Do children really have a voice?


Within my country, Jamaica land we love, a child’s right to freedom of expression is promoted but is it recognized or seen as valuable? Our country has a variety of ways for children to express themselves, whether through a student/youth body, social media, verbally or physically. Although we are given the freedom of expression, our expressions are often disregarded, this can have a severe impact on youths and if not addressed will only get worse.


It’s customary to have student representatives within schools, but often the concerns that they raise are not taken seriously, a prime example being a student having problems with a teacher. The concern is heard, but no help is offered, the people in authority do not really prioritize problems that students are faced with and do not try to offer help, and consequently our freedom of expression is futile.  


Children merit the option to communicate their issues, wants, interests, and opinions and for them to be acknowledged, and accepted. However, within the household amongst parents and children this is often times a problem, whereas the child may express themself and the parent chooses not to show much interest, for example, a child deciding what career path they want, and the parent hears the child’s wants, but still tries to persuade their child to choose a career they want them to have. 


This can have a mental impact on the child; the child will feel like they are taken for granted, not deserving to be heard, unimportant and unappreciated. They may develop low self-esteem, and depression as a result of this. On the other hand, children may choose a different approach which involves treating those in authority (parents, teachers, anyone set above them in an authoritative figure) in the same manner they or their peers are treated; they may disregard, disrespect and rebel against them. 


This division is not and will never be beneficial to the country’s growth because my generation in a few years will be the one making the decisions and filling the various positions and professions within our society. Those in these professions will have the power to exact revenge and some will choose to do so, which is simply saddening.  This cycle will be a recurrence if not addressed, those in authority need to start taking children’s opinions seriously and not just brush them aside.


These opinions and interests which are expressed, could be solutions to problems which are faced, in the country or globally but just need some fixing. When our expressions are heard and recognized, it gives a sense of appreciation, and we feel valued and these are feelings which everyone wants to feel. Children deserve the right to express themselves freely and not only to be able to express themselves but to be recognized and taken seriously just like any other adult or person of authority within the home, school, community and any place else that they want to make a contribution. 

Written by:

Tyrese Sherman

CORIA Jamaica