first. Practicalities later. What is the reason behind government ability? What gives government the jurisdiction and justification?

Social contract has always been the weapon of all debaters. Run that. Expect to have experienced debaters on Team Negative that will challenge your social contract with their body autonomy. By this point, expect to have clashes regarding issues of “(+) the government was elected by the people, and in the process of doing so the people surrender some of their rights” “(-) the rights surrendered by the people do not include surrendering their offspring” “(+) we do this because you stupid and government clever” “(-) government no clever, and even if, stupid still can carry their free will because reasons”.

We can’t help you any further past this point. The best course of action you could do is practice and join sparring sessions. Because this clash is so classic it will happen on almost all debate motions especially the ones having the tone of banning something. Clashes will also vary very much (pun intended) depending on the debaters characteristics, personality, and more importantly, knowledge regarding those two issues (social contract and body autonomy). So, yeah, we can’t help you much past this point. There are plenty of scholarly articles and/or papers etc. talking about them, though. We highly recommend you to surf around the web, find and read them, then choose the ones (explanations) that are more likely to be convincing.

Anyway, after that, feel free to go ahead with all the practical explanations of how life under the government is quantifiably better than living with psychiatrically disabled, even if perfectly capable, parents.

Team Negative

  1. Because these children don’t need you to save their ashes.

We highly recommend you to auto-concede this one as well. Team Affirmative is trying to offer you your best-case scenario and their own worst-case scenario by conceding this clash? Don’t let them! Have your own manners! Reverse-concede by saying that what they would like to claim otherwise is true, and do the same thing as them: retreat to the next layer of defensive stance, and build your offensive explanations from back-to-front.

Anyway, should you choose to invest elaborations on this point, they should run along the line of “We don’t think that the current status quo is that harmful or urgent to call for such a radical action”. Then followed by “because children are not in imminent danger just because they are in vicinity of psychiatrically disabled people”. At this point, you might want to read some psychological, pedagogical, and medical theories to have an idea and some arsenals to support your argument. Go Go Google.

Expand that explanation by characterizing the average life of an average child properly. Identify the activities involved, possibly to the point of hourly changes, and include age range as well. You could either point out that they are exposed to other crazy individuals on their average life too with no substantial changes to their well-being, or, the amount of time spent in their homes contribute little, if any, towards deteriorating their life quality.

And thennn, the harms of government’s proposal. Stripping off a child of emotional attachment, bloodlines getting cut, no figure of authority (or at least love) they can relate to, well, those kinds of explanations.

  1. Because embracing identity (and origins).

Get strapped, suit up, and get ready to get down because after you decide to concede your 1st stance, we are going to go all out on the next layer. We go hard.

These parents are dangerous, so what? These parents will kill their children in their craziness spree – that is a ridiculous assumption, but we are still going to accept that, now what?

Identity of growing up should remain fixed for as long as it can be afforded.

  1. Because body autonomy.

Spare some time to read Team Affirmative Argument 3 (and also 2 as well, if possible), will you?

Done? So fast?

It is not necessarily body autonomy, although the vocabulary is debatable. For another, this could also be coined as “Because liberal, you know? And democratic?” Identify that even under dictatorships and/or autocracies, governments don’t go as far as meddling in trifle issues like FAMILY BUSINESS. The fact that governments should be liberal and democratic would mean that this violates their supposed values even harsher. It is an infraction, for one. But you also have to establish precedence of philosophical values as well. So, well, yeah. It’s going to be another good old social contract versus body autonomy.

Nothing else new here.

Extra Assertions:

  1. (+) Because we want to remove potential public shaming from these childrens’ lives
  2. (-) Because they still have their relatives
  3. (+) Because some diseases remove the right to give birth, this will be included
  4. (-) Because this motion is the first step the government has to take before expanding their influence to other factors and causes – next comes drug addicts having their children taken, then drunkards, then smokers, then homosexuals.
  5. (+) Because when these children grow up, they will grow up assumingly. The whole world will be expected by them to comply with how they perceive it.