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Of course kids opinions matter, very much!

by Cirra Astle

Just as with anyone of any age, a child’s opinion is going to be built from and influenced by everything that they take in from their world and life around them.

The voiced and acted-out opinions of parents, siblings, other family, friends, teachers, classmates, community members, people and characters that they see in movies or on TV, or read about in books, etc., as well as interactions between any combination of those, can help shape perspectives.

It must not be forgotten, however, that no one is truly a blank slate. Even the youngest baby has the beginnings of a personality, which alone can incline them towards certain interests and beliefs.

Many opinions are also founded at least partially on a person’s own abilities and experiences, whether or not they are ever overtly discussed either. Depending on how empathetic a child is, this can hold true for what they can learn indirectly from the abilities and experiences of the people that they care for, as well.

Similarly, how, why and to whom a child shares their opinions is going to vary depending on the personality of the child, the personalities of the people in their life, the situations they are in, and how the sharing of interests and opinions is treated by those around them, as well as combination's thereof. Is the child introverted or extroverted, shy and insecure or confident? Does the child have trouble making up their mind, or do they tend to jump passionately to conclusions and into obsessions? Does the parent encourage them to explore their beliefs, find ways to explain them, and share them?

Does the parent make it clear that children are to be, “Seen and not heard?” Does the teacher foster discussions and debate in class, or just want students to listen, attend, and take notes? Does the child live in a culture where class, gender or age affect a presupposition of the right to form or share opinions? Has the child had very dramatic experiences which deeply move them in relation to certain kinds of things?

There is no one answer, except that a child’s interests and opinions do indeed matter. It is not even just an issue of the fact that today’s child is tomorrow’s adult. The fact is, a child is someone today. You cannot value them without valuing what they think and how they feel.

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