We can force external obedience; but a genuine character is always the outcome of what the child himself wishes at heart to do or be. At a very early age he already shows that he has likes, dislikes, impulses, propensities of his own. In recent years these have received close study; and thanks to the writings of Hall, Barnes, Dewey, Thorndike, Freud and others, we know that, troublesome as these impulses are, they are also our very nest allies.
-Michael Vincent O’Shea, The Child, His Nature and His Needs, 1924
It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a child.
You forget all the things you observed around yourself that no one thought you would notice. You forget those moments when adults whispered around you thinking you wouldn’t clue in but you knew exactly what they were trying to conceal.
You also forget those moments when you surprised adults. Those instances when you showed your level of comprehension and received praise and acknowledgement from the adults around you.
I’ve seen many times, adults not giving enough credit and respect to children and young adults where it is surely deserved.
Children and young adults are capable of a lot of understanding and in fact, they are ingrained with valuable lessons that they utilize everyday to interact with others and their environment. Therefore, you do not have to treat a child as though they have just stepped out into the world for the first time – at least not always.
I prefer to speak to children of almost any age as though they are a peer of mine. This shows them that I respect them as an individual and i’m interested in what they have to say – I’m not just interacting with them because I think they are adorable or feel obligated to.
Given the right opportunities, children can utilize the valuable skills they have learned from those who have been around since their upbringing. These skills are often much more developed and advanced than they are given the acknowledgement for.