The Importance of Listening to Children
It is very important to listen to children because without knowing what children think, it will be difficult to advocate, care and most importantly support them to reach their full developmental potential. Listening to children is more than just hearing their voices but actually taking the child’s point into consideration if the decision will impact on the child directly. Both the Children’s Act 2004 and Early Child Matters (ECM) recognize the fact that before any positive result is achieved, parents, practitioners and any adults in direct contact with the child need to always take into account the opinion of the child. (Lancaster 2006) By listening to children, it helps the adult, being parent, professionals or authority to make informed decision and this decision is very likely to work well for longer if the child feels that their voice have been heard. One of the most innovative aspects of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is its focus on children’s participation rights. It states that, children who are capable of forming a view should have the right to express that view freely in all matters affecting them. By allowing and encouraging this action, it will provide important feedback to the adult/ professionals and should reflect in the adult’s decision making (Kinney 2010). Children that have been through some form of traumatic experience finds it therapeutic when they are listened to as this helps their self esteem and self efficacy now and in future. (Kelly and Gilligan 2002) It is important to remember that it is not only when a child communicates verbally that adults or professionals have to listen, children can communicate in hundreds of ways e.g. drawing and painting, play, behaviour, emotions, etc (Roberts-Holmes 2005) It was in 1997, when the Labour Government was elected, they acknowledged that there were small voices of the children that were calling out for help due to the fact that they...
References: Gilligan, R. (2006). The importance of listening to the child in foster care. In: Kelly, G and Gilligan, R Issues in foster care: Policy, Practice and Research. London: Jessica kingsley Publishers. p40-58.
Jackson, S. (2004). Early childhood policy and services. In: Maynard, T. and Thomas, N. An introduction to early childhood studies. London: Sage publications Ltd. p91-107.
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