Kids Are People Too
Just Like Me And You
September 17, 2018
Have you ever demeaned children in your mind? You might think,
"They're just kids, they don't care if
.... their toys are broken.
.... their food is cold.
.... their gifts are trinkets and twaddle.
....I forget what I promised them."
And sometimes children don't seem to care. They don't want their hair combed or their clothes to match. They just want candy and Sponge Bob.
Often they don't know what’s good for them. But they do know when we treat them as less than a person. And they know something’s not right about that even if they can’t articulate it.
Respect Their Interests
A child is not completely grown. A child is not completely developed. But a child is a complete person. They deserve respect and the opportunity to explore their interests now (within reason and family means), not once they’ve “Grown up.”
I’ve struggled with this concept. I didn't want to spend time and money on activities like gymnastics or ballet if my child wasn't going to be a star. Hyper-practicality stood in my way.
A friend had a different take from mine. She absolutely thought children could do these activities simply for the joy of them. Those fun experiences are a part of the child and will often be used to some degree throughout their life.
I was in children's choirs as a kid. I'm not a great singer or actor. I do not like being on stage. But I loved children's choir. I have so many good memories and friendships from that experience. Now, as an adult, I have a collection of memorable songs from my childhood to sing to my children.
So I’ve learned to let go of the hyper-practicality, treat my children as full-fledged people, and allow them to explore their interests where possible.
Some great day-to-day ways to respect your child as person:
- Don’t speak down to them or demean them.
- Don’t ignore them.
- Have conversations with them.
- Respect their (often insightful) thoughts.
- Give them real things to work and play with (a real broom is better than a toy one).
- Read intelligent literature to them. Minimize the twaddle.
- Use your normal vocabulary. Just explain big words when asked.