Rethinking Parent and Child Conflict (Changing Images of Early Childhood)

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Hamanaka uses images of food, plants, and animals to connect the reader with the text. The message is clear: There is beauty and richness in every color. The children depicted in the book are very diverse and include children with special needs, mixed-race children, and children with albino characteristics.

The text explores the basic facts about the roles that melanin, the sun, and ancestors play in making us different. The author uses photographs to explain the concepts in clear, child-friendly language that offers opportunities to explore this scientific concept with children. Bein' with You This Way W. Familiar, straightforward observations about size, hair texture, eye and skin color help the reader to dispel the notion of "normal" and recognize that we are all unique.

Also available in a well-translated Spanish version. In this picture book, Lena's mother takes her on a tour of the neighborhood to observe all the shades of "brown" skin. With new labels like "cinnamon," "chocolate," and "pizza crust," she begins to understand how four basic colors combine to make lots of variations.

It serves as a great conversation starter on skin color. It's a must-have for every elementary classroom. Through the use of photos and questions, Polland asks students and teachers to explore such issues as praise and criticism, jealousy, anger, and teasing. Lessons that start with the book can be extended in many ways with role plays, writing, and literature. With poetic language and mysterious, almost magical illustrations by Leslie Staub, this picture book tells the reader that "there are children all over the world just like you. Login Join.

Mary Cowhey recommends: All Families Are Different Sol Gordon and Vivien Cohen New York, Prometheus Books, Written by a clinical psychologist, this illustrated book for readers 7 and older defines families in multiple ways, considering economic and racial factors as well as including same-sex, divorced, and foster parents. Jean H. Margot Pepper recommends: September 11 and the U. Melanie Quinn recommends: In Defense of Children: When Politics, Profit, and Education Collide Elaine Garan Chicago, Heinemann, Elaine Garan lays out how millions of precious education dollars were inhaled by greedy textbook and test publishers instead of reaching the classroom in the form of quality literature and informed instruction.

Plus shipping and handling. He would tell me the choices and what things would be good about the choice and everything. Having regard to the age and maturity of the child. Thirdly, the final phrase of s23 2 ' having regard to the age and maturity of the child ' is also inappropriate. The early part of this paper discusses criticisms of the concept of universal predictable changes in children's development at particular ages and stages, regardless of context. The legal system actually recognised as far back as how illogical it was to link children's competence to age in the influential case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority and Department of Health and Social Security [] 3 WLR the House of Lords adopted an 'understanding based' approach to the issue of children's consent to medical treatment:.

In our view, therefore, s23 2 should be amended to delete reference to the age of the child. The child's level of understanding and maturity are more salient criteria. But even then we believe an argument can be mounted for deleting these qualifications too. It is clear that the role of a Court is to assess the credibility of witnesses and to weigh the information offered as evidence by the parties.

While children are not parties to legal proceedings concerning family disputes their 'wishes' or views' are often ascertained.

Rethinking parent and child conflict /

This may be by a professional such as counsel for the child, a specialist report writer, or the judge him or herself who chooses to meet with the child in chambers. The views of children are also frequently presented in Court by one or both of their parents.

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Judges were particularly likely to place little weight on the views of pre-school children. For example:. I should speak of the child's own wishes. I do not regard them as being determinative. After all, she is not yet 5 years old.

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Other times, where the child was older, held a consistently expressed point of view, was articulate and 'mature' then their expressed views may well be respected by the Court and given significant, but very rarely, determinative, weight:. The child was described as being able to articulate her own views clearly and she was very definite that she did not wish to see her father. She found it difficult to understand why the applicant [father] persisted in raising this issue when she felt she had already and repeatedly given her reasons for not wanting to see him.

If she were forced to meet him against her wishes she would be frightened and hostile. It was considered important for the child that the Court and the applicant listened to how she felt and respected her wishes. Child aged 12 years]. We support the notion that in legal proceedings the child's views are not determinative. We prefer the approach often adopted by the judiciary of regarding the children's perspectives as:.

This is entirely appropriate, as the children's views and feelings can only ever be part of the overall equation - both within family life and within the Court system. What we promote, however, is the concept of having children's views and involvement as a regular and commonplace feature of family and legal decision making.

This is why we find the qualifying of children's views by age, understanding or maturity both intriguing and mystifying. If we accept in principle that children have a right to be consulted and to express their views then it is surely redundant and disrespectful to have a phrase taking "account of them to such extent as the Court thinks fit, having regard to the age and maturity of the child. A similar approach could be adopted in respect of children's views, albeit with the important acknowledgement that the judge is usually unable to assess their credibility directly.

Nevertheless the expert evidence available should - and indeed does already - factor this into the decision making process. The Need for a New Approach. These three problematic aspects inherent in s23 2 contribute to the misconceptions which abound about children's competence. They subdue children's voices and they deny or inhibit children's right to be taken seriously and to participate meaningfully in family and legal processes.

There are sound theoretical and rights-based arguments for challenging the invisibility and voicelessness of children, and we hope that provisions like s23 2 are amended to reflect more recent thinking about children. Taylor and Henaghan noted:. We believe that the word 'views' is a more appropriate term than 'wishes' - for it implies that children are able to contribute what they regard as important, without necessarily having to make a choice about what they might prefer.

In the context of separation or dissolution of adult relationships, this subtle distinction can be important p.


Concern at the prospect that children will be required to exercise a choice between their parents when professionals are ascertaining their views is well-founded. We endorse the approach which avoids children being asked directly which parent they would prefer to live with. Most children are connected to both their parents and forcing a choice would indeed place an undue burden on them. It also buys into the short-term and superficial exploration of children's views and understandings of which we are so critical. We prefer the idea of an 'opt-out' rather than an 'opt-in' model. By this we mean that at the moment the child has to earn the right to participate and to express their views.

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We currently start with:. Thus, adults only let children opt-in when some subjective determination, according to mostly unstated criteria, is made that the child is old enough, or mature enough, or has sufficient understanding, to be able to effectively participate and to not be damaged by this experience.

Yet in a democratic society this is the reverse of what adults expect and enjoy. A presumption of competence prevails for adults from the outset of any decision making process. And this can only be revoked through proof of mental or physical incapacity. Why don't we adopt a similar approach for children and young people? The research evidence shows both that this is what many of them want, and that their experience of respect for their rights, consultation and participation will help lead to their effectiveness as citizens and family members in later years.

Having an opt-out model would rightly place the onus on adults to justify the overriding of the child's competence e. It would avoid the current approach whereby children who want to have a say have to fight to have their voice heard. Summary and Conclusions.

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Recent theoretical perspectives and research suggest that it is important to re-think some strongly held assumptions about children, childhood and family life. A strongly held assumption is that there is harm to children in involving them in discussions and decisions about their living and contact arrangements after their parents separate. This may mean that children are kept ignorant of why things are happening in their families, and have no input into decisions, especially if they are younger.

We argue that even young children need to be involved in some appropriate way, because children's understanding and ability to cope with situations is increased if they are active participants in family and legal processes, rather than invisible and voiceless vulnerable victims to be protected. Most children want their views to be heard when their parents separate, even though only a minority of them want to be the sole decision makers.

Even if the decisions that are made do not please them, knowing the reasons for these decisions and having had their perspectives taken into account is likely to help them adjust to the situation. We emphasise how dangerous it is to have a rule or principle which is applied to all situations. Each individual child and family have a different experience, and as much as possible these need to be taken into account within legal processes. While there is plenty of opportunity for the adult participants to state their views, there is a great deal of room for improvement when it comes to involving children.

We consider that it is very important never to lose the focus on the child, and to take a respectful stance towards children's perspectives. There seems to be continuing problems with the children's perspectives being missing or ignored, and their views not being taken in to account when decisions are being formulated. The wording of New Zealand's Guardianship Act and other Family Law legislation suggests that children are incompetent and that their competence depends on age.

In our view it is time to amend the legislation towards an assumption of competence, and a recognition that competence to formulate and express views depends opportunity to do so as well as a supportive context. Although some enlightened judges are becoming much respectful of children's views, these attitudes are not shared by other judges or by the variety of professionals who are influential in our Family Court.