The main goal of the Right-based communication is to achieve effective communication with our children. I have come to the irresistible conclusion that the Rights-based approach to communication with our children is one approach which guarantees us huge success. The essence of effective communication is to boost the self-image of our children. The last question I will like to ask here is, when is communication effective? Simply put, ‘effective communication occurs when a desired effect is the result of intentional or unintentional information sharing, which is interpreted between multiple entities and acted on in a desired way.’
The truth of the matter is that it is impossible to help children without talking and listening to them. Gone are those days when we take decisions for them as if being a child is synonymous with being stupid, irresponsible and weak. We have treated them as if being a child is a disability or a disadvantage. To treat children as disadvantaged is nothing but oppressive.
The United Nations demonstrated faith in the foregoing when it held General Assembly Special Session on Children in May 2002, where for the first time, the General Assembly met to discuss exclusively Children’s issues. One significant feature of that Session was that for the first time ever, ‘children were present as members of 142 national delegations and 106 non-governmental delegations. More than 400 children, aged 8 to 18, also met in a three-day Children’s Forum prior to the Special Session and produced their own declaration.’
Kofi A. Annan, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations commented on the General Assembly Special Session as follows: ‘The children’s presence transformed the atmosphere of the United Nations. Into our usually measured and diplomatic discussions, they introduced their passions, questions, fears, challenges, enthusiasm and optimism. They brought us their ideas, hopes and dreams. They gave life to the values of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And they contributed something only they could know: the experience of being young in the 21st century – in a time when HIV/AIDS continues to grow at a devastating rate; in a time when unprecedented wealth coexists with extreme poverty; in a time when the rights of children, while almost universally recognized, are abused systematically and daily throughout the world.’
In this discussion I want to focus on talking and listening to children in all the ways they express themselves. Therefore note that when I refer to communication here, mainly I am referring to talking and listening to children. By talking, we make our desires known to children and by listening; we get necessary feedback from them. Get ready to unveil with me the 15 Commandments of Rights-Based Communication with Children.
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