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27-09-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2018

Decision-Making by Children and Young People in the Home: The Nurture of Trust, Participation and Independence

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2018
Shirley Martin, Catherine Forde, Deirdre Horgan, Linda Mages


This article presents the findings of a qualitative research study of children and young people (aged 7–17 years) in Ireland. It seeks to investigate whether, for the children and young people involved, the home is a space where supportive, trusting family relationships can be nurtured; where independence grows with age; and where parents listen, discuss and explain decisions made. It furthermore outlines the views and experiences of parents with regard to children and young people’s participation in the home and will focus on relational and spatial aspects of child participation within the home. The study recognizes children and young people as social actors and is also informed by a relational and spatial approach to children’s participation which recognizes the respective roles and positions of children in facilitating child participation. The results indicate that age and issues of trust and tokenism were significant barriers in young people’s participation and decision making at home. Key enablers of children and young people’s participation included spaces where discussion can happen at home, good family relationships, being listened to by parents, trust and growing levels of independence with age, seeing decisions as fair and having the rationale for decisions explained to them by parents. Among suggestions for improvements the most important were designated family spaces for discussion, encouragement of active listening by parents, and promotion of explanation by adults of their decisions.

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