Hey, wait a minute you’re no pediatrician, you’re no parent, what do you know about children?
What I know is that I have a very vivid recollection of throughout my years of childhood, including thoughts, emotions and events. While I cannot apply my own experience universally, I’m fairly confident in the following as general statements.
1. They are remorseful
Children aren’t perfect, no. They do things that in hindsight weren’t good ideas. But here’s the divide: they aren’t out to annoy you. They aren’t trying to flaunt the rules, rebel, or ignore you. They’re kids. They’re active, and accidents (preventablea s they may be) happen. And they feel bad about it. Given most cases they already feel bad enough about causing _______ to ________, an angry lecture only serves to diminish that remorse.
2. They have genuine feelings
Children cry, they get frustrated, they get excited and they get bored. It’s all too often these get passed off as some brilliant ploy for sympathy, but despite your best attempts at a conspiracy theory, the simplest answer is that they actual have feelings.
3. They are markedly bright
Adults go to work and do relatively the same thing day in and day out. They may be up on current events and know many facts about before the kids were born, but the days of learning are mostly behind them. In that, it’s not surprising that a child is actually quite the knowledge-base, and for more than being startlingly up-to-date on technology. They like to know things, it’s human nature, so perhaps you might actually consider that.
4. They hate school for reasons other than homework
Sure, that two-page math assignment over the weekend is pretty lame, but that’s hardly why kids hate school. While they may be able to be with friends at recess, that recess is filled with the same indignent approach to discipline and justice as at home, In Canadian law, you are legally permitted to defend yourself from attack, with limits imposed only by the reasonable limits clause. In the public school system, defending yourself is automatic suspension. The number of teachers has declined steadily, and with that, quality. It is not whining over a poor mark or having to do actual work, there are reasonable frustrations that still need to be addressed even politically.
5. They are not pets
Have you ever tried to have a real conversation with a child? It’s an amazing experience few adults ever have. Does this sound like you?
“And what did you do at school today? Really?! WOOOW! That’s terrific! Good for you! Oh, did you draw that?! It’s wonderful! Who’s a good boy? Stay there and be quiet.”
Patronizing children is a dangerous thing. It destroys any implication of respect or equality, and only serves to confuse as times goes on and things that are supposedly “wonderful” are worth 60% in the educational system. This applies across all prior points. Speak to them, they are real people — they are your peers. You would not talk to a co-worker in the fashion most speak to children, but that doesn’t mean your disrespectful to co-workers either.
Nothing is a biggest boon to a child’s confidence, sense of morality or even relief from stress than the knowledge that they are treated fairly, and as an equal human being.