Posted: 18 January 2012

If you influence children's lives, you can promote well-being

Last week we launched The Good Childhood Report 2012, which drew upon over 30,000 8-to-15-year-olds' thoughts on their well-being. We asked how satisfied they are with their lives as a whole, and their satisfaction with their family life, school and other aspects of their lives.

What came through loud and clear when we reviewed the evidence was that young people have six key priorities for their positive well-being.

Young people's priorities are to have the right conditions to grow and develop; a positive view of themselves and an identity that is respected; enough of the experiences and items that matter; loving, caring relationships with family and friends; a safe and stable home environment and local area and opportunities to take part in positive activities to thrive.

If you have any sort of influence over children’s lives – as a policy-maker, a doctor, a care worker or other role – we urge you to keep these priorities in mind when making decisions that influence children’s lives.

Incorporating young people's priorities

In our report for decision-makers in local areas, central government and parliament, Promoting positive well-being for children we set out steps you can take to create and measure policies which will have a positive effect on children’s well-being.

These include a checklist that policy makers can use to begin to understand the impact that their policy might have on children’s well-being, the evidence supporting the six priorities for children’s well-being, and some of the questions and indexes that can be used to measure how children’s well-being is changing at home, in school or in their local area.

Promoting young people's well-being

However, these steps contain simple messages for all people who have influence in children’s lives, not just for public policy makers.

For example, key themes running through the report are that children must have an active say in decisions that affect them, that they should be respected and valued for who they are, and that they need positive, caring relationships with people around them.

If everyone with a responsibility for children applies the six priorities, and the key themes running through them, collectively we can make the UK one of the best places in the world for children to grow up. We can ensure that all children can have a good childhood and the best chance for a positive future.

By David Hounsell, Economic Adviser at The Children’s Society

By David Hounsell - Policy team

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Children need a sense of belonging and identity. Every child wants to be happy but sometimes due to the parental care they often finds it difficult to be happy. They need their parents to stand by their side and give them a full support and guidance.