This is the time of year that is dedicated globally and nationally to celebrating children’s rights, talents and citizenship. Each year the theme of Children’s Week highlights a particular children’s right.
This year the theme is about children’s right to speak and be listened to.
Article 12 of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child says:
Children have the right to have a say in matters that affect them, and for their views and opinions to be taken seriously.
How can parents or carers of young children support this right?
According to Raising Children Network, good communication with children is about:
- encouraging them to talk to you so they can tell you what they’re feeling and thinking
- being able to really listen and respond in a sensitive way to all kinds of things—not just nice things or good news, but also anger, embarrassment, sadness and fear
- focusing on body language and tone as well as words so you can really understand what children are saying
- taking into account what children of different ages can understand and how long they can pay attention in a conversation.
Communicating well with children improves your bond with them, and encourages them to listen to you.
It’s easier said than done, especially when tempers flare on both sides, as this writer shares in an insightful article in Motherly about How to respond to children in a way that helps them feel heard.
‘Children do not understand the motive behind a refusal, nor do they realize their parent has their best interests at heart. The only thing they understand is that you’ve shattered their plans by saying no.
‘Instead of shooting down questions or treating kids as if they have no right to answers, we should answer them in a way that will make them feel appreciated. The problem is not in saying no; it is the parent who cannot tolerate a question.’
Raising Children Network: Communicating well with children: tips
Rosetta Adams, Motherly: How to respond to children in a way that helps them feel heard
Children’s Week Council: www.childrensweek.org.au