Children’s Right #12: The Right to Have an Opinion. Learn About Your Rights!

Children’s Right #12: The Right to Have an Opinion. Learn About Your Rights!

Did you know that everyone has rights? Children under 18 have special rights that are described in 54 agreements. By learning about your rights, you can also speak up for them!

Yes, YOU have the right to an opinion. When adults are making decisions that affect you; you have the right to say freely what you think. You are also allowed to give your opinion on what should happen, and adults should make the effort to listen and take your opinion seriously.

You are never too young to share your beliefs and opinions! Here are some tips on how to do that:

1. Think first.

Take the time to think about what you want to say. Think about why and how you want to share your opinion.

2. Share your opinion.

Start by saying: I think ________ or: In my opinion: ________. For example: “I think children should not have to work!” or “In my opinion, my school needs a basketball court.”

3. Give reasons.

It is good to explain why you have this opinion. For example: “Because children should focus on school and playing.” Or “A basketball court will make our gym-classes more fun.”

4. Others have opinions.

After expressing your opinion, ask the person: What do you think? Maybe they agree; or if they don’t, you can talk it over and learn something new about each other.

5. Be kind.

Remember you have the right to say what you think/express yourself; but it is also important to be kind. Be polite when you share your thoughts and respect other people’s feelings and ideas too.

Give it a try and share your opinion with your peers, a parent, teacher or other adults that you trust!

All humans need shelter and food, for example, and these are rights that everyone has. But children also have additional rights such as love, protection, and support to grow and learn safely. In 1989, the United Nations (UN) agreed to a list of children’s rights that apply to all children in the world. It is called: The Convention on the Rights of the Child. Like most governments of the world, the Sint Maarten Government has promised to respect this list of children’s rights.

This six-part series is contributed by UNICEF The Netherlands and the Child Protection Working Group on Sint Maarten. For in-depth articles, visit www.growingupsafe-sxm.com