Participation, communication and influence on decisions affecting children

Participation and communication
UNICEF/HQ92-0074/ STEVE MAINES
A father and his daughter in Jogjakarta, on the island of Java.

In general, children's relations with their parents (mothers 95% and fathers 89%) are reported as "good" to "very good." No country had less than 90% of positive responses for mothers, while the lowest proportion of positive responses for fathers were in Cambodia (76%), Hong Kong (81%), Mongolia (82%), Malaysia (83%), Australia and ROK (84%) and Macau (85%). Only Hong Kong, Cambodia, Viet Nam (all 5%) and Australia (7%) had more than three per cent of respondents reporting "bad" , "very bad" or "none" about relationships with their fathers. Older children tended to be less positive in their reported relationship with fathers.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• Relationship with my father/mother... (total of 9349) [view]
• Relationship with my father is very good... (by country of 52% total) [view]
• My relationship with my father/mother is average/bad because... (total of 982) [view]
• Relationship with my mother is very good... (by country of 61% total) [view]
• My relationship with my mother is average/bad because... (total of 494) [view]

Forty per cent said children's feelings and opinions in the home are not given enough or any consideration, particularly in urban environments. Responses ranged from Cambodia (74%), and China, Malaysia, PNG and ROK (all more than 50%) to Mongolia and Myanmar (both 18%).

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• My opinions and feelings are taken into consideration... (total) [view]
• My opinions and feelings are taken into consideration... (by demographic) [view]
• My opinions and feelings are not sufficiently taken into consideration... (by country of 40% total) [view]

The most common positive reinforcement from parents is a compliment, congratulations, or a present or reward. Children are most commonly punished through scolding or other verbal means, although 23 per cent of children say they are beaten. In cases where a child is scolded for something he/she hasn't done, almost half (47%) say they are allowed to explain and their parents listen, however a third (33%) say they just "keep quiet" and others say that they are not allowed to explain or that they are not listened to (14%).

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• When I behave well, my parents... (total) [view]
• When I do something wrong, my parents... (total) [view]
• In my home, when I am scolded and it is not my fault... (total) [view]

UNICEF/HQ97-0963/ JEREMY HORNER
Friends gather outside a Rehabilitation Centre for street children in Manila, Philippines.

Ten per cent said talking with teachers about school-related problems is "difficult" or "very difficult," especially in the Republic of Korea (31%) and Viet Nam (21%). Communication with teachers also appears to be difficult in Australia, Indonesia and Mongolia, where more than half (51%) said it was "average", "difficult" or "very difficult". One of the major reasons given is that "they don't listen" and the survey showed a slightly higher incidence of "difficult" and "very difficult" communication problems with female schoolmates (12%) than with teachers and male schoolmates (both 10%).

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• Talking about problems in my school is... (total of 9,349 total) [view]
• In my school, it difficult/very difficult to talk about problems with teachers because... (total of 912 responses) [view]
• In my school, it difficult/very difficult to talk about problems with male schoolmates because... (total of 929 responses) [view]
• In my school, it difficult/very difficult to talk about problems with female schoolmates because... (total of 1,074 responses) [view]
• Talking about problems in my school with teachers is... (total of 9,349 total by demographic) [view]
• Talking with teachers is easy/very easy… (by country of 60% total) [view]
• Talking about problems in my school with male schoolmates is... (total of 9,188 total by demographic) [view]
• Talking with male schoolmates is easy/very easy… (by country of 67% total) [view]
• Talking about problems in my school with female schoolmates is... (total of 9,231 total by demographic) [view]
• Talking with male schoolmates is easy/very easy… (by country of 68% total) [view]

Less than half of the respondents (46%) felt that their and their friends' opinions mattered in local community decisions. More than a third (39%) said it did not matter and 15 per cent saying they didn't know. Respondents from Viet Nam (74%), the Philippines (73%), and East Timor, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar and the Republic of Korea (all over 50%) were most positive, whereas those in Macau (71%), Hong Kong (67%) and Thailand (59%) were negative. Younger respondents were more likely to respond "don't know" than older children, who tended to respond "yes."

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• My opinion and my friends' opinion matters... (total) [view]
• My opinion and my friends' opinion matters... (by demographic) [view]
• My opinion and my friends' opinion matters... (by country of 46% total) [view]
• Some children/my friends/ I am treated differently or not well accepted... (total) [view]

This information is provided as a contribution to discussion on important issues affecting children. UNICEF Regional offices conducted the polls, analysis and interpretations of the findings. For more information, please contact the regional poll contact person directly.

About the survey
Feelings of well-being and outlook on life
Children and their rights
Information, knowledge and life skills
Threats to the well-being of children
Participation, communication and decision-making
Values, aspirations and expectations