Every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously.
They have the right to think and believe what they choose and also to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. These legal rights are clearly outlined in the UN Rights of the Child.
It is our legal responsibility as adults to listen to children, understand what they are saying and ensure their voice matters. This includes day-to-day home life and in decisions that might affect them and their lives.
Take time to listen to your child, no matter how busy you may be. Listening to your child can increase their confidence, and they will be more likely to tell you if they ever feel vulnerable, sad or in danger.
It’s important to let your child know that they have a right to be heard and encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe space.
Sometimes they might not feel comfortable sharing their opinions, in which case they have the right to be provided with the knowledge, confidence and support that they need in order to have their say. This might include giving them an opportunity to talk to another trusted adult.
Listening is not just about hearing, it is about understanding what someone is saying.