Adulthood vs Adolescence: The Debate on How to Treat Children

imagine of a young man, woman and daughter demonstrating how to treat children

There’s plenty of debate on how to treat children throughout their development toward adulthood: Should “kids just be kids?” Should our little ones be treated like the adults we hope they become? Is there a right and wrong answer?

At Mary Margaret, we don’t take a stance on either perspective. We recognize that your parenting style has been tailored to work best for your own needs. Nevertheless, we felt that the topic was intriguing enough to warrant a discussion…

Treating Children Like Children

The saying goes: “You’re only young once.” For most of us parents looking back on our own childhoods, this sentiment rings true; wasn’t being young easy? No bills. No responsibilities. Our only job was to soak up life and everything it had to offer.

This is the methodology behind the parenting style that treats children like children. To bolster this perspective, science somewhat agrees: Did you know that the human mind doesn’t fully development until age 25? That means children need guidance to be delivered in a simplified way that they can understand throughout these crucial years; they don’t need too many choices or responsibilities to muddle up this development process.

Why rush to grow up? There will be plenty time for “adult stuff” in the years to come.

Treating Children Like Adults

On the flip side, children – like their adult parents – are just little human beings. As a result, they deserve to be treated with the same respect as any other individual, right?

This article doesn’t only propose that treating children like children is wrong; it’s demeaning. Author, Brian Davis, states that many parents unknowingly speak to their child in a condescending manner by delivering a series of arbitrary orders and rhetorical questions that aren’t developmentally beneficial to the child. Instead, he proposes a method that engages the child in adult-like conversation, complete with thought-provoking questions and explanatory answers. This method ultimately helps the child have more autonomy over their own development while still operating within the behavioral expectations any child (or adult) would adhere to.

Which parenting style represents you?

Now that you’ve read the perspectives on both parenting styles, which method do you use with your own children? Maybe you use a blend of the two? Whatever it is, we invite you to start a conversation about this topic on our Facebook pages. We’re excited to hear what you think!

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