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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | A Fine Balance | The Rights of Your Child in the Parent-Child Dynamic

A Fine Balance | The Rights of Your Child in the Parent-Child Dynamic

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was officially adopted by the Cayman Islands in 1994. Every five years, the Cayman Islands Government sends a report to the UNRC to show progress on how the Cayman Islands community has supported children’s rights. Upon one submission, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin noted that, “the extensive submissions received from both Government entities and non-governmental organisations are testament to the importance that the people of the Cayman Islands clearly attach to the human rights of children”. – Mahreen Nabi

But what does this actually mean? The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international document that states that every child has rights (54 rights to be exact!) that must be respected no matter their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status.

It is understood that children (defined as anyone under the age of 18) need special rights because they require extra protection that adults don’t. Some of the most important rights that have also been adopted in The Cayman Islands Children’s Law of 1995 include the following:

The Right To:

Key to note is that all these rights are linked and no right is more important than another. To be truly successful in upholding these rights, all of society – from parents to educators, caregivers, community groups, and government must feel a collective responsibility.

Strike The ‘Right’ Balance

As a parent it can be incredibly difficult to balance teaching your children respect for authority (your rights) while teaching self-determination and independence (their rights). Here are some tips to help you strike the right balance:

1. Instead of saying “Do what you’re told!” help your child understand why they need to do what they need to do (whether it’s going to bed on time, coming home to meet curfew or not hitting other children). This can help avoid future strife and unnecessary verbal, emotional or physical altercations.

2. Take the approach that as much as is possible (other than with issues that overlap with safety and health), that children need to find out for themselves why they should or should not do things – with some guidance and suggestions, but ultimately less and less as they get older.

3. Appeal to your child’s sense of maturity in a positive way: have clear expectations of your child and hold them accountable. One example is to reward (even just verbally) a positive behaviour when you see it. There is nothing wrong with providing rewards that encourage structured and guided independence.

4. Write up a contract with your child so that you both understand what the rules are – Whose rights take precedent at which time and in which circumstance negotiation is acceptable. The contract should state that if they comply, they will garner some specifically outlined reward, and also be very clear about what the consequences will be for competing with you as a parent.

Did You Know?

In Cayman, children under the age of 16 may not work during school hours, and children of school age are prohibited from lifting, carrying, or moving anything heavy that may cause them injury. They also cannot work between the hours of 10pm and 7am, nor for more than eight hours on a non-school day, and no more than two hours after school.



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