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Participation and Empowerment in Children, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1033

Essay

The benefit children receive during their childhood depends largely on the their inherent cultures, societal regulations and laws, parental perceptions as to what qualities, attitudes and standards befits children, the lens they are looking through, and the level of confidence they have in their abilities of those children to know and to effectively participate in discussions concerning what is best for them on a day to day basis.

In some cultures children are seen as vulnerable, incapable of thinking for themselves and not ready to accept responsibility that are more appropriate for adults. The case of Wendy and Peter bears out the danger these parents and other authorities are concerned about regarding handing responsibility and children to children without waiting until they mature, and are able to act with the appropriate levels of decorum.

Wendy in the case study was promoted to a motherly position over a group of parents that had most likely grown up without that level of care, although she was just a child; this was due to the fact that she was observed behaving like her mother in the presence of these young pirates.

Failure in dispensing her duties as a mother was observed when she gave them an overdose of the medicine, and her childhood mentality manifested when she developed romantic feelings for Peter without his knowledge and showed it inappropriately towards her rival .Ticker Bell. Ironically it took the boyish disposition of Peter to save Wendy from her hastily grown up uncontrolled emotion,

The fluctuating behavior of Wendy is symbolic of what can happen when children are placed in positions of authority and responsibility that they are not prepared for it. In scenario Wendy was playing a good motherly role, but as soon as events changed her attitude changed to that of child that she really was in the first place.

Societal regulations and laws may prevent children from being heard and to be participants in decisions that concerns their welfare and livelihood, and this most likely is as a result of  traditions as well as a lack of knowledge  regarding what is listening and consultation in respect to children, by parents and those in positions of leadership over them.

Many parents and leaders in diverse cultures regard listening as an extractive process whereby they simply obtain the information they need to decide what should be done to their children. However, Edwards, Gandine &Foreman (1991), are contending that there should be diversity of expressions in their created phrase the hundred languages of children, and Malaguzzi challenges all adults to strive to discover these hundred ways of listening, so that all children under their care can be heard and served adequately in their quest to become successful individuals in life.

The argument also implies that listening to children is a vital stage in the process of getting them to participate in the developmental stages of these children lives with importance being attached to their inputs. Hill, Davis, Pout & Tisdall (2004), placed even greater emphasis on the subject of participation when they contend that it should mean the direct involvement of children in decision making about matters that affect their lives, whether individually or collectively.

However it may be difficult to achieve this when perceptions of what the childhood means are constantly undergoing changes which include the view that children are contradictory, ambivalent, and are not ready for the challenges and expectations of their parents and society to a greater extent.

Traditions, lack of confidence, and protectionism on the part of parents and those in authority in institutions like schools, and child care facilities, may be sources of the opposition to the strategy on engaging children in participatory manner, due to the beliefs by many that childhood is a period of innocence, freedom from responsibility or conflict, a time for play and fantasy, as well as opportunity, from which children should not be denied.

Borland (2001), however differs in that he believes that children can be prepared for active roles through consultation, because it is a way of seeking their views as guides for future actions, while Hill (2006), in showing recognition of present trends regarding consultation, argues that the concept should seen driven by children and not by adults as the situations now obtains. This will reduce the level of restrictions and control on the views of children as to how they feel about issues and events that directly affects them.

The views on children participating in and having a great role in their lives may be different across cultures, but there is a general consensus that they are more vulnerable than adults and should be afforded all the resources required to ensure their protection and maturity are maximized.

The United Nations Convention of the Rights of Child is a source of international support for the rights of children, with article 5 of their charter charging governments to respect the responsibility, rights, and duties of parents to provide appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise of the rights of children, while article 12 mandates that children that are capable of forming their own views, must have the freedom to express them in all areas affecting their lives.

The difficulties associated with these 2charters in particular however, are the facts that there is no one objectively in place to ensure the parents obey these rulings, as well as to ensure that children have reached the stage where they can successfully form their views.

Children therefore will face difficult challenges of diverse nature going forward, and unless the culture, the perception, confidence levels, societal regulations and laws, and other variables changed, the trend will continue, due to the years of institutionalization of these behavior patterns across continents, countries, and communities.

Reference

Borland, M., Hill, M., Laybourn, A. & Stafford, A. (2001). Improving Consultation with Children and Young People in Relevant Aspects of Policy-Making and Legislature on Scotland Center for Child Security University of Glasgow and Children First msd.govt.nzdocuments/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resourcesmonitoring/agenda/ 09/;16/11

State University.com (2011). Loris Malaguzzi Biography stateuniversity.com/pages/3176/loris-malaguzzi , 09/17/11

Edwards, C., Gandini, L., Forman, G., (1998). The One Hundred Languages of Children The Reggio Approach-Advanced Reflections 2nd edition Ablex ,Norwood NJ

Hill, M. (2006). Children Voices on ways of having a Voice : Children and Young Peoples Perspectives on Methods used in Research and Consultation Childhood, Vol. 13(1) pp.69-89

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