In this paper, the widespread use of the "3 p's", provision, protection and participation, to categorise children's rights is critically examined. This conceptualisation is argued to have hampering effects on research in children's rights, in that it frames the research in a problematic way and hinders the possibilities of attaining theoretically driven analyses. In the paper, the emergence and use of the 3 p's is first traced and discussed. Thereafter, an alternative language for constructing and analysing children's rights is proposed, namely the vocabulary used for general human rights: civil, political and social rights. When children's rights are placed within the development of human rights and conceptualised accordingly, a different understanding of the content of children's rights surfaces. The theoretical contextualisation that is then added is suggested as a way of approaching contradictions and conflicts surrounding children's rights issues with more theoretical depth and nuances.