Championing the voices of our kids

Article

Ever get a real fright when your kid comes out with a new opinion? We can forget that our kids are living their own lives in a world so different to ours.

We might raise our kids to have the same values as us. But the reality is, kids are always going to be moulding and changing these values to work with the unique lives they’re living. They go to different places, have different friends, meet different challenges and grow in new ways, so how can we expect them to think the same?

And their thoughts, hopes and dreams are just as valuable as ours. Sometimes we can think of kids as “not-quite adults” and forget to take their opinions seriously. But they’re full humans living and breathing in the world, with their own experiences, and their own ideas and views to offer. Yep, their views might change as they get older, but that doesn’t make them less valuable! Even as adults our values and opinions shift all the time, and they’re important at every stage of life. No matter how young or old we are, we all hold valuable stories and ways of seeing the world that those around us can learn from.

So how do we make sure we’re exploring our kids’ worlds, and championing their voices?

One way is to stay curious about our kids, to never assume we know exactly what they like, want and need. It can help to ask the “getting to know you” questions often. Like, who’s your favourite friend? What’s your favourite subject? Have you been enjoying sport? What kind of work do you want to do when you’re older? Do you still like pumpkin? What makes you feel happy? Let’s stay curious about our kids.

Jump on the unplanned chats. Unplanned chats are a great chance to connect. Whether it’s doing the dishes together, or when you’re stuck in traffic. Its times like these when we can re-ask some of those getting to know you questions. And let’s make it fun – if we can learn one new thing about our kid on the car ride home, then we get to treat ourselves to a sneaky chocolate later on 😉     

Get to know their art, music, and favourite games. Kids express themselves through more than just words. So, let’s ask them questions about the art they’re making, the music they’re listening to, and the games they’re playing. Using the stuff that they love can really take your chats to a different place!

And let’s remember that it’s not just about our kids. We can learn pearls of wisdom from young people in our kid’s circles, our community, our own workplace, and all across Queensland. If we stay in touch with children and young people wherever life takes us, then we’ll stay young ourselves and keep on learning and growing as the world changes.

Let’s finish up with a quote from a 15-year-old young person who took part in the Growing Up in Queensland survey, “After all, when did we decide that age was equal to wisdom? It is clear that a man can die having known nothing, and children younger than me have seen and known more pain than most of us ever shall. Young people have opinions, and we are the face of the future.”

Couldn’t have said it better!

If you need any support connecting with your kids, then give the folks at parentline a call. Or visit www.oneplace.org.au to find a support service that works for you.

Download the 2020 Growing up in Queensland report

Last Updated: 29 April 2021