what is a parent ally

WHAT IS A PARENT ALLY?

Children are one of the last people groups who are routinely marginalised. That may seem like an extreme claim, but think about how recently you last heard someone speak plainly and in a derogatory manner about children.

For me, it was last week, on Facebook. ” I don’t like children” someone contributed, quite randomly on a parenting thread. Such a bold and offensive statement about a whole sector of society should make us wonder in what other ways children bear the consequences of a world weighted towards adults.

Here are just a few examples;

  • Adult opinion always trumping that of children, to the point where no discussion is even embarked on, simply “Because I said so!”
  • A lack of trust in our children’s understanding of their bodies; eg. their appetites, their toiletting needs. “You can’t be hungry AGAIN?!” or “You must wait until the bell rings to go to the toilet.”
  • Physically, our world is arranged so that children can’t act on their will independently  – light switches are too high, taps are too high, toilet seats too large.

Thankfully there are great strides being taken to claim some rights for our children. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is quite a radical document ratified by all but two states. The UNCRC outlines a robust list of rights for children and places children right in the very heart of policies and decisions that effect them. Academics such as Teresa Graham Brett, author of Parenting for Social Change, are opening our eyes to the ways in which we can restore the rights and dignity of children.

Parent Allies are part of this movement. We are parents who want to raise children in homes where their voice is heard and their will is respected. We are allies to our children – supporting their right to be in the world as they are.

Suffolk University describe an ally as “a person who is a member of an advantaged social group who takes a stand against oppression, works to eliminate oppressive attitudes and beliefs in themselves and their communities, and works to interrogate and understand their privilege.”

Parents who are allies to their children don’t have all the answers and we don’t do everything perfectly. We are asking big, hard questions about how to give equal weight to the needs of each member of our family, and we are doing so in a world that is not quite ready for us!

We must be brave and kind as we build this movement together.

what is a parent ally

2 Comments

  • Stacey August 22, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    The definition by Suffolk University is skewed. An ally is a person or group who sides with or supports another person or group. They can be allied in evil. Allies can work together to oppress equally as much as work against oppression.
    It’s a nice idea but not an accurate definition.

    Reply
    • admin August 22, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Stacey, thanks for your comment. Traditional use of the word ally is as you say, but it is increasingly being used as described by Suffolk, certainly within social movements the above definition is the only definition. Language is a living, evolving thing and is only ever defined by it’s current usage. (Originally, I beleive, it didn’t even mean to “side with” it meant “to marry”)

      Reply

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