“Childish” Behavior

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Pokémon Go is here, and the internet is full of it. Many people are exchanging tips and tricks, and swapping good locations for catching them all. Botanical gardens are advertising their Pokestops and animal shelters are offering their dogs for walking while players hatch eggs. Players come in every age from very young kids to very old adults.

Predictably, some people won’t allow others to enjoy something in their presence. They mock the game and players, by calling them childish.  “I’m not playing Pokémon Go because I’m not ten and I have shit to do” reads one ecard style meme. Others scoff because the game is “meant for children”. It’s a small part of a grand tradition of hating all things ” childish “.

The fact that being childish or child like is an insult tells us as lot about children’s disrespected position in this society. This disrespect, this scorn for their stage of life, is ableism in reality, but children are not protected by age discrimination laws. What does it do to children and teens when we constantly mock and insult them?

Like many unhappy teenagers, I engaged in a lot of activities that weren’t age appropriate. I went to adult venues like bars, took unnecessary risks, and damaged myself in an effort to look grown up and mature. I didn’t want to be ” childish “. I wanted respect. I wanted to be treated like an adult, because everyone younger is treated worse.

Now that I am an adult, I have some resentment. I regret not taking my time to be a teen, not staying a child for as long as I could. And I resent the adults all around me he mocked and scorned and hated my real age group. They knew adulthood was a trap of constant work for little reward, and endless bills to survive. Yet they pushed me into racing for it.

When you mock adults for harmless leisure activities because they are childish, you are telling children and teens they won’t be acceptable until they’re grown. You’ve labeled child as a negative thing to be. I want kids to be kids. I want fourteen year olds out playing video games instead of doing drugs and having sex, like I was at fourteen. I want them spending hours of leisure time with their friends, running around outside, not thinking about mature, adult concerns. They’ll spend most of their lives saddled with adult responsibilities. Let them he kids and let that be good.

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