Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
On a societal level, we must establish that care, guidance, and love are what we owe to our children. Pixabay

“You are not old enough to understand” is a phrase likely to ring a bell for millions of adults, adolescents, and children, across India. While the dismissive statement may seem innocuous at first, a deeper dive into the almost universally accepted, yet largely unspoken, belief uncovers a major daily hurdle faced by children today, called ‘adultism, believes Sakshi, a rights-based NGO.

“At some point in our lives, we have all likely experienced a certain degree of discrimination in the form of adultism and had our decisions and life choices questioned based on our actual or perceived age. In other words, the persistent pattern of children and youth being denied the right to exercise self-determination is called adultism.”


Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

“Adultism does not suggest that age is a completely irrelevant social identity, but rather that actual or perceived age is often used to restrict a child or a young person from making their own choices. It unfairly gives adults the power to decide most features and preferences about young peoples’ lives, such as how they dress, or how they behave or socialize, without a deeper understanding of the competencies and capacities that each young person possesses. Making matters worse for children, one of the country’s most overlooked demographics, is that adultism festers out of social stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination based on actual or perceived age. The choices being made for children and adolescents by adults are, therefore, further restricted by a multitude of social evils such as casteism, sexism, class inequality, racism, and ableism,” says the NGO. eSakshi’ is a capacity-building organization working towards systemic interventions for the prevention of gender-based violence and child sexual abuse.

Adultism has emerged out of the cultural, social, and political construction of childhood and often mimics other systems of oppression through at least one of the five forms of oppression in exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Adults often believe themselves to be the role models of children, the arbiters of right and wrong, while somehow also holding the belief that they do not owe children an acknowledgment of harm caused against them by adults or an apology either, asserts eSakshi’. What’s more, is the general societal acceptance amongst adults that children cannot hold adults accountable for their actions when harm has been done against them.


On a societal level, we must establish that care, guidance, and love are what we owe to our children. Pixabay

It adds: herein lies the problem, where the negative effects of adultism really begin to take a stronghold on a child’s life; when adults systematically do not allow children to participate in meaningful decisions, their sense of self-worth deteriorates. Children have boundaries that are often ignored, and when children cannot hold adults accountable, it can be detrimental to their self-worth and can even lead them to doubt their power in asserting their rights to speaking up and out against those who harm them well into adulthood.

Even though the problem of adultism is so deeply rooted and ingrained in our culture and society, there are still solutions to combat this and offer a path to meaningful long-term change. On a societal level, we must establish that care, guidance, and love are what we owe to our children. This can be quantified by how much children trust their guardians to care for them when they have been harmed by their guardians or by others, says the NGO.

On a parental and individualistic level, communication is vital in ensuring children have an ideal platform to express themselves. In order to take tangible steps forward, parents should reach out to their children and reflect upon their responses to the following questions: Will you share with me a time when you were trying to express your thoughts and feelings and I did not listen? Are there things that I do that hurt your feelings? Did I ever do something that was unfair to you?

ALSO READ: Pets Helped Children Manage Stress And Loneliness In The Pandemic

Furthermore, it is important for adults to understand that they need to allow children to hold them accountable if and when adults have wronged them. Listening and paying attention to the feelings and opinions of children is helpful as it not only allows them to express themselves, but also holds adults, parents, or guardians accountable for behavior that is harmful, adds the NGO.

This also significantly reduces the possibilities for further violence being perpetrated against children and creates an environment and a community of accountability, where adults can watch out for other adults who may, intentionally or not, be harming children in the process, it concludes. (IANS/JC)


Popular

VOA

Logs cut from virgin Amazon rain forest are placed in a pile, in Brazil's northeastern Amazon region, February 11, 2008.

GENEVA — The battle to stem climate change may be lost as new information indicates the Amazon rain forest is turning from a carbon sink – or area that absorbs CO2 – into a source of carbon dioxide, the World Meteorological Organization warns.

The latest edition of the WMO's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide once again broke all records last year.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Amy Elting on Unsplash

Let us educate each other that we are all beautiful in our way and don't need to fit in the so-called standards set by our draconian society.

Receiving compliments is something that a majority of us enjoy. Compliments, after all, make us feel good about ourselves. Sometimes compliments intended to be flattering turn out to be a tremendous turn-off, and in some cases, they are insulting. 'Beauty with brains is one of those compliments. So, is 'beauty with brains' a compliment? Without further ado, I would confidently say- NO! It doesn't matter what your gender, colour, or identity is. The answer is clearly a no.

Beauty with a brain suggests that you can only have one of these qualities and that you are an 'exception' if you possess both. "Oh, Wow! You are a beauty with brains" is a phrase that women often hear. This statement is used when a female exhibits characteristics that indicate she is intelligent. People are taken aback if they see a wise and beautiful woman because women are stereotyped to be either beautiful or brainy. The concern with this is that it is naturally assumed that men are intelligent. Women, on the other hand, are supposed to have a natural beauty. If she isn't attractive according to the norms laid down by society, it is expected that she would at the very least be intelligent. When someone manages to be both, it is regarded as a significant accomplishment.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikimedia Commons

"Malgudi is where we all belong, and where we wish we lived."

Malgudi, a small fictional town in South India has been part of the childhood of most Indians. It is an old, shabby, and peaceful town that is unruffled by politics. The stories set in this small town ring the sense of belongingness in the hearts of its readers. The familiar feeling that feels like home resonates with their soul. And teaches important life lessons to the readers through simple tales. Malgudi Days is one of the books that every Indian child should read. The book is a compilation of 32 short stories that paint a beautiful picture of small-town in India around the '60s and '70s

R. K. Narayan, one of the most well-known and popular writers within India and outside India is the creator of this town and the occurrences of this town. The stories follow the characters Swami and his friends through their everyday lives. Be it the story of fake astrologers who scam and loot the people by his cleverness, or the story of a blind beggar and his dog where the money blinded the man with greed; each story has a lesson to learn, morals and values hidden in it. As the stories are simple, easy to understand yet heart-touching it makes it easy for the kids to connect with each character and imagine the story as if the reader themselves were the protagonist of the story. In simple words, we can say that R.K. Narayan simply told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world.

Keep reading... Show less