What do we know about child wellbeing?
“Wellbeing” is a complex concept. We know it when we see it (or its absence) but it is hard to define. We think that:
- wellbeing is a positive state that is more than just existing
- almost everyone aspires to wellbeing
- wellbeing is both subjective and objective: both how people feel about their lives and their actual material conditions matter
- wellbeing is a dynamic state that changes over both the short and long-term
- wellbeing is related to individuals’ opportunities to participate in society and have their rights and needs fulfilled
- having wellbeing is not the same as being happy all the time – ups and downs are part of life
- culture shapes how people think about the concept of wellbeing generally, and how they feel about their own wellbeing.
In addition, child wellbeing:
- is dependent on the wellbeing of their family and whānau wellbeing, particularly parents wellbeing
- is equally important for children’s lives now as it is for their development into future adults
- needs to be understood in discussion with real children and young people.
Work towards child wellbeing needs ongoing focus and resourcing.