Children, Youth and Environments
Vol. 16 No. 2 ( 2006)
A Child Perspective and Children’s Participation
This paper is concerned with children’s participation in communicative processes. We suggest an interpretation of the concepts child perspective and participation that might make it easier to understand, analyze and facilitate “effective” participation for children. Our threefold notion of the child perspective contains both structural and individual aspects. We state that adults must guarantee children’s rights as well as make arrangements to ensure their participation. Further, children’s participation must take place in a way that incorporates their subjective understanding and experiences. This requires exploring and identifying the meanings of their assertions, not taking them for granted. We suggest an interpretative model in which understanding between individuals through communication is essential. Our discussions are illustrated with Norwegian children’s experiences in participation situations, collected from our research on children in child welfare cases and our reflections on daily situations.