As a society, I can’t help thinking that society may have some healing to do when it comes to attitudes towards children.
Too often, I hear adults putting young people down. It’s as though some adults have forgotten what it’s like to be a child growing up in the world.
Children are sometimes perceived as demanding and needy. This may be because they are not getting their needs met. They try to get their needs met but maybe there are people around them who just don’t know how to meet them.
Young people are often accused of being rude and disrespectful. Have we not considered that they are confused about the messages they’re picking up? The adult world is full of mixed messages that don’t make sense and fearful messages coming from the media. Young people’s behaviour can be seen as a reflection of what’s going on inside them and there are times when the world today is enough to make anyone feel angry.
Some may think that young people are lazy, not making an effort, not trying hard enough, neither interested or motivated in what’s going on around them. Is it possible that they’re simply disengaged?
That might be the case if they feel disempowered or controlled. Are they feeling undervalued? Children are frequently put under pressure by adults. They may be told that their school days are the best days of their lives and that life is going to get a lot tougher. And that might make them feel misunderstood and unsupported if school’s stressful and they’re anxious about the future. Confusion causes frustration and stress.
Another common comment aimed at children is that they’re spoilt or entitled. Once again, if this is so, it’s a reflection of the parenting style they are subject to.
We may label children as troublesome or bad when they act in a way that makes us feel uncomfortable, and likewise, see them as good when they meet our standards and expectations. We must remember that we automatically embody a position of authority from our adult stance and we need to be aware of treating each child with the respect and acknowledgment that’s due from one human being to another.
Do you remember what it felt like to be a child?
Did you feel seen? Did you feel heard?
Were you given respect?
Were you validated and supported?
What are we choosing to pass on to the next generation of adults?
[Image: “Child Amongst the Ancestors: Stonehenge Summer Solstice” by Amenet Drago]