The principle of the best interests of the child is firmly established and operates across a wide range of circumstances. The generally accepted view is that the principle demands decision makers to seek the best outcome for the children concerned, but that this has to be weighed against other interests. This leads to a very open-ended process. This article picks up on a distinction made, but not developed, between decisions about children and decisions about other matters which affect children indirectly. This distinction could be helpful in providing a better structure for these decisions. It is also shown that this structure is reconcilable with Article 8 of the European Convention.