This article explores the use of the best interest standard in the context of third-party interventions in ongoing parent-child relationships. I start by examining the history of the best interest standard and show that it has had different meanings in different eras. I then address the nature of the family and the question of whether interests beyond those addressed in the child’s best interest standard are a legitimate part of family decision-making. I conclude that ongoing families are entitled to at least a measure of deference in their decisions about their children. Third-party interventions, such as those of doctors or judges, should require something more than simply a difference of opinion about where the child’s interests lie.

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