Parenting in Africa Voices of African Children

  • Skillful Parenting
Pages: 88
Year of Publication: 2011
Country: Africa

Listening to children and considering seriously what they have to say is an important step in shaping their future. The family is the first institution within which children’s world view is shaped, formed and indeed from where they gain the confidence to venture into the external environment. It is crucial then that they become participants in their upbringing so that their sense of responsibility has a place in the socialisation process that moulds their character. 

Generally, majority of parents, in the African context, make explicit decisions over matters that concern their children. This most often results in children being timid and unable to voice out their opinions on matters that concern them due to fear of punishment. In most cases, however, this is done with the belief that parents know best about what their children need. It is therefore difficult for the African child to ask or question certain issues that they feel uncomfortable about in the family.

Most often, attempts to ask or express views on issues in the family can result to reprimands or punishment as some children, in this book, point out. Recognising that children have a right to express their views does not mean that adults no longer have responsibilities towards children. On the contrary, children cannot and should never be left alone to find their way or learn the lessons that life has to offer, rather, it requires that we recognise the value of their own
experiences, views and concerns. The family, being the basic protective unit for children therefore remains the most ideal set up for children to learn and have the courage to express themselves. Knowing that their parents or caregivers regard what they feel, what they experience or how they would like their lives to be, contributes immensely to their sense of balance and responsibility. 

This publication has given children across Africa a platform to talk about parenting by expressing their real life stories of how they relate with their parents and caregivers in their environments. It brings out the happy moments, the challenges and struggles that they go through as they relate with the adults in their lives and how the parenting styles and approaches have shaped them. Undoubtedly, children’s views reflect a wide range of concerns and opinions and in most cases recognise the struggles that parents and caregivers go through in order to provide for their needs. This underscores even further the need to talk to children, to let them know what is going on in the families, in their communities and  to have them contribute their opinions to critical decisions that affect their lives. 

It is therefore our hope that these experiences will reawaken the urgent need to involve children meaningfully in our families for it is the intent of every parent that children grow to be responsible adults and reach their best possible potential.

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) & ICS
Author: Parenting in Africa Network & African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Located in: Publications

An independent, not-for-profit, Pan-African
Institute of policy research and dialogue on the African child.

Founded 2003
Founder Assefa Bequele, PhD

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