Adultification of Childhood

Would you hold adultification of childhood as a crime?


Tech Adultification

Before any parent ventures to answer that, take a moment. It is a bit of a trick question. It will need parents to try a different optical zoom on their parenting styles. The findings may or may not be pleasing. New generation of parents always stress, how the “next generation is way ahead of them when they were their children’s age”. There are various reasons for that; some social, some economic and some neo-parental.

Nature plays a tricky game with generations of new-born. They are operating in an adult world. The adult world comes with its share of perils and the young ones need to learn and adapt faster than they can swallow food. They have to learn to run before they can walk. If not, they fall prey to the predators.

I am no social scientist when I say this, but if we were to apply this to our human world, we see things that are no different. There are segments of society that help the “adultification” of children for purely economic reasons. Politics too has its hand in such steroid parenting. History has seen child warriors been produced and groomed when they should be playing with wooden toys. Modern times have seen no different – the child warriors have automatics in their hands in place of toys – specially in strife-ridden places like Darfur.

Adultification of Childhood

Fashion Adultification

For those of us blessed not be a victim of such surroundings, there are other demonic agents that parents fall trap to. Children’s fashion is now ‘hotter’ with child models in adult-like (read sexy) poses and clothes. Those seem cute for a moment or two. And it does affect the impressionable minds. We find it cute when children ape adults, behave like them, speak the adult language. Why? Because they are not supposed to. Just the way an adult is not supposed to act and speak like a child, even if to earn brownie points from their partners or just be cute. Children wardrobes have high heels, glitter make up and hair gels. Does this not amount to “adultification”?

Many unsuspecting parents fall into a trap when they see others’ children strut their stuff. It is then that they doubt their children’s natural growing process and try to accelerate it to keep up with what they see around them. Speaking full sentences, learning five letter words or perhaps trying to mouth inanities that they pick up from the online world. Modern parents have a harder job at hand to make sure that their children do not grow like fast food chicken.

Expat lives do not make it any easier for parents. There are irregularities in basic HR components like maternity and paternity leaves are a forceful deterrent. Earning double salaries to run the expat show usually see children being deposited in pre-nurseries and day care facilities. There is a certain acceleration of growth there. New age parenting and childcare have thrown up concepts of curriculum for 1 year olds! Are we not supposed to just let them be? Curriculum and time tables, I feel, also lead to the “adultification” of children. Till sometime back, I didn’t know of any 3-year old who knew the life cycle of a butterfly! I do now.

I feel that as parent we should not promote our children to be adults (or adult-like). The new-age parents are giving in to “assembly lining” their children into premature adults. Let our aspirations and desires not be the predators of our children’s innocence.

More from Dev J Haldar:

Dev J Haldar (@TheCalmDev) Profile PicAbout Dev J Haldar

Employee to his 3.5 year old son | Mediaman | Academic | Food Writer on | #Batman Believer. Follow Dev (@TheCalmDev) on Twitter or read more of his articles on his fatherhood blog Father-o-logy.

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