Children's voice in the home: a relational, generational space

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Horgan, Deirdre
Martin, Shirley
Forde, Catherine
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This chapter draws on data from a qualitative study examining the extent to which children and young people age 7 to 17 are able to participate and influence matters affecting them in their home, school, and community. It was commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in Ireland to inform the National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making, 2015–2020. Utilising Lundy’s (2007) conceptualisation of Article 12 of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Leonard’s (2016) concept of generagency, this chapter will examine children and young people’s everyday lives and relationships within the home and family in the context of agency and structure. In the study, home was experienced by children generally as the setting most facilitative of their voice and participation in their everyday lives reflecting research findings that children are more likely to have their initiative and ideas encouraged in the family than in school or their wider communities (Mayall, 1994). Key areas of decision-making included everyday consumption activities such as food, clothes, and pocket money as well as temporal activities including bed-time, leisure, and friends. This concurs with Bjerke (2011) that consumption of various forms is a major field of children’s participation. Positive experiences of participation reported by children and young people involved facilitation by adults whom they respected and with whom they had some rapport. This locates children as relational beings, embedded in multiple overlapping intergenerational processes and highlights the interdependency between children’s participation and their environment (Leonard, 2016; Percy-Smith & Thomas, 2010).
Children and young people , Participation , Home , Relational , Spatial , Decision-making
Horgan, D., Martin, S. and Forde, C. (2020), 'Children’s Voice in the Home: A Relational, Generational Space', Frankel, S., McNamee, S. and Bass, L.E. (eds). Bringing Children Back into the Family: Relationality, Connectedness and Home (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 41-56. doi: 10.1108/S1537-466120200000027004