The following is part of a series of articles on the rights and responsibilities of children and of families. On our site, we’ve published a Children’s Bill Of Rights, with all of the sections in the bill. You can take a look at Children’s Bill of Rights.
Let’s look at the rights and attendant responsibilities. First we’ll show the right, then in italics and in red, the child’s responsibility. I’ll follow each of these with my comments. I’ll keep the comment on each of these short.
Right to Privacy
Every human being has the right to a reasonable amount of privacy, including children. Parents and others should knock and wait to be invited in before entering a child’s room, once the child is old enough to understand this.
A child should have the right to have his personal possessions considered private, within reasons. (Destructive or harmful objects such as weapons or drugs are not “private” for anyone in a family — everyone would need to know they are in the house.)
Every child has the right to have talks with whomever they need to, and to consider those talks to be private. No child should have to tell another about talks he’s had (written or spoken) with others. (This, again, is within reason. Dangerous “talks” with strangers on the Internet and elsewhere are not a part of this right. Parents have the responsibility and right to keep their children safe.)
You have the responsibility to have a safe room, to never bring anything dangerous into it or your house such as a weapon, drugs, or living things that your family does not know about.
You have the responsibility to care for your possessions, unless you do not want them anymore. You have the responsibility to know that if you break your things, your parents (or other people) do not have to replace them.
You have the responsibility to choose to talk to people who really do care about you, and not just “to anyone”. You have the responsibility to not “just complain” about things, but instead to try to make them better. You have the responsibility to see to it that your parents know whatever they need to know to safely take care of you, your house, and your family and neighborhood.
It is important that a child is aware that his privacy is being respected. It provides him a sense of self-value. But it is also important that he realize he is a part of a family, sharing a home with others. This fact implies responsibilities. That is the story of civilization – people living in close quarters and sharing the joys and burdens of society. Living with others requires boundaries and rules. They include good self-policing of what one brings into a house where others live. This care should extend beyond living things like animals, weapons and drugs. It should include friends who are ill and contagious. The child is as responsible for the welfare of his family as are the parents in this regard, and should learn this lesson by a fairly young age.
A child must understand that very little is “owed” to him. The child’s possessions should always be his, they are not communal or “family” possessions. But if he doesn’t care for them and they deteriorate or break – that’s his problem, by the same rule. His possessions are his. If others choose to replace them of their own accord, that’s great. No one, however, is obligated to do so. This is an important life lesson for a child to learn.
Today, with the Internet and schools and such, a child is capable of talking to (in one form or another) many people. Some will be known to the child and his parents, but many others will effectively be strangers. The lesson of Little Red Riding Hood perhaps means more today than ever. “Don’t talk to strangers”. In the Internet age, that is a very important lesson to learn.
What’s more, privacy… Read Entire Article…