What Is Adultcentrism?

Anyia Robinson, Writer

Being a kid is hard. Being a teenager is harder.  We look forward as youngsters to eventually become an adult and achieve the freedom we craved so much while we were younger. But, we must sit back and ask, “Why is being a child not a treasured time for us? Why do we feel the need to want to grow up so fast?” To that I blame the adults. You might be thinking, “Oh typical teenager, blaming the parents for their problems.”  Yes, yes in a sense I am, but not without the facts.

  Adultcentrism is not a new epidemic in a social sense, but it is being newly received and look into. Adultcentrism is the exaggerated egocentrism of adults, including the belief that an adult perspective is inherently better (when compared to that of children).  In more layman’s terms, it is when adults use the “I’m grown and you’re not” excuse to justify their actions, and ultimately limiting the perspectives of youths. While a separation between the ages is healthy and rhetorical, using age to belittle, and make one seem less than or irrelevant, is where the problem comes in. This also goes into the category of adultism, which is defined as the “behaviors and attitudes based on the assumptions that adults are better than young people, and entitled to act upon young people without agreement”. “Adultism can be manifested as excessive nurturing, possessiveness, or over-restrictiveness, all of which are consciously or unconsciously geared toward excessive control of a child.”

  Overall the view and actions of this is unhealthy, and the adults should be more aware of it. There can be a healthy implementation of authority with the intent to belittle or shame the child for something that they can not control, which is their age. We are/were all children at a time, and no child wants to feel like their voice is irrelevant or doesn’t matter. Ultimately, this is a developing form of child abuse, and the effects are lasting and damaging to a child’s development. Some issues include depression, anxiety, and overall the view that adults are not allies and can not be trusted. We, as a society, should work to close the gap between children and adults in a healthier way, so that we can co exist and break the stigmas.