3.5 The relationship between rights and responsibilities

Activity 3.4: Linking parents’ hopes with the needs of children

Think about the question you were asked at the beginning of this study session: What might be parents’ hopes and aspirations for a newborn child? Now you have explored the ideas of needs, rights and responsibilities, think about the following questions:

  1. What needs would have to be met in order that those aspirations are fulfilled?
  2. What are some of the things that might prevent those needs being met?
  3. What relevance would recognition of children having rights make in fulfilling those aspirations?
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  1. Some of the things that a child will need so that these hopes are realised might include: adequate nutrition, a safe and secure home, immunisation to prevent infections and disease, access to essential medical care for illness or injury, protection from violence and abuse, and opportunity to play and to learn; opportunities to take increasing responsibilities for their own decisions.
  2. Despite parents or guardians hopes for their children, many barriers may prevent children’s needs from being met, including accidents, poverty, conflict, poor parenting skills, or discrimination. For example, poverty may force some parents to make children work in the home or outside the home at a young age. In some circumstances, this may prevent them from receiving an education. Lack of adequate health care or appropriate early years’ assessment may mean the child fails to get vital treatment leading to poorer health or even death. The use of violent punishments at home and school can lead to stress, anxiety, inability to learn, and as a result their need for emotional security and a sense of worth and being valued.
  3. It is only possible to hold adults accountable for meeting children’s needs if it is recognised that every child is entitled to have those needs met – in other words that children have rights.

Adults’ and children’s rights