How To Introduce Your Child To His Or Her Rights?
Created by Nandini Muralidharan Updated on Dec 08, 2019
We hear stories about children being employed in factories that manufacture firecrackers, or clothing, or in any other hard labor. But then, do we really give it a second thought? This gross violation of human rights that occurs with so many children around the world is creating a very bleak future for the next generation. Let’s take an example closer home – a relative who is visiting wants your child to hug him goodbye, but your child refuses. What do you do? “Come on, give uncle a hug and say goodbye.” But the message your child receives is that he needs to hug someone despite not feeling like it. The message that he doesn’t have the right over his own body and emotions. It is important to introduce the concept of human rights to your child at a young age. Read on to find out more!
What Are Your Child’s Rights?
Every child has some basic rights that he needs to be aware of.
- Survival: These include the right to food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, clean water, safe environment
- Protection: These include protection from any form of abuse – physical and sexual, emotional, as well as neglect
- Participation: Every child has the right to freedom of expression, opinion, information and to be a part of any decision that involves him
- Development: Every child has the right to education, learning and playing.
Tips On Introducing Human Rights To Your Child
The earlier children are made aware of their basic human rights, the better it is for their overall wellbeing. Here are some tips on how you can introduce your child to her rights:
Talk about basic rights: Explain what each right means – the right to freedom, and how to exercise it responsibly, the right to education, the right to say no when it concerns his own body, and so on.
- Teach your child that his body is his alone. Nobody has the right to demand physical expression from him in any form. Remember that even when it is a grandparent or sibling, and is considered “safe,” being consistent in this message is extremely important. Your child needs to know that he doesn’t have to comply just because it is someone close to him
- Speak about the importance of education, and how children in many countries around the world don’t have access to a good education
Explain bullying: Many children face bullying in school, and don’t know how to deal with it. Speak to your child about how bullying is a violation of human rights.
- Teach him that nobody has the right to physically or emotionally cause any trauma to him
- Read some books about bullying, together. Some great examples are “Llama Llama and the Bully Goat” by Anna Dewdney, “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes, and “The Hundred Dresses” by Elinor Estes, and “The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ledwig
Activities to understand human rights: Involve your child in some fun activities that can be a tool for understanding rights.
- Do a “freedom of expression” activity together. Ask your child to create something depicting human rights – it could be a picture, a story, a poem, something he can craft, or even a song. Let him use his creativity and come up with something, which you can then discuss
- Another idea is to have a skit or a puppet show that speaks about human rights, using a simple story
Talk about discrimination: Discrimination is all around us – it could be as simple as allowing a boy child freedom that isn’t allowed to a girl. Gender stereotyping is seen in many households. Similarly, on a larger scale, there’s discrimination based on caste, or race, color of skin and so many other factors.
- Point out some examples to your child of discrimination around us. Ask him what can be done about it
- Read books like “It’s Ok To Be Different” by Todd Parr, and “Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester
- Set an example at home by treating your son and daughter in the same manner. Get your son to do the same chores as your daughter
- Useful screen time: Use your child’s screen time to learn about human rights together. There are several useful resources from UNICEF such as the “Cartoons For Children’s Rights” that teach children about rights in an innovative manner
There are several inspirational figures your child can draw motivation from – Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi and Iqbal Masih – to name a few. Introducing your child to his rights at a young age will not only positively impact his well-being, but it will help him understand how to exercise them responsibly.
Did you find this blog on introducing a child to his rights, useful? Share your feedback with us in the comments section!
| Jan 04, 2018
It's really helpful, I always feel sad when my son comes home with sad face complaining of kids who don't let him play with him by just saying that he is not good in cricket, I don't want him to put himself in fights but I feel sometimes go and talk to their parents. This is best way to teach him to stand for himself and know his rights.