This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
A child lacks the judgment and discretion necessary to make ordinary contracts. If his contracts were binding on him in all cases, extravagance in personal expenditures and recklessness in business ventures would often burden him before his majority with debts which he could never pay. The policy of our law deprives him in many cases of the control of his own property and transfers it to his guardian; and as a corollary the law is unwilling to allow him to bind himself by contracts concerning the management of his estate, since these are matters to which his guardian should attend. On the other hand the law imposes certain obligations upon him, and these obligations are in no way weakened if the infant voluntarily promises to discharge them. The wise policy of the law, therefore, must hold that certain contracts are not binding upon the infant, at least if he wishes to escape liability; while others are binding, at least to the extent of the pre-existing liability of the infant. As the object of the law is not solely the protection of the infant, but rather an adjustment of his rights and duties in such way as will promote the general well-being, a complicated set of questions is left for solution in cases where the infant has received something of value under the contract and his right to avoid his liability limits the right of the other party to recover his property. With these questions the following sections are concerned.