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Bringing-up children is the main function and duty of parenthood. Raising a child is the hardest, most responsible and satisfying task a human being can face. It is also the job for which people receive the least formal training. The enigmatic function of parenting is generally taken for granted by majority of us.
Parent’s knowledge of how to bring up a child usually comes from their surroundings and their own upbringing. This may result in patterns from the parent’s own social experiences being repeated and passed on to their children.
Susan Stiffelman, MFT, an educational therapist and author of Parenting without Power Struggles says, “It’s the education that happens before children set foot into school that is crucial in bringing up children”
“The key to raising a well-rounded child is to establish a solid support system at home so that the children grow up satisfied with their achievements and ambitions. The goal as a parent is to help your children feel competent and confident, and to help them develop a sense of passion and purpose”
The purpose of this article is to discuss the issues of child upbringing and simultaneously I want to take the readers to an equally important and closely related topic concerning children, “Rights of the Child” Both these topics are intermittently over-lapping.
On November 20, 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and on November 20, 1989, it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both, the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a legally-binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion or abilities.
Pakistan became the 61st signatory to this convention in 1990.
Universal Children’s Day is celebrated to honor children globally aiming at protecting them from working long hours in dangerous circumstances and allowing access to rightful education and health.
Universal Children’s Day is part of the work carried out by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), established in 1954, and is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards promoting and improving children’s welfare.
UNCRC comprises of 54 clauses and comprehensively encompasses all issues and rights concerning children.
- Article 1 (Definition of the child): The Convention defines a ‘child’ as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular country set the legal age for adulthood younger. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the monitoring body for the Convention, has encouraged States to review the age of maturity, if it is set below 18 and to increase the level of protection for all children under 18.
- Article 2 (Non-discrimination): The Convention applies to all children, whatever their race, religion or abilities; whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from. It doesn’t matter where children live, what language they speak, what their parents do, whether they are boys or girls, what their culture is, whether they have a disability or whether they are rich or poor. No child should be treated unfairly on any basis.
Children’s Day is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are and to express solidarity with them, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have experienced violence in forms of abuse and exploitation. Children are used as laborers in many countries, immersed in armed conflict, living on the streets, suffering by discrimination be it religion, minority issues, or disabilities.
Children facing the effects of war can be displaced because of the armed conflict and may suffer physical and psychological trauma. The quandary can be described in the term “children and armed conflict” recruitment and “Child Soldiers”, killing/maiming of children, abduction of children, attacks on schools/hospitals and not allowing humanitarian access to children.
As per the statistics from UNICEF currently there are about 153 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 who are forced into child labor. The International Labor Organization in 1999 adopted the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor including slavery, child prostitution and child pornography.
Are we as parents aware of children rights and do we really handle our children accordingly, is a big question which perhaps remains to be answered fully and satisfactorily. There are however, different ways that the parents handle their children. Right or wrong — is debatable.
Child psychologists and educational therapists point out some common negligence and slippages in handling children.
To be continued……