CHILDREN HAVE RIGHTS – RESPECT THEM!
We elders naturally turn to belittle children and hold they have no sense of direction; as a result, we are to direct and control their lives. Yes, parents are to direct their children’s lives but the approach is what matters. It is their life and so should have a say too. We should equally listen to them and consider their views too before suggesting or proposing our own views or vise versa.
In our typical African background we limit children a lot in the name of inculcating the ethics of respect of elders in them. They are not to sit or talk where adults or their seniors are. They can’t have a big piece of meat or fish; daddy is the one to have a large bowl with all the ‘particulars’ served by mummy. A parent would make two or more eggs for him or herself but expect two or three children to share an egg or two. As some would say giving a child meat or eggs the child would develop long throat.
As I once mentioned in my nutrition class of Nursing Aid students, children need protein to enable them grow but when adults instead eat more protein foods it causes health hazards. The child has limited protein which might impede their growth and the parents suffer a defect because they no longer grow as such their bodies do not have need or use for protein.
In the education sector we impose their course outline even if naturally they are not inclining to pursue such field. For instance, a friend of mine wants his all Arts daughter to become a Pharmacist. I have known many children who become academically frustrated because their parents insisted and compelled them to a line of education which they were not cut out for.
The point I am trying to make is that children should be given the chance to express themselves. It is not proper for parents to always detect and be authoritative. We certainly need to imbue in them respect and the best way is to respect them too. When we have a close and cordial relationship with our children it is easier to guide and protect them for they would have the tendency to open up.
For those children who are brutalized by their parents and guardian in the act of domestic violence, they become introverts and such children are scared to express themselves in effect they stray and eventually they are faced with the intricacies of the society. Children are vulnerable and due to their vulnerability suffer the impact from various adverse conditions in the society. These are some of the concerns that brought about the Convention of the Rights of the Children (CRC).
CRC is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. It sets forth a wide range of provisions that encompass civil rights and freedoms, family environment, basic health and welfare, education, leisure and cultural activities and special protection measures.
The Convention has several ‘foundation principles’ that underpin all other children’s rights. These include: non- discrimination; best interests of the child; right to survival and development; and views of the child.
Non- discrimination means that all children have the same right to develop their potentials – all children, in all situations, all of the time, everywhere.
The best interest of the child must be ‘a primary consideration’ in all actions and decisions concerning her or him and must be used to resolve confusion between different rights.
The right to survival and development underscores the vital importance of ensuring access to basic services and to equity of opportunity for children to achieve their full development.
The views of the child mean that the voice of children must be heard and respected in all matters concerning their rights. Countries must therefore promote children’s active, free and meaningful participation in decision- making that affects them.
The CRC has been ratified by over 190 countries since it was adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in November 1989. Ratification commits countries to a code of binding obligations towards their children. Thanks to the CRC, child rights are now at the cutting edge of the global struggle for human rights, to be ensured by adult society as a matter of legal obligation, moral imperative and development priority. In the years since the CRC was adopted, the world has since seen dramatic gains for children.
However, children’s rights are intimately tied to those of women. Realizing the rights and equality of women is not only a core development goal in itself, but it is also the key to the survival and development of children and to building healthy families, communities and nations. Discrimination against women hurts both women and the next generation of children, boys and girls alike. Starting even before birth, a child’s health and development prospects are closely linked with the mother’s health and socio-economic status. Women are, moreover, the primary caregivers for children. Resources put in the hands of women are more likely to be used to benefit children
The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) deals with countries’ obligations to enact appropriate legislation, administration and other measures, with the aim of achieving equality between men and women in all spheres of public and private life, including the family.