Children are one of the most vulnerable human beings on earth. Due to their innocent nature and inability to protect themselves and make choices for their own well being, they need to rely on adults to provide them nurturance and guidance. Children are so fragile in many ways, however, they also have a large amount of resiliency and wisdom within them. They are very adaptable, spontaneous in their ways and speak with little to no judgment. Their actions usually come from a place that is pure and free of any ego driven agenda.
Because children are young at age and vulnerable, many adults tend to see children as inferior. Many adults tend to walk around with a sense of authority and power and feel that they are better than or have more power than the child. Whether it is a parent, a daycare provider, caregiver, teacher, or anyone else that works or cares for children, we are taught that we the adults need to always be in control of our children at all times. Yes, children need to be taught boundaries and rules in order to function in the world. However, when our interaction with our children is a "top down" approach, we send a message to them that they are inferior and less than we are. The school system is notorious for teaching children from a top down approach. Students are taught that the teacher is the all knowing person in the class and they are there to learn from the teacher and obey the rules. However, there are many teachers who adopt alternative approaches when teaching, such as attending to student's needs in a way that embraces their feelings, acknowledges what they are feeling and validating who they are. However there is a lot of work to be done for the school system to change their way of teaching from top down to seeing their students as equal to them.
Many parents adopt a mentality that says "you are the child, and I am the parent and you do what I say" or "do what I say and don't ask questions" or "I know better because I am the parent." Approaching children from this mind set allows children to feel devalued, invalidated and impacts their self esteem deeply. Children, just like adults, want their feelings validated, want to be heard and want to be treated like their opinions and abilities matter. This top down approach is mainly for the need to attain power and control.
Children are people just like we are and because they are younger in age, does not mean they should be invalidated in any way. Children are our mirrors for us adults. Children show us what we adults need to work on within ourslevs. Children often may trigger emotions in us by their behaviour and the words they speak. Children's words to us are messages for our own growth. Adults are no better than children, however, often, adults abuse the power that they have simply because they are older. In my family, the adults are seen as the ones that have all the wisdom and answers in life. I was taught to "show respect" to adults and obey their commands. I was taught that as the child, we know nothing and we learn from the adults in our life because they have all the answers. During a family dinner function, the adults are the first ones to be served their food and the children wait their turn The adults were the ones that sat at the main dinner table. The adults always sat at the front seat of the car, while the younger kids needed to sit in the back. The adults were seen as superior and children inferior.
It is time that we change the way we interact and view children. Children are not inferior than we are. They are full of wisdom and teachings. LISTEN to what your child is saying because their words are often messages that are being sent your way for your own self growth. Validate their feelings, their strengths and their desires just like you would want someone to do for you. Below is a video of a 6 year old girl who speaks to her mother about how she wants her divorced parents to be friends. She is articulate and has so much wisdom and truly is a messenger for her parents. Allow children to be your teacher. They are the most greatest teachers on this earth by far.