Key finding - children and young people are experts on their own lives.

The Irish Department of Children and Youth Affairs, in a study published in December 2015, concluded that, 'The home was experienced by children and young people as the setting most facilitative of their voice and participation in their everyday lives. There was a general sense among children and young people that they had a voice and some level of influence in the home, while also an acceptance that their parents had the ultimate authority.

However, key barriers to participation included:

    • parents not effectively listening to them;
    • age and maturity;
    • lack of parental trust;
    • tokenistic practices regarding participation at home.

On the other hand, key enablers of participation included:

    • spaces where discussion can happen at home;
    • good family relationships;
    • being listened to and encouraged by parents;
    • trust and growing levels of independence with age;
    • decisions being perceived as fair;
    • having the rationale for decisions explained to them by parents.

The Principle-based Formula 4 Parenting approach to family decision making can be at the core of ensuring that such enablers are present in all settings.

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